Slow motion

When your junior squash-player is practicing, drilling ghosting, etc. at home and/or out of doors, it's a good idea to have them practice in "slow motion!"

When it comes to learning a squash swing (or even movement), squash-players should not be in such a hurry. They should just slow down! That's one of the secrets of learning - slowing down the swing and/or movement, so that the brain can absorb better. It's an ingenious method of developing correct technique, which will result in acquiring more accuracy with all their shots and footwork.

Practicing in slow motion is a scientifically proven technique that all-level players, (even accomplished professionals) have been using for a long time, in many different fields. Take musicians for instance. When a guitar player wants to learn a difficult new song, he or she does't just rush through the piece at high speed the first time. They practice slowly, carefully and at a pace that allows them to learn their way through the music.

Greater progress can be attained by using a slow motion approach when learning a squash swing as well, putting the same principles into practice. By swinging slowly and carefully they can actually learn much quicker than just swinging and whacking away at the ball at break-neck speed.

Slow motion learning speeds up learning for a number of reasons. It increases awareness of what they're are actually trying to accomplish during the swing, i.e. follow-through to a target, or even in their movement, i.e. proper and exact foot-work placement, etc. It enhances the “feel” and a sense of “connection” with the squash racket. It develops a highly tuned sense of rhythm and direction. In addition, it grooves the correct swing into their brain and nervous system, thereby improving their “conditioned reflex” or muscle memory when attempting the “shot” in real time.

“Muscle Memory” is the state where they can perform a motor skill without consciously guiding it. This happens regularly and is the source of consistently good performance at any level. The secret? Repetition. The other secret? Slow repetition. It’s easier to get a feel for a swing or movement at a slow speed, as they can attend to all the micro-adjustments needed to make with a technique when they go slow enough to consciously think about it carefully and specifically. Thus, it takes fewer repetitions to achieve “muscle memory” when they work slowly.

 But how will this make my swing quick, getting that snap," they ask?"  Tension is the enemy of speed. If they're attempting either a backhand or forehand drive – and are  tense, they will have a slower swing. It is much like driving around town with a parking brake on. They will get nowhere fast and it can even do some damage. If they work the different elements of the swing technique slowly, they can work on relaxing theot muscles, permitting free, controlled and quick movement. Once they can perform the movement smoothly in a slow manner, speeding it up, (which will add pace), is easy!

All of these benefits serve to make their time during practices much more productive. Remember that practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect! Learning a proper squash swing (even correct movement) is one of the most difficult things to learn in sports. Every year parents of junior squash-players spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on squash hopes of them becoming a better player - with aspirations of going to a boarding school and/or being on a college varsity squash team. Learning in slow motion can (and will) help every young squash-player to reach their potential and be the best they can be.