Playing Squash Injury Free
With our squash season picking up and league play about to start the following advice, useful to any athlete, is particularly important to those squash players who took a summer break from the game. Here is some advice that will help you get back into your best squash game and help you stay injury free.
How to ease into a new season:
- Ideally, spend at least your first three visits back working out on a bike, treadmill, or stair master-not the squash court.
- Make your first three matches easy ones, play opponents whom you would beat handily.
- Arrive early before a match so you can go through a pre-game dynamic warm up (book a session with one of the club personal trainers—they know the best and latest dynamic warm up routines.
- Do not arrange any competitive matches until your weight is back (or close) to where it was the previous season.
How to Limit injuries during the season:
- Pre-match preparation (most important for injury prevention); drink water even if not thirsty, spend at least 5 minutes on a bike, stair master or treadmill once warmed up, spend at least another 5 minutes doing dynamic exercises not static stretches. The knock-up or warm up is to practice all of your shots. Players who use the first game to warm up are far more prone to injury and lose the first game far too often.
- Between games, during every match:
Drink water between games even if you’re not thirsty. A ninety second rest period is permitted between each game—in friendly matches you can take longer but don’t allow yourself to cool down.
- Post match (limit next day stiffness and improve flexibility)
Stretch and use a foam roller. If you had a grueling match you can limit inevitable stiffness. Stretching at this point will also increase your flexibility dramatically–this will lead to better squash. Stretching with your opponent and discussing the match is a great way to learn how and where you went right or wrong. Opponents are usually quite willing to divulge their secret strategies on how they won the match and this could come in handy next time. Jumping into a cold car directly after a game is terrible for your body, particularly your back. Always take a hot shower after your match. Use your car seat warmer so your back stays loose in the winter!
- Play no more than three matches a week, two quality matches is actually the best. Instead of more matches use your time to keep your body strong with weights, stretching, yoga or a cardio workout. Add a weekly yoga class to your work outs-this is invaluable to your court movement as well as injury prevention. Off court workouts may not be as exciting as matches, but will pay off with fewer injuries and a higher level of squash. If you want to make your off court workouts more interesting, efficient and more sport specific book some time with a professional trainer—they know how to maximize your time and efforts off court to make a huge difference on court.