How does alcohol affect squash performance?

29th August 2013

A pint or two in the bar is an integral part of the post-match experience for many amateur squash enthusiasts, and the occasional tipple shouldn’t be of great concern to the average healthy individual. But what affect can excess alcohol consumption have on your sports performance and fitness levels?

While many people drink for social or relaxation reasons, alcohol consumed regularly and excessively can have a variety of negative effects on performance for the sportsperson, and can seriously undermine the hard-earned results from your squash training programme.

Professor David Cameron-Smith of the University of Auckland is an authority on the effects of alcohol on athletic performance, and he contributed to an interesting article published on the Guardian website on the topic.

In the article, Professor Cameron-Smith states:
“One of the key determinants of success is not just event-day performance, but the continuous gains and improvements that are made through the long, arduous grind of training.

Most people should be aware of the impact alcohol has if you consume it the night before a race, but not everyone appreciates the disruptive impact it has on the way your body adapts to handling the training, and that’s the most important part”.

Alcohol can have a number of damaging effects on the body that should be of concern to the sportsperson, including impacts on injury risk, sleep cycles, energy storage/metabolism, hydration levels, and muscle growth and repair. Your concern should be less about the immediate effects of alcohol consumption or dealing with how you feel the next morning, it’s more about the longer term issues it can cause with your recovery and adaptations to training.

For more info on the effects of alcohol on sporting performance, check out this article from the independent alcohol awareness charity


Gary Nisbet

B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director

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