When we think of champions, we often imagine them in their moments of glory, basking in the limelight of success. It’s easy to assume that they have some innate talent or skill that sets them apart from the rest of us, making their victories seem effortless. But the truth is, becoming a champion takes more than just natural ability. It takes a certain mindset, a way of thinking and approaching challenges that sets them apart from their competitors.
It’s an oft-heard lament of players, that they’re a ‘slow starter’ and are never able to get going right off the bat in their matches. There’s no real physiological reason why slow starting should be a thing however, if a proper pre-match routine is constructed and adhered to.
Often when I ask players what their strengths are, or what type of game they want to play, a glazed and blank look comes over their faces.
I also get asked the question, “How do I figure out what my game is?”
Even some of the better players I have come across struggle to know and understand what type of game of squash to play.
My hope would be by the end of this blog to arm you with tools about how to discover your game of squash and to thoroughly enjoy the process of this exploration.
My hope would be that during the reading and by the end of this blog, you will be able to understand the real power of dopamine and how to leverage it correctly when it comes to key aspects around self-improvement such as developing greater motivation, hard work, discipline, and consistency.
Consistency is that elusive force that all athletes are trying to attain. It’s the Holy Grail, the Promised Land, Mecca!
It may not seem much, but there is a vast difference between trying and effort. The two words sound similar and are often interchangeable in sporting contexts and conversations.
But I will argue they are not, and my hope by end of the blog would by for you to understand the difference between the two words, and ultimately become aware if you are merely trying, or, putting in full effort. And when understood, using this as the key to unlocking your full potential.
Flow can be seen and described as an expression of what you currently know how to do. There is a match and symmetry between your skillset and the challenge that is in front of you.
In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one’s sense of time.
The concept of gratitude has been talked about and studied for some time now and the benefits that come with practising gratitude are undeniable. Gratitude used to be quite an anecdotal topic of discussions but now with world-leading neuroscientists combined with cutting edge brain scanning technologies, gratitude is now being presented through a more scientific lens and the benefits of this attitude are more tangible and accessible than ever before.
I coach, subscribe to, and am a big advocate of stillness, tranquillity, awareness, calmness and ultimately flow when looking to compete on the squash court, and in life for that matter. I believe working on, as well as accessing, these states can lead to achieving high levels of performance on a consistent basis in whatever domain you are operating in.
Goal setting has been talked about as this really big and important thing that we all need to do in our lives to attain success and to reach the dreams that we want. Often goal setting is done with the right intentions and passions at the start but rarely is it ever really and truly followed through with.
Personally, I have spent countless hours and tried varying different methods to goal set and I keep coming back to the same result. I never really follow through with it or achieve my goal. The intentions and the willpower are there. I am excited about my big dream and goal to achieve. I follow the methods I have read about and researched. But time and again it slowly fades, and that big ambitious dream is put at the back of the cupboard somewhere gathering dust. Does this resonate and sound familiar with you also? This may sound bizarre, but it is because I focussed on my goal, I never achieved my goal. Read on to find out more.
For most players, their squash is an activity they partake in and enjoy as a break away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Running around the court a few times a week, getting stuck into drills and training routines, and playing in local leagues and tournaments, is exercise, social activity, and competitive pursuit all in one. What happens though when you hit a bit of a slump and your motivation wanes?
In computer science, Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) is the concept that flawed, or nonsense (garbage) input produces nonsense output. Goes to figure, right? Simple to understand and comprehend? So why do we cultivate bad habits in our own lives for our mental state all the time?
Amor Fati is a Latin phrase that the Stoics used in their daily lives and kept it close to hand especially during difficult and trying times. The translation of Amor Fati is:
“A love of one’s fate”
This blog takes a more zoomed out view of a very powerful psychological tool – journaling. Journaling will not only begin to help you get better on the court but will also help your life in all you do and encounter day to day.
In part 2 of this deep look at nerves and anxiety, a practical toolkit will be presented for you to have and implement to help in addressing this debilitating state before and during matches. There will be mental, physical, and environmental tools laid out to you and some will work right away, and others will take time and practice to really feel the benefits.
Nerves and anxiety for athletes in competition is one of the most debilitating states that contribute to underperforming. This blog will attempt to look closer at why and how nervousness and anxiety appears before matches and to also put in place some tools and interventions to help you cope better with this unwelcomed, but often very present state in your competitive matches.