May 19, 2009
The importance of recovery and regeneration for hard training squash players has been known for years. My 1987 Squash Canada Level 4 Course featured a Task with that very name: Recovery and Regeneration. A sport scientist held a discussion session on the use of stretching, hot and cold therapies, massage, sleep and relaxation techniques to facilitate recovery.
One of the recovery techniques that was not mentioned in those days, but that has become a very hot item, is the use of foam rollers for self massage and myofascial release. I have integrated their use into my own and my team’s workout routine over the last 3-4 months, and if I was playing tournaments I am sure the roller would be immensely beneficial – and a lot cheaper and more convenient to implement than massage.
Here are four excellent short videos that feature foam rolling techniques that are perfectly suited to the demands of squash. Read the rest of this entry »
May 15, 2009
One of the challenges for WISPA and PSA squash tour professionals is to balance the need to make a living with scheduling sufficient time off to avoid burnout and chronic injury. Pro racquet sport athletes do not have the luxury of following properly designed 12- month periodized training plans with built in transition periods: 4-6 weeks of cross-training following the most important competition of the year to allow complete mental and physical restoration.
Most pros will be obliged to use cycles of 3-5 weeks built around their tournament schedule, where hard training is done for 1-2 weeks, followed by maintenance and tapering in order to “peak” at an important tournament, followed by an easier restoration week, before starting the pattern again.
Problems related to the over-development of one side of the body (upper arm/shoulder) are less frequent in squash than in tennis due to the lighter weight racquet. Rarely do we see a squash athlete reminiscent of Rod Laver’s gargantuan left side – due to the relatively light weight of the squash racquet (compared to the tennis racquet). We do see a lot of early onset right hip arthritis due to overuse of the right leg on both the backhand and forehand (open stance) sides.
Laver's Large Left Arm
One solution to avoiding possible problems (in addition to doing a few extra “left-side” sets when strength training) would be to incorporate a bi-lateral cross-training activity that could be done during transition and regeneration weeks. U.S. Handball is a great option, since the one-wall, outside variety can be played almost anywhere (schools, parks, etc.), since all you need is a wall and a ball. I ordered the easier-on-your-hands “family” ball (and gloves:) today in order to give it a try in the coming weeks. The U.S. handball site also has some free excellent instructional downloads here. Apparently, the ubiquitous U.S. racquetball is also a good choice for beginning players.
Here are some pretty good players playing doubles at a local park: