Squash, a maximum effort sport

Squash is a fast-paced game that requires a high level of technical, tactical and motor skills and the physiological character of a 5,000m athlete.

Dynavision   -  R. Ragu

Squash is a moderate- to high-intensity game. The players are active at least 70-75 per cent of the time on court, and each ball play may last up to 10 seconds or less.

The rest interval can be up to 8 seconds and heat can go up to 75-85 per cent throughout a game. It is also a maximum effort sport because of the near-maximum heart rate throughout the match.

The main areas of fitness for squash players apart from the skill development are the following

Trunk strength and stability

Muscle strength

Muscle endurance

Good threshold base aerobically

Muscle balance

Saq (speed, agility and quickness)

Flexibility

Specific warm-up routines pertinent to the game

Vertimax diagonal shuffle   -  R. Ragu

 

Other factors that increase performance are the following

Good nutritional guidelines

Recovery protocols — be it active or passive

Mental conditioning and zoning

It’s a fast-paced game that requires a high level of technical, tactical and motor skills and the physiological character of a 5,000m athlete. The energy expenditure for an elite player can be approximately 2,800 kilolitres per hours to 3,000 kl/hr.

Sproing sprints with harness   -  R. Ragu

 

Training principles

Principle of specificity: It is one of the core principles of training. The need is to be as relevant and target the movements and demands of the sport as possible for effective performance domain to be achieved.

Progression principle: Gradually increase from a lower level of training and intensity (movement speed and resistance) at the start of the season to a higher level as the season progresses. Choice of exercises can also increase in complexity and multidimensionality.

Maintenance principle: It takes at least three or four sessions a week to develop a quality like strength, but only one or two weeks if the quality has already been developed. This is purely for maintenance purposes during the season.

KISS (keep it simple and safe) principle: There are a large number of different strength exercises available. It is better to focus on a few specific key areas in the beginning and progress to the next level with age.

Somax hip rotation   -  R. Ragu

 

Process involved

Athletes should have a medical/physical exam, pa hysiological assessment and fitness testing prior to commencing any fitness programme.

Sub-junior and junior players should perform training under the supervision of a strength-training expert or their coach to verify that the exercises are being performed in the correct form and range.

Injured players performing exercises should consult a medical professional prior to the start of a fitness regime.

A periodised programme according to each individual’s specific needs and goals is important.

One must do a debriefing session after each test and gameplay for better understanding of the players’ needs and improve on it.

Medicine ball kneeling throw   -  R. Ragu

 

Overview of each phase

Injury prevention phase: The purpose is to: (1) strengthen those areas that have been shown to be vulnerable to injury in squash — ankle, shins, knee, lower back, shoulder and elbow; (2) develop a strength foundation for training later in the season; (3) develop an aerobic base.

Core/functional phase: The purpose is to: (1) strengthen the abs, hips and lower back so that power can be effectively transferred from the legs to the upper body (and racquet); (2) develop strength and endurance for those muscles (and the muscles complementary to them) used in squash; (3) maintain injury prevention training and aerobic endurance.

Speed/power training: The purpose is to: (1) develop speed and power at a volume and intensity appropriate to the athlete’s developmental age and strength-training experience.

Wrist pronation   -  R. Ragu

This usually means that the number and length of supplementary off-court training sessions should be relatively low (one-two times a week for about 20 minutes); (2) maintain core/functional strength, injury prevention activities and aerobic endurance.

(Acknowledgement from Princeton Squash Strength Training Manual)

The exercises are as follows

Dynavision

Vertimax diagonal shuffles

Sproing sprints with harness

Somax hip rotations

Medicine ball kneel down throws

Wrist pronation and supination