Regular players of squash will know that when things aren’t going your way during match or unforced errors seem to be creeping into your game, it becomes very hard to keep your calm and keep positive. So how do we do keep our cool and avoid losing our temper, along with the match?
There are just some days when things don’t go your way, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it – just one of those days! Your swing just doesn’t feel right, you seem to keep hitting the board on your drop shots, or you just can’t seem to get your serve quite right… whatever it is, it quickly becomes very frustrating and starts to dominate your thinking during the match.
When your mind is on these mistakes, you start to think negatively and play more on the back foot, which inevitably actually encourages more mistakes to creep into your game – leading to a cycle of frustration.
Turning things around
From here this can go one of two ways:
- You continue to cycle downwards and you lose the match without much of a fight; or worse still, you also lose your temper and break your racquet. Expensive mistakes all round!
- You realise what is going on, and catch it early, change your thinking, and turn the situation around.
Most of us will be familiar with route number one, and it is not a nice route to go down! So, how do we choose the second option and turn things around during the heat of the moment?Realise how this situation is unfolding and catch it early. As we have seen, these things seem to escalate and worsen the longer they go on, so catching it early is crucial in helping you turn things around and stay in the match.
- Keep positive thoughts. Easy to say and hard to do, especially during a match where your frustration is building and the points are slipping away from you, but it is a must-do if you still want to win this thing.
- Get back to basics. Stop going for the high risk shots you might usually go for, just for a little while. When things aren’t going for you, these shots are near impossible to pull off, so don’t even attempt them for now. Play the percentages and play the safer shots. The more you start to get your shots in, your confidence will start to return, and you are turning the cycle around.
- Play the corners. Like above, but just focussing your mind on the four corners of the court and freeing your mind of all the other clutter. Think about where your opponent is and make them work, trying to force them into mistakes and snatch a few points off them.
So what now?
So overall, the key to turning this squash match around when things aren’t going your way is to think clearly and stay calm.
Positive attitudes and playing the shots you know best will help you swing momentum back in your favour, and you’ll soon be on an upwards cycle again. Whatever you do, don’t give in a smash your squash racquet on the floor, we guarantee you will regret it immediately!
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