The Power of Patience in Training Progression

20th May 2024

In the pursuit of athletic excellence, the temptation to push ourselves to the limit can be tempting. Yet, as squash players, we must recognize the importance of patience and gradual progression in our training journeys. This article explores the importance of properly managing an increase in training load, highlighting the potential risks of too rapidly increasing training progressions, and emphasising the importance of building up training gradually over a more prolonged period.

Understanding Training Progression

‘Training progression’ encompasses the increase in the volume, intensity, and frequency of physical activity performed during training sessions. As squash players, we continually strive to optimize our training progression to enhance performance, improve fitness levels, and achieve our sporting goals. However, the manner in which we manipulate training progression can significantly impact not just our performance, but also our overall health and well-being.


The Dual Nature of Training Progression

Too rapid increases in training load pose significant risks to squash players’ health and performance. One of the most significant dangers associated with rapid progression is the heightened risk of injury. Pushing the body beyond its current capacity without allowing sufficient time for adaptation can lead to overuse injuries, strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal issues. Overloading tissues and structures before they have had a chance to adapt and strengthen increases the likelihood of breakdown and injury.

Additionally, rapid progression can contribute to burnout and overtraining syndrome, both of which have detrimental effects on athletic performance and overall well-being. Overtraining occurs when the body is subjected to excessive physical stress without adequate rest and recovery. Symptoms may include persistent fatigue, decreased performance, mood disturbances, and increased susceptibility to illness. Regardless of best intentions, pushing too hard too soon will hinder long-term progress and lead to performance plateaus. The body requires time to adapt and respond to training stimuli, and overly aggressive training approaches can disrupt this process.

Conversely, adopting a gradual approach to training progression offers numerous benefits for squash players. By gradually increasing training load, athletes give their bodies time to adapt and strengthen, reducing the risk of overuse injuries and musculoskeletal issues. This approach fosters long-term athletic development while minimizing the likelihood of setbacks due to injury.

Gradual progression also promotes sustainable performance gains by allowing squash players to build a solid foundation of strength, endurance, and skill over time. Rather than chasing short-term gains through aggressive training tactics, athletes who prioritize gradual progression experience more consistent and lasting improvements in their athletic abilities. Additionally, incorporating adequate rest and recovery periods into training regimens supports the body’s natural processes of repair and adaptation. Structured rest periods allow tissues to heal, glycogen stores to replenish, and fatigue to dissipate, ensuring that athletes are fresh and ready to tackle subsequent training sessions effectively.


Implementing a Balanced Approach

1. Listen to Your Body:

Above all, athletes must learn to listen to their bodies and recognize the signs of overtraining or excessive fatigue. Pay attention to signals such as persistent soreness, decreased performance, changes in mood or appetite, and difficulty sleeping. These may indicate that your body needs additional rest or a reduction in training intensity.


2. Prioritize Progressive Overload:

Adopt the principle of progressive overload, gradually increasing training volume, intensity, or frequency over time. Start with a manageable training load and progressively increase it as your body adapts and becomes stronger. This incremental approach to training allows for steady and sustainable progress while minimizing the risk of injury or burnout.


3. Make Recovery a Priority:

Make recovery a priority in your training regimen. Incorporate rest days, active recovery activities, and recovery-focused strategies such as proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep hygiene. Allow your body adequate time to rest and recover between training sessions to optimize performance and reduce the risk of overtraining.


In the journey of athletic development, patience and balance are essential virtues. By avoiding the temptation to rush progress and instead adopting a patient and methodical approach to training, squash players can safeguard their health, maximize performance gains, and achieve their long-term goals. Remember, the path to success is not a sprint but a marathon—a journey best navigated with patience, persistence, and a commitment to balanced progression.



Gary Nisbet

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

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