Healthy Eating For Squash Players

healthy Eating

(This is a recommendation and for expert advice consult a qualified nutritionist)

When you engage in hard physical exercise with high intensity and long endurance you need an eating plan that can feed your body and help it cope with optimal recovery.

These basic guidelines will help.

  1. Load Up on Carbohydrates

Carbs are a sportman’s fuel. Your body changes them to glucose, a form of sugar, and stores it in your muscles as glycogen. When you exercise, this glycogen is turned into energy. For high-intensity activities use some of these strategies:

  • Great carbohydrates include breads, cereals, pasta, fruit, and vegetables
  • On the day of a big event, eat your last meal at least 3 to 4 hours before exercising as this gives your stomach a chance to empty.
  • Try not to eat sugary or starchy foods within 30 minutes of starting your game as this tends to lead to high and low spikes in your energy levels.
  • Replenish carbs, minerals, and water during long exercise sessions. Eat a snack and drink fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. Sports bars, sports drinks, or gels, can be convenient, but fruit and fruit juice are excellent choices.
  • Remember to replenish your body with carbs after a hard workout.
  1. Get Enough Protein, But Not Too Much

Protein doesn’t provide a lot of fuel for energy but is necessary to maintain your muscles.

  • Protein supplements if you do not want to eat too much heavy meat are lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, or milk.
  • “Milk is one of the best foods for recovery after an event, because it provides a good balance of protein and carbohydrates,” Dubost says. Milk also has both casein and whey protein. This combination can be useful to athletes. Research shows that whey protein is absorbed quickly, which can help speed recovery immediately after an event. Casein is digested more slowly, helping to ensure long-term recovery of muscle after a grueling event.
  1. Not TOO Much Fat

During long events your body turns to fat for energy when carbohydrate sources run low. Most athletes get all the fat they need by following the basic dietary guideline to eat mostly unsaturated fat from foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Avoid fatty foods on the day of an event, since they can upset your stomach.

  1. Drink Fluids All The Time

Intense exercise, especially in hot weather, can quickly leave you dehydrated. Dehydration, in turn, can hurt your performance and, in extreme cases, threaten your life. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. By the time you feel parched, you could be seriously dehydrated.” If your urine is a pale yellow color you’re getting enough fluid. Bright yellow or dark urine means you’re falling short. Try to take in as much fluid as possible before as well as during an event. If possible, drink chilled fluids, which are more easily absorbed than room-temperature water. Chilled fluids also help cool your body down Always have some kind of fluid court side.

  1. Replace Lost Electrolytes

Sweating removes both fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body. To replenish them, reach for sports drinks. If you’re also losing a lot of fluid as you sweat, dilute sports drinks with equal amounts of water to get the best balance of fluid and electrolytes.



Correct Squash Shoes               Squash is a fast moving game. You need to make quick changes: start, stop and constant turning. Finding the correct squash shoes can not only help improve your game, it can keep you injury free.

Squash Soles

Most squash court facilities do not allow black soles. (Occasionally you get non-marking black soles but they are few and far between). The ideal sole is a non-marking gum rubber. Even if a squash club or gym does not insist on this, it is good etiquette to never wear your squash shoes outdoors. Yes, this means that you should wear a different pair of shoes to and from the court. This isn’t some crazy rigid squash rule but simply because when you wear shoes outside they get dirty. Dirty shoes make the courts dirty which makes them slippery and dangerous for playing on.

Perfect Fit

It may seem like common sense to get a pair of shoes that fit correctly, but really make sure your pair of squash shoes fit correctly! Squash is a very intense game so the right fit is vital. Your feet will swell as you play. When you are trying on shoes, make sure they aren’t tight and ideally you should be able to fit a finger in behind your heel if your toes are all the way at the front of the shoe. If your shoes are just a tad tight in the store they may become very painful during a game. Squash games can be long. Playing with sore feet is uncomfortable and a lot less fun. Make sure you have enough room in the toebed — pounding your toes into the top of your shoes can cause discomfort and you may eventually lose a toenail. Therefore, please make sure your toes aren’t hitting the end of the toebox.

Since squash requires a lot of ankle movements, take a look at your ankles as well. Do you have larger ankles? A snug pair of squash shoes could cut off the blood flow to your foot, causing very serious problems. Do you have skinny ankles? Larger shoes may become loose and cause you to trip and fall. Make sure your shoes feel secure and stable. You should be able to move a bit from heel to toe, but not too much. During a game of squash you need to stop, start and turn quickly. However, you don’t want your shoes to turn too easily. You need good traction so you’re not sliding all over the place. The right soles will really help with this.

When to replace your squash shoes?

As a general rule of thumb, many players go by how many times they play in a week. For example, if you play twice a week, you’ll probably want to replace your shoes twice a season; you play three times a week, think about replacing them three times a season and so on. However, if your feet start feeling sore or painful after a game, the inside of your shoes may be wearing. As soon as you see a lot of wear and tear in the shoe(toe dragging, splitting on the side or sole) it might be an idea to look at getting a new pair. Each player is different, so keep an eye on it.

If this is your first time buying squash shoes, consider going to a specialty squash store to get personally fitted. It can save you tons of frustration, pain and money. If you don’t have a specialty store near you, look to many of the well-known, well-respected brands of squash shoes:  Adidas, ASICS, Hi-Tec . (Please note, those are in alphabetical order, not order of recommendation.)



eye on the ballAll professionals, players and coaches tell you to “watch the ball”. But what does this actually mean?

During a rally your opponent will be either in front, behind, or parallel to you. Watching the squash ball during a rally is the most important thing you can do to improve your game. Never ever take your eyes off the ball. If you are afraid of watching the ball when it goes behind you, wear protective eyewear. It is impossible to reach your full potential as a player if you don’t consistently keep your eyes on the ball.

When your opponent is in front of you, it is easy to see where and when your opponent is going to hit the ball. By watching the ball as it leaves your opponent’s racquet, especially when the ball is behind you, increases your ability on the following:
a. You can better judge the kind of shot your opponent is likely to play
b. You will get the first idea of where your opponent’s shot is going when the ball leaves his racquet.
c. You can gather information on the direction, the trajectory, the speed and the height of the shot
d. By processing all this information in a split second your brain will calculate where you will need to be to
meet the ball.

If you wait to see the ball come off of the front wall you have lost about half of the valuable trajectory input necessary to accurately judge the shot played. You have also lost valuable time that could have you onto the ball quickly thereby speeding up the game and putting your opponent under pressure. By only watching the front wall, you will only have the sound of your opponent hitting the ball or the ball coming into your peripheral vision to react too. This will often have your feet moving late and could have you “overrunning” the ball or not getting to your opponent’s tight shots.

Only by watching the ball can you anticipate the kind of shot your opponent is intending to hit. If you are turning your head back to the front wall before impact of the ball onto your opponents racket you are not anticipating, you are guessing!

To volley well you need to see the ball early and intercept it early. If you learn to anticipate if they’re driving, dropping, boasting or going cross-court then that is half the battle right there. Anticipation only works with watching the ball when it is behind you.

Research demonstrates that “expert” players can predict their opponent’s shot to a very high accuracy level up to 600 milliseconds before impact. Important clues for making anticipatory decisions are :
1. Movement of the arm and racquet before impact
2. Flight of the ball immediately after impact.
3. Probability – the opponent’s strategic habits, the opponent’s technical abilities and his/her court position
4. Postural position of the opponent

It has been proven that expert players do not have better “vision” than beginners nor do they look at different clues to beginners on which to base their decision about what is about to happen, they just make better use of the information available to them and can therefore anticipate better. Anticipation is:
a. predicting the bounce of the ball,
b. predicting the pace of the ball through the air
c. ability to read the angle of the racket and arm
d. make better tactical decisions
e. gives you more time
These skills become automatic with experience but are developed by playing many matches. They allow for better movement, speed and rhythm around the court. Watching the ball when it is behind you is vital for movement and improving your speed around the court without getting any faster physically. I believe watching the ball well will get you way faster around the squash court than getting physically faster. Only through consistently watching the ball coming off your opponent’s racquet when the ball is behind you in the back court will you learn the rhythm of how to move around the squash court.
By watching the ball you can also play safer and avoiding decisions against you. Watching helps you getting out of the way of the racket swing, and ball, while your opponent is returning the shot. Without watching the ball your progress will be limited and can be dangerous. Watch the ball and if you are too close or within the “line of fire” move out of the way, but do not take your eye off the ball. You can’t always go back to the T when you hit a loose shot. Move your T position if necessary. The downside of not watching the ball when your opponent is behind, is that you may be guilty of not clearing, and even worse, not attempting to clear. That can be the difference between a stroke and a let.


Craig's Squash Bag

Advise given by : Craig van der Wath (Current World O45 Champion)

1. A racket that is properly strung and gripped
2. Ideally a spare which is nearly the same as your preferred racket
3. Spare grip for each racket
4. At least 2 new squash balls – often a match requires you to start with a brand new ball. Make sure that you
use the correct ball for your area / standard of play
5. Sweat band for your head and or wrist
6. Towel
7. Protective eyewear if a junior or if playing doubles
8. Playing kit : –
• skirt / shorts / skorts
• comfortable shirt + a spare
• comfortable underwear / (sports bra if necessary) – hungry undies really irritate during a match
• correct fitting non-marking squash shoes (preferably gum soles) slops or shoes to arrive in and wear home – squash shoes should not be worn outside at all as it brings the dirt into the courts and also makes your shoes slippery
9. Toiletries – for showering after your match
10. Mini first aid kit – to include plasters, something to stop bleeding like Vaseline or zambac, muscle rub (arnica oil or deep heat)
11. Small pair of scissors – cutting of grips or plaster
12. Insulation tape – for fixing a lose grip or bumper that could be dangerous
13. Waterbottle – Make sure you keep hydrated during every game. Saves time if you have the water court side
14. Skipping rope – great for warming up before the game
15. Last but not least – YOUR “A” GAME !!!

Improve Your Hand Eye Coordination No Matter What Your Age

Hand-eye coordination is a fine motor skill that develops in a series of stages from birth to about 7 years of age. During this time, children reach the following milestones: the ability to feed and dress themselves; the ability to establish a preference for the right or left hand; the ability to climb, jump and balance; and the ability to maintain eye focus for extended periods. If a movement disorder or vision problems cause issues with hand-eye coordination in a child or adult, a doctor may suggest exercise as one method of treatment.

The key to improving hand-eye coordination appears to be in exercises that focus not on an object or destination but on the space in between. A study published in September 2001 in “The Journal of Neuroscience” supports a theory that gaze control is a major contributing factor in developing good hand-eye coordination. In the study, researchers found that gaze defines key grasping or fingertip positions between the hand and an object and then directs the hand to these positions when moving the object.

A 1992 article in the magazine “Clinics in Geriatric Medicine” lists racket sports as beneficial in improving hand-eye coordination in adults, especially older adults. Use any type of racket, such as a squash racket or pingpong bat, to complete the following exercise: Hold the racket like you would if shaking hands. With your palm pointing up, bounce a ball about 8 to 10 inches high 50 times without moving your feet or missing the ball. Then, turn your palm so it faces down and repeat the drill. Finally, repeat the drill a third time, alternating one bounce with your palm facing up and one with your palm facing down for a total of 50 bounces.
20140916_175237    20140916_175242   20140916_175245

Ball catching is an exercise you can perform by yourself or with a partner. Wall ball is an example of an exercise you can play by yourself. To play, use a squash ball, stand in front of a wall and start throwing and catching the ball. Then progress to catching it with one hand and finally to pushing it back using only your fingertips. Repeat using both hands.

Playing action and sports video games can also sharpen visual perception and motor skills. The coordination of eye and hand movements required by some games might even be greater than that of other activities, such as actually playing the game of baseball. But everything in moderation. Excessive video game play does not give you the same benefit as the energetic game of squash.

Can Squash Help ADHD Kids?


What is ADHD?

ADHD Kids 2

According to Wikipedia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, similar to hyperkinetic disorder in the ICD-10) is a psychiatric disorder of the neurodevelopmental type in which there are significant problems of attention, hyperactivity, or acting impulsively that are not appropriate for a person’s age.

These symptoms must begin by age six to twelve and be present for more than six months for a diagnosis to be made.[6][7] In school-aged individuals the lack of focus may result in poor school performance.

The steps are simple: to help the kid, we need to make him focusing on the ball while finding the exact length of a training session.

I have been working lately with a ADHD player and it was the first time I was dealing with such a case, and my first encounter with that condition.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the scientific name for such cases that affects about 6-7 % of children. Medications are only recommended as a first-line treatment in children who have severe symptoms.

Such cases have a problem in concentration, dealing with people and always being hyperactive which makes controlling them at home or school a hard mission.

Why Squash?

Through squash sessions the boy’s parents discovered that his concentration at school and his studies has improved.

After asking a specialist, he recommended to continue playing squash as the kid keeps his eye on the ball which increases his mental focus.

We have been working with a training schedule under the supervision of his doctor, who fixed the time that the kid should play in every stage.

We are starting with 20 continuous minutes and we should reach 30 minutes by the end of April. Training sessions seem to work as well as medicine and we hope that one day he won’t have to take any of it to feel normal.

Let’s make it clear that… actually I am just a squash coach not a doctor, but I felt proud that squash could make such progress in a kids life. That’s why I liked to share it with everyone.

ADHD Kids 1

Squash isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. Not everyone will be champion!!

By : Ahmed Mohamed Khalil

Are Squash Players Protecting Their Eyes?

Squash is a popular sport with many participants in South Africa and worldwide. There are approximately 15 million players in 135 nations.

The small dimension of the squash court occupied by two people, swinging racquets and a small ball potentially travelling in excess of 200 km/hour, with the ability to penetrate the eye socket, contribute to a high risk of eye injury in this sport.

Internationally, squash has been reported as either the first or second highest ranked sport associated with sports related eye injuries. These injuries are almost completely preventable by protective eyewear.
Eye Injury 1             Eye Injury 2

Standards approved polycarbonate eyewear is the only appropriate eyewear, protective against squash eye injuries. Most prescription lens materials can splinter on impact and other unsuitable types of eyewear, such as open eyeguards, may contribute to these injuries.

I-mask Protective Eye wear         Protective eyewear


In a recent survey conducted in Australia it was found that fewer than 10% of players actually wear suitable eye guards when playing squash. The survey also established that many players who use inappropriate eyewear believe it to be suitably protective. Competition players tend to use protection in matches but not during practice.

Players found the glasses to be limiting in vision and fog up when perspiring. Eye wear manufacturers are endeavoring to improve the quality of this and keep coming up with new lenses.

Squash bodies around the world have made eyewear compulsory for all junior players. They are hoping that once this generation of squash players reach adulthood they will see the benefits of protective eyewear and continue to use them at all levels.

Make sure your child wears protective eyewear when playing squash.

Parkview Squash Centre has 2 resident World Champions

World Champ Winners 2014

Jean Grainger and Craig van der Wath

At the recent World Masters Squash Championships held in Hong Kong, Van der Wath and Grainger both successfully won the world masters titles in their respective age groups.

Van der Wath a 48-year-old former world player, won his 5th consecutive World title after first competing in 2001. He successfully defended his Over-45 crown by beating fellow countryman Michael Tootill, the No2 seed, 13-11, 11-4, 11-5 in the 32-minutes final. He did not drop a game througout his 2014 campaign.

Mother and daughter Grainger (now residing in USA) pulled off their anticipated family double when World Masters’ debutante Natalie Grainger clinched the Women’s Over-35 title. In true veteran style Jean Grainger, the distinguished 71-year-old South African, picked up her fourth World title with victory in the Women’s Over-70 championship. Jean was taken the full distance in her final before prevailing 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 over compatriot Sheena Worwood.

Who Can Play Squash




Anybody can play the game of squash as long as you have the enthusiasim and interest. Squash participants vary in age from 3 years old to 90 years old.

For the Young Hearted

–       As an adult it is an advantage to have an eye for the ball. If not one can start by bouncing the ball on the racket

–       Progression from here would be to start gently hitting the ball against the wall. Close to the front wall at first and gradually moving further back towards the middle of the court

–       Fitness is also an advantage but this will also start to come the more often you play.

–       Once you feel comfortable with hitting the ball straight back to yourself you can progress to the next step of hitting off the side and back wall and starting to volley (not letting the ball bounce on the floor)

–       Next progression is to find a partner of a similar strength to get on the court with you. Two players of a similar strength can have a very vigorous and fun game.

–       Once you have progressed to actually having rallies and a lot of fun one could look at getting some professional advice from a local coach.

–       As with the very young children don’t worry too much when starting about technique and style. Hit the ball and have fun. The rest will come the better you get.

ASSORE Gauteng Open

The Assore Gauteng Open Squash Championships took place at Parkview Squash Centre recently. This was part of a 4 event series that took place in South Africa and was a registered international tournament on the world calander for the professional Squash Association (PSA) and the Womens Squash Association (WSA).

Players from Pakistan, Egypt, England, France, New Zealand, Netherlands, Malaysia, Nigeria, Brazil and South Africa participated in the event. A total of 40 international players descended upon the Parkview Squash Centre during the month of April.

In the men’s event there were a total of 32 players that took part in the qualifying event playing for 8 places in the main draw. In the ladies event 16 players were playing for only 4 places in the main event.

In the men’s main event, the number 1 seed was Aqeel Rehman from Austria and current world ranking is 90. The top seeded lady was Salma Hany Ibrahim Ahmed from Egypt and her current world ranking is 41.

12 South African players made it into the men’s main draw and 6 ladies in the woman’s draw.

The skill and expertise of the top players saw some very exciting squash being played throughout the week. Michael Wood from South Africa performed extremely well beating the number 8 seed,  Arthur Moineau from France, in the quarter final round. In the semi’s he came up against Tom Ford from England, the number 3 seed. After being 2-0 up Tom Ford fought back to claw his way back into the match to draw at 2-2. The last game was a real nail biter with Tom Ford keeping his head and pulling out all the stops to win the 5th game 11/9.

The other semi finial was between Piedro Schweertman from Netherlands and Oliver Plett from England. Schweertman’s good court craft and patient skill saw him taking the initiative in the beginning of the match. Plett fought back to level the match at 2 each but Schweertman’s control and superior level of fitness saw him taking the fifth game relatively easily.

The finals in both the men’s and woman’s events were very one-sided with Schweertman ousting out Tom Ford 3-0. Salmar Nasser from Egypt was just too fast and fit for Kylie Lindsay from New Zealand resulting in a 3-0 victory for Nasser.

Once the players are knocked out of the main draw they did some coaching sessions at the UJ and Soweto campuses with the Gauteng Development Squash programme called Egoli Squash. Their expertise, knowledge and experiences of the game were shared with the youngsters and much fun was had by all.

Winners Assore Gauteng Open DSC00599