Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert at playing squash, you might have a thought clawing at the back of your mind. A hope that one day you could be in the big leagues, playing squash as a profession.
But how do you go about it?
Worry no longer, as this article will tell you everything you need to know to do so. After reading this article, before you know it, you’ll be on the path to being the next squash champion.
How do you come a professional squash player? In order to accomplish the dream of becoming a pro squash player, you need to work extremely hard at training every day, both in terms of being generally athletic and in terms of learning how to play squash.
Once you feel you are talented enough, then you can register to enter various tournaments. Your best bet to get into tournaments is to register with the Professional Squash Association (PSA). Once that is all done, then you must keep working hard and aim for the top!
Where To Start
Whether you are already incredibly athletic or out of shape, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are skilled in squash or have never picked up a racket ever, we all start somewhere. Before you even register to be a professional squash player, you need to make sure you know how to stay in shape and how to play squash.
Getting In Shape
For getting in shape, you should make sure you have a healthy diet and exercise every day.
Let’s assume you don’t have much knowledge of exercise or diet for now. In terms of diet, a great starting point is to stop eating out at restaurants. It will save you a lot of money, but most importantly, you’ll have control of what goes in your body.
If you are putting junk food into your body, stop now.
A good rule of thumb is that if it is processed or comes from a fast food restaurant, then it is junk food. If you are used to these kinds of food, you may find your body goes through withdrawal as you quit eating junk food.
Push on through this and replace the junk food with healthy food; foods such as lean meat or fish, vegetables and fruit. You’re going to want to cook and eat high protein foods such as chicken, fish and eggs; as protein will help you build muscle which will help improve your swings and ability to run.
Protein is not the only important thing in terms of a healthy diet though. You’re going to want to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, as these will give you plenty of vitamins to keep your body in shape and fight off disease.
Finally, you’re going to need to cut out any unhealthy drinks. Things like pop, juice or beer; anything with a high level of sugars and fats, has to disappear from your diet. Water is the healthiest thing you can drink, and you should be drinking at least 8 to 10 cups a day, maybe more if you are exercising a lot.
Though this sounds harsh, the less you consume unhealthy food and the more you consume healthy food and water, the better your body will be able to perform. There are fine margins involved in gettting to the top, and you need everything to be working in your favor.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, the above paragraph may have frightened you. How can I be a professional squash player or any kind of athlete if I have to eat protein?
Fortunately, protein isn’t only found in meats, fish and their by products. You can also find protein in peanut butter, chickpeas and many other foods that are vegetarian and vegan friendly. If you want more information on dieting, there are plenty of good resources online and for free.
Now onto the hard work of training in squash. In order to become truly talented at squash, you should be exercising every day and training in squash every day too.
To become the best of the best, that’s what you have to do. If you are feeling this is daunting, just keep reading for now and know that in a later section, we will come back to the idea of overcoming excuses to do whatever it takes to accomplish this dream and other dreams too.
One of the best things to focus on is doing cardio. Whether this cardio is running, cycling, the stair-master or something else, working on your cardiovascular endurance will help you out a ton. When you are running around on the squash court for anywhere from 10 or 15 minutes to an hour or more, you’re going to need that endurance to be able to keep going let alone compete well enough to win.
One of the best forms of training for squash is doing on-court conditioning drills. These help replicate the exact movements required for squash, whilst also building on other skills.
Another thing to focus is muscular endurance, training your body to be able to put out repeated usages of strength with a lower level of effort.
You’re going to have to keep lunging and sprinting around that court until you hit those eleven points that give you that victory.
Weightlifting at a lower weight with many reps can help your body acclimate to continuously putting out force. If you lift heavy weights like a bodybuilder or powerlifter, this could hurt your overall cardiovascular endurance and may make it harder to have muscular endurance although it will raise your strength significantly.
Another often overlooked aspect of training in any sport is stretching. Stretching is even more crucial to your squash training than many other sports. Take a look at our Complete Guide On How To Stretch For Squash.
Some sports such as weightlifting do not necessarily require stretching as the body doesn’t go through intense ranges of movement except for very certain scenarios.
But in the case of squash, you need to be constantly moving and sometimes need to turn on a dime, so having flexibility is key. Being flexible could mean the difference between hitting the ball and letting it hit the ground, meaning your opponent gets a point and you get that bit closer to losing.
Don’t let this happen and instead add stretching to every workout. Before you workout or play squash, you should do dynamic stretches to warm up your body.
Dynamic stretches are any stretch where your body is in motion as you do it as opposed to static stretching where you force your body into a pose and hold it for a period of time. Static stretching should be done after your workouts and squash games or practices, to help your body recover after making it work hard.
Many pro players try other forms of flexibility and pliability training such as yoga designed for squash.
On Court Training
The bulk of your training should be on a squash court. You need to keep your body primed to play squash. Naturally, the best way to do this is to play squash repeatedly.
If you cannot play with someone at the time, you can train on your own. There are a range of solo squash drills that are fantastic at honing your accuracy, technique and touch. Pro players will engage in solo drills usually at least twice a week, and some will have solo drills incorported into their daily practice routine.
Invest In A Coach
To truly take your game to the next level, invest in a squash teacher who can teach you everything you need to know.
All pro players will have been coached at some point during their junior career, and ALL will have a coach now they have made it to the top. If you play county, area, or college squash then access to a coach should not be a problem. A good coach is essential in refining your technique, and helping you to assess your game. They help you develop further accuracy in your shots, and develop a game plan for playing different opponents.
Highlighting strengths and working on weaknesses requires a second pair of eyes, and a good coach will often see many things in a game that you are not aware of. As well as group coaching, the more 1 to 1 sessions you can get per week the better.
In short, the coach will show you how to become a winning player.
Find A Practice Partner
Ideally, if you can pair up with someone of a similar ability and a similar ambition then that would be perfect.
A practice pair duo is greater than the sum of its two parts, and you can really improve each other’s games if you are working towards common ends.
The ideal practice partner would be:
- Someone who is reliable, and will always turn up
- Someone that can dedicate the same amount of time to being on court as you
- Someone with a similar level of skill
- Someone who is ambitious
- Someone who will motivate you, and will also listen to feedback from you in return
At this point, you may be thinking that you have started too late or you don’t have the natural talent, or any of a host of excuses.
Hopefully, you are not making these excuses. But if you are, it’s a common response. Often, people want to do something new but the new thing is out of their comfort zone and they may be afraid of failure. But if they never try, they’ll never get better and therefore, they’ll never get to their goal.
For those who are not making any excuses, just go to the next paragraph.
For those who are making excuses, know that those excuses are just that excuses. To be brutally honest, you might not be able to be the world’s best player…but very few people are the absolute best. The best decision you can make is to power through those excuses and work hard every single day at exercising and training in squash.
No matter how bad you are at the start, the act of doing it everyday will eventually hone you into a more talented squash player. Indeed, the act of doing anything everyday will make you better at it. Just start now and no matter how awkward it initially feels, you’ll be happier and more successful later.
Planning Out Going Pro
Now that you’ve put aside any excuses and have decided to dedicate yourself to becoming the best squash player you can possibly be, you’re probably asking yourself ‘How do I start to do this?’
The simple answer is you begin.
Whenever you start working hard at solving a problem, even if you don’t know the answer, you’ll find that it drives you towards putting effort in at doing what you can and then when you find you can’t do something, you’ll often find yourself driven to do the research on how to do that.
If all else fails, you’ll often find the person who can tell you what to do. This mindset is crucial for squash, the desire to continuously improve and work hard at learning how to play and mold yourself to play.
In fact, whatever you dedicate yourself to, teaching yourself to want it more than anything will help you get great results, leading to a snowball effect that pushes you further and further towards your goals.
However, to a lot of people out there, this is going to sound like optimistic fluff.
Let’s be honest here. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a professional squash player. In fact, you may not even be athletic at all. You may not even believe you can do this, seeing this idea as being nothing more than a flight of fancy.
You read the previous section about not making excuses and the stuff about training earlier, and it sounds nice, but it doesn’t seem real. Often, for people who have never done something before, they might need some guidance to help them in the beginning.
So, below is a program with some ideas for a workout and how to do it, each and every day, for both people who may already be in great shape and for those who consider themselves out of shape. It may take a while for you to adapt but if you stick with this program, you’ll see genuine change bit by bit, both for your squash dreams and yourself. This program is only to help you for a span of three months, but can either be repeated or simply be the first step to learning the skills to make your own plan.
A few notes about the plan below:
Weight training should be undertaken using high reps at low weights. High reps should be at a weight that you find quite light, and so you can repeat the lift many tiimes.
An example would be if you did a bicep curl 25 times at 10 pounds (and found the reps light), that would be seen as high rep. On the other hand, if you did a bicep curl 12 times at 30 pounds (and found the reps hard), then you have just done a low rep routine.
You can shift these days around to help fit your schedule but remember it helps to have a rest day. Even the most advanced programs have a day where you do nothing but run and stretch to give your body some time off.
|Court Practice (mins)||Rest||60||60||60||60||60||60|
|Weights (Lower/Upper Body)||Rest||L||U||Rest||L||U||Rest|
What To Do After Making A Good Routine
Once your body is in good shape and has gained the muscle memory to consistently play squash, your mind has acclimated to working hard at squash and consistently doing it, and you are actually enjoying doing the hard work…it is time to push even harder.
This may seem redundant at this point, but as you improve, you need to continue to improve. In order to get to the top, let alone stay at the top, you must consistently improve and work harder every day.
Keep learning more and more about the craft of squash, seek out teachers and work hard at becoming better everyday.
However, the problem with that mentality and what you’ve read so far is that humans can become used to doing the same thing over and over. If you succeed at conditioning yourself to do one of the programs above, consistently have a good diet, not make excuses and everything else mentioned above; you will see results.
Unfortunately, those results will eventually stagnate because you are doing the same things over and over. To prevent stagnation, the second you think you could improve even more, start changing up your routine and add in more exercises, stretches or time at what you’re working on.
Work On Weaknesses
Work on your weaknesses more (and remember that having a squash trainer will help you figure out exactly what those weaknesses are, as no one can always see themselves for what they are). For example, if your backhand is not as strong as your forehand, dedicate some time each week to backhand drills.
Make your diet healthier and stricter. Keep pushing your boundaries and never settle. But there is one thing you need to settle on to truly go pro.
Once you think your skills are good enough, you must register in a squash tournament to start your professional career. If you are confident in yourself, register once you think you are ready.
If you are the kind of person who is not confident in yourself, ask for advice from a squash trainer or anyone else you know who plays squash. There’s also always the option of taking the plunge and just trying right away, instead of waiting, so you can get a taste of the action immediately.
Registering And Making Money
When you are ready to register for a tournament, there are many sites where you can apply.
For Americans, a great option is www.ussquash.com. It has many tournaments in the States, especially for beginners. The prices for entry vary and some tournaments may not have a cash prize, so be warned.
For tournaments all over the world, look into the Professional Squash Association (PSA). The PSA can help you get into all kinds of tournaments all over the world but there is a membership fee. The membership fee varies depending on a variety of factors but can be very expensive.
To find out how much you might be expected to make at different points in the game, why not check out or article How Much Pro Squash Players Earn.
There are other sites which can help you find tournaments and lots of ways in general to play professionally, so never give up searching for them. Also, as briefly alluded to before, there are often costs to play tournaments and they vary…but also some tournaments pay you if you win! So keep working hard and maybe one day, squash might pay your bills!
Finally, something that needs to be addressed in this section is the costs of starting up playing squash. As discussed before, tournament prices vary, but for all other costs check out this article about The Cost Of Playing Squash.
Now that you have a good idea of the hard work it takes to become a professional squash player, with any luck you also have a sense of just how fun it would be.
If you are just starting out, don’t forget everyone starts somewhere, so keep working hard at getting better everyday. If you already have some experience under your belt, hopefully this article was still of help to you.
Remember you can do anything you set your mind to, so go out there, squash your fears and chase your dream of being the best!