Have you ever allowed your thoughts to dwell on a refereeing decision awarded against you many rallies earlier during an important squash game? Have you ever allowed yourself to worry that if you lose the next rally your opponent will be nearly at game point?
Come on be honest, we all have!
If you examine the above two questions again, you’ll notice the first one is about a situation that happened in the past and the second about a situation that could happen in the future.
The truth is, we actually allow ourselves to be distracted by events we can’t control. Read the last four words of the previous sentence again… events we can’t control! It’s wasted mental energy which could have been better used focusing on what we can control. The only thing we can and will only ever be able to control is what is actually happening at this very moment, sometimes referred to as the ‘here and now’.
So what does this mean in a game of squash? It means keeping your mind focused on what is happening at that very moment of the squash match and not allowing your thoughts to be taken back into the past or forward into the future. You will be totally concentrated if you are able to do this, however, it is impossible to hold your concentration for 100% of the time but there are ways to make improvements.
Zen meditation is a great way of clearing your mind prior to playing a game of squash. The core principle of zen mediation is to keep the mind present in the ‘here and now’ and usually involves the simple act of focusing on your breathing.
Between games, you’ve probably had friends giving you advice to concentrate on one point at a time. How about focusing only on your next shot? Wouldn’t that be even better advice?
Between points, try focusing on your breathing to calm yourself down so you will be fully present and prepared for the next all important rally.
Give yourself the best chance possible during your next game of squash and stay in the ‘here and now’. It may just prevent you from building up the frustrations that can sometimes be taken out on your ‘poor’ squash racket.