PAN AM Squash Footwork

pan am squash          Squash players maintain a continuous physical, mental and emotional connection with the ball.  This parlays into skillfully executed footwork and winning shots in a graceful game of active deception. At the highest skill level, players try to outwit each other – anticipating not just the bounce of the ball but ‘reading’ their opponents’ moves, adjusting their counter-moves, and trying to make their own next move even more ‘unreadable’.  Good judgment lies behind good predictions which can then lead to good reactions. A player must get to the ball before his opponent even hits it.

Anticipating the Moves

What are the keys to early anticipation?  A squash player uses the ball’s travel time to read his opponent’s body language in his set up and stroke. He checks all the visual cues, weighing them against his familiarity with the player. He assesses footwork relative to the ball’s position, weight transfer, length and height of back swing, racquet grip, and angle of wrist.  He knows what to do…unless, the opponent ‘pulls a fast one’ and strategically pauses, leaving his shot option to the last microsecond.

Making the Moves

Anticipation doesn’t take place in isolation.  The squash player uses the ball’s travel time to position himself to retrieve all possible shots. In between shots, he generally moves back to the ‘T’ at centre court and gets ready. He does a fast hop and quarter squat, a ‘split step’, landing on feet shoulder width apart to regain balance.  The split step stretches all the muscles that will propel the player instantly and powerfully to the ball.

Squash players do not ‘run’ through the ball in the way that tennis players are trained to.  By the time they get within striking distance of the ball, squash players have already stopped their centre of gravity, transferring weight into the shot and then moving back to the ‘T’.  Lunges are the move of choice with the many directional demands on the body, especially if the ball is low.  A reaching lunge can be elegant; the non-racquet arm counterbalances the outstretched racquet arm. The ball gets a good whack, hopefully as the opponent was blinking.

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


Happy Gait

Gait happy brain and walking

Feeling a bit down? Go for a walk and add a bounce to your step. While regular walks can boost your mood, your gait may also affect your frame of mind.

Researchers have studied how negative or positive thoughts affect your gait.  If you focus on the negative, your walk may mimic depressive patterns of movement characterized by slumped shoulders, head positioned forward and subtler arm swings. The effect works both ways. An intentionally positive mindset correlates with the happy gait of a bouncier step and greater arm swings.

But it needn’t begin with the mind. There are some indications that by pretending to walk as a happy person with a bouncier gait, your thinking will become less negative. This research investigates the power of body language on the mind.

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The Standing O


“Stood there, applauded that: Does the standing ovation really mean anything any more?” asks J. Kelly Nestruck of the Globe and Mail.

It’s time to face the facts: The standing ovation is dead in North America. Yes, the standing O is finito.

Theatregoers get up on their feet and clap at the end of plays more than ever, it’s true – but that’s exactly it: The gesture is no longer exceptional. You’ll find people standing and applauding after great performances and less-great ones and sometimes even after lousy ones.

Audience behaviour is constantly evolving and I personally prefer to stand at the end of a long show, if only to stretch my legs. I almost always rise as soon as the person in front of me does, if he or she blocks my view of the curtain call, anyway. The alternative – sitting grumpily and staring at a stranger’s backside – seems unnecessarily willful. The only time I stay seated, ironically enough, is when a show has so completely bowled me over that I feel unable to move.

There are those artists who do recognize that standing, clapping spectators are now merely standing, clapping spectators – sometimes they are wildly enthusiastic, sometimes they just want to beat the traffic – but who can’t stand the shift in semiotics. They would prefer audiences stay seated unless they’ve really had their socks knocked off.

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