This issue, three young ladies from the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia, PA, have wrestled the “Breaking through the Levels”column away from the Professionals to discuss drills, extra training, improving mental toughness, and lessons they have learned while competing and “Breaking through the Age Divisions”!
U13 by Linsay Burnham
It was 10-3 in the 5th game and I was serving. Everything stopped, and I took a little time to think. This could be the last point and I could win the Lawrenceville Gold. That would be such an accomplishment! But what I have to think about is how I am going to win this point? Will I try to put pressure on my opponent? Will I try to hit a kill shot? Finally, I thought of a game plan and the game resumed. That day, I won my first Gold tournament.
I improved my performance in my biggest matches last year by taking the matches point by point. I planned out what I was going to do. It helps me to figure out what I did wrong in the last point, and work on it in the next point. But not every match is about winning. Even though it is a good feeling to win, losing also helps me to learn from my mistakes and try even harder.
One other thing that has helped me improve is my commitment to the game. I spend a lot of my free time at my club playing squash with my coach and my friends. On the weekends, I get to the squash courts at 10:00 am and get home around 5:00 pm. My parents would force me to take a break! But to have commitment, you have to love squash, and I love squash.
I would like to give credit to my friends for helping me improve. They gave me the confidence and excitement to play squash. My parents and sister give me a lot of pep talks and always make me laugh. But most of all, my coach, Kim, has helped me. She helps me improve on my strokes, fitness, and pointers in matches and tournaments.
Squash is a game that has many different aspects, and each player has a unique style when it comes to each part of the game. There are two components in the
game of squash that I feel have helped me become the player I am today. The first element is my forehand grip and swing. When I first started playing, I had a tennis-like swing that inhibited me from hitting shots that put me in a good position on the forehand side. With the help of my coaches, I have spent many grueling hours correcting my grip and swing so that I can hit better shots from the forehand side. The second element that helped me succeed is the idea of never giving up. During a match I always keep in mind that the point is not over until the ball bounces twice, and the game/match is not over until you walk off the court. I always try to get to the ball even if it seems impossible, because if I do get the ball, it is still in play and I have another chance to hit a good shot and win the rally.
U17 by Alexandra Pear
I started playing squash when I was twelve. I was not a natural; it took me a year to consistently make contact with the ball. To improve, I made squash my sport priority in my GU15 up year. In GU17, I finally made a strict schedule that
included long runs, hill sprints, match play, soloing and ghosting. I also began a squash-specific workout in the gym and began training with a larger group of juniors to experience other levels and styles of match play. Even though I feel that I have improved a lot, the reality of playing in a gold tournament showed me that everyone at this level has also greatly improved. These humbling tournament experiences have shown me that I need to focus on specific goals, rather than just the outcome of the match. I’ve learned that training on my own is extremely helpful as I can focus on the specific areas I need to work on. My goal this year is to make it into the top 50 and I will continue to work hard until I achieve it.