One of the great things about squash is how easy it is to get on court and practise your skills and technique on your own if you’ve got no partner available.
Other racket sports such as tennis and badminton don’t generally afford the same luxury, with a hitting partner needed to really allow for any meaningful training. Fitness training is also easily done solo, with those core squash-specific sessions such as ghosting drills and weights workouts not requiring a partner to carry out.
It can be difficult to find the motivation to train alone sometimes however, especially when it comes to getting on court for those tough endurance and court sprint sessions!
One of the simplest and most effective ways to maintain adherence to your physical workouts is to find a training partner who shares a comparable fitness level and similar goals, to really help you spur each other on both on and off the court.
The believeperform.com website has a good article that discusses some of the ways working with a partner can help in maintaining your drive and enthusiasm for your training.
Even for those people for whom motivation to train alone isn’t really an issue, there is actually some evidence to suggest that partnered fitness work may even improve overall performance.
A study by the Society of Behavioural Medicine investigated the effect on intensity and duration of aerobic exercise when carried out with a partner (in this case, actually a ‘virtual’ training partner connected via Skype), as compared to training alone. The researchers found that exercisers paired up with a partner equal to or slightly fitter than them actually worked for almost twice the length of time as those completing the allocated exercise bike task alone.
This phenomenon was measured over time, and the positive benefits continued in subsequent workouts for those individuals.
Now, this is just a single study in a controlled setting, so it would be unwise to be too hasty to extrapolate the results to all circumstances. Working with a training partner has long been anecdotally linked with training harder/longer, however, and what was particularly interesting from the study was the magnitude of the improved performances in the test subjects.
So if you’re struggling to motivate yourself for those tough cardio sessions, or even if you’re one of those people who just simply prefers training alone, try adding in some sessions with a training partner or even a group class such as circuit or spinning.
You might well be pleasantly surprised by the results.
B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director
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