Heading to Florida, I was really intrigued to hear what made David the player he was. This was going to be the first time after years of fierce competition I would get the chance to hear how and what David worked on and could properly understand how he ticked, and after all this time, I was fascinated. I imagined an incredibly hard worker with attention to detail being paramount, with a constant desire to get better. Not that difficult to deduce considering David’s style of play and hugely successful career, but I was more impressed than I thought I’d be with just how focused he was throughout his career.
Attention to detail
I’d seen some squash sessions David had done with Shaun Moxham, his coach of many years. They were all about controlled practice at an incredibly high pace, moving in patterns and hitting targets with the ball. David explained what the focus was in these sessions and also fleshed out how long and hard these sessions would last. The most striking aspect of these practices was the attention to detail and making sure that every shot and movement were exactly as he wanted. The preparation of racquet head and body position meant that David was perfectly balanced and able to execute every shot well. He understood what needed to happen to gain maximum consistency whilst also creating positions for shot options.
Mentally & Physically Challenging
After explaining a few different pressure feed scenarios, David went on to talk about how this would lead to the “killer” sessions he would do with Shaun. They would all be about making it harder on yourself the better you performed. The exercise David described was all about covering both the middle of the court, looking for the volley – something he was very known for. From this position, he would have to hit deep and then go back and boast the ball back to Shaun at the front and the rally would continue. If Shaun hit the ball short, David would have to lob crosscourt, then go back and boast – the rally would then continue as normal. So the better the volley or lob, the harder David would have to work physically – his goal was always to make it as hard on himself as he could, therefore playing the best possible shots in every position. This routine done well would be both mentally and physically challenging but add the fact that David would do this for ten minutes straight and then 5 times through – just like a brutal 5 set match – and you understand why he called it a killer session.
I have always been predisposed to look at striking the ball in terms of movement rather than from the swing first. What struck me with everything David worked on and at, his physical form was nearly always perfect. On lunging, whether it was on court or in a training exercise, his body was balanced, knee over ankle and back straight. If he was doing a quick feet exercise, there was no slouching the shoulders or losing control of his core in order to move his feet faster. It was a lesson in controlled and fluent movement with power and speed built layer by layer on top. This epitomised, to me, David’s work ethics and techniques he used to become the best player in the world.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting this insight into David’s training regime and over the coming few weeks and months you’ll get to see exactly how he put his game together and hopefully you’ll be able to use aspects to improve your game. I’m already using some of the training routines and squash feeding drills for my coaching sessions!
get solo practice ideas from david palmer
Check out the series where David Palmer talks through his solo practice ideas and the exercises he did throughout his career.Watch now