This is called the Unsquashable James Willstrop Hero squash racket, his new signature branding. View it here on Amazon.
Or the updated model here
Willstrop has been using the Unsquashable Y-Tec Pro racket
It seems to be the same specs just with updated graphics
Weight: 140 grams
String Pattern: 14 x 18
Head size: 500 sq cm
Also available on Amazon, click here, quite cheaply at the minute as the new racket is available imminently
Read Willstrop’s autobiography A shot and a ghost
Fast rising Kiwi squash star Paul Coll uses the Eye V.Lite 115 Control
The extended fan string pattern is offset by the thicker shaft, allowing for a balanced weight distribution. The frame is relatively stiff, giving a direct response and impressive control.
Head size (cm):
14 x 18
Click here to view on Amazon
The new GEL-FASTBALL 2 gives you comfort and ride suited to the fast, aggressive player and has a lot of lateral stability so you can move quickly all around the court. RhinoSkin/Open mesh Upper Take to center court and show up in style with the Asics Gel-Fastball 2 Indoor Court Shoe.
Its upper construction is set with a open mesh material, this is placed across the shoe to provide excellent comfort and breathability. It allows fresh air to permeate the interior layers keeping the foot cool and comfortable while also offering reduced irritation from seamless stitching.
The Gel-fastball does not pass on support as the mesh is covered with durable RhinoSkin overlays. This covers the upper body with an abrasion and tear resistant synthetic leather for increased upper durability while being more flexible when running. It actively secures the foot in place through medial and lateral movements, while still maintaining its shape and form. Finally at the rear of the upper construction cushioning properties are applied with a Personalised heel fit which is 2 layers of memory foam that line the collar and mould to the athlete’s heel, creating a personalized fit for the Achilles as you transition from foot to foot. SpEVA/DuoMax Midsole Asics have assigned the Gel-Fastball II with a bounty of dual midsole technologies to provide the wearer with exceptional stability and comfort.
A full-length SpEVA midsole works in unison with the DuoMax support system to provide bounce-back and cushioning to keep a spring in your step whilst playing, and give you continued energy return, even as you tire. Rearfoot and forefoot GEL units work in tandem with the SpEVA midsole offering support that Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through its natural movement.
Tecnifibre Squash green 9 racquet bag proves to be a solid on and off court travelling partner with the two generous compartments able to fit up to nine rackets. The bag features special ventilating perforations inspired by those included in racing cars to ensure impressive breathability and freshness. Additionally, you can store your favourite playing pair separately from the rest of apparel, thanks to a shoe compartment, and for accessories there is a small side zippered pocket. Moreover, the bag can be carried comfortably thanks to adjustable backpack straps, or alternatively with a practical carry handle.
I have been using two squash training Apps for a while now one the squash ghost and the other squash fit which allow me to train and undertake ghosting sessions at various speeds controlling the metrics like:
moves per set,
rest between sets,
and frequency of moves.
On its own this is a great way for me to condition myself for matches and work on my court specific fitness.
But after watching a recent match on squashtv with Greg Gaultier I looked at his speed of movement, time between shots ect and wondered if i could obtain any information on professional squash match metrics and play a game using the Apps at a speed similar to this and experience what a single game would feel like from a fitness point of view.
Turns out there is, although its a little dated now i thought it would still be fun to try it.
So the metrics i entered are in the image to the left, I tried it, it wasn’t very nice it did give me an insight into how fit and quick the professions are to be able to sustain this kind of work rate for 5 games is very impressive.
From a fitness perspective it would be a solid test to see how you would cope physically with this type of workload, admittedly from a shot selection or technical point of view it wont really do anything worthwhile but as a fitness session its a great test.
You may also be interested in a preseason strength and conditioning routine found here
The foundation of all exercise is movement and this is most evident in a sport like squash where rapid changes in direction are at the sports core.
A system of training that could improve this ability would provide huge benefits for the player. Enter speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) training.
The benefits of speed, agility and quickness training for squash include: injury reduction, the ability to move more efficiently, faster and better recovery when faced with the sudden directional changes which are constantly occurring within our sport.
This can be greatly enhanced with correct SAQ training, in addition to adjusting exercise selection and techniques.
Speed is defined as the ability to move the body in one direction as fast as possible.
Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize, and quickly change directions with proper posture.
Quickness is the ability to react and change body position with a maximum rate of force production.
Improving all three components will enhance a player’s match experience, satisfy the need for effective cardiorespiratory work, and provide variety in movement direction and position.
All standards of players can benefit from improved balance, quicker feet, and a faster reaction times, and this is precisely what Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) drills can help you achieve.
While SAQ drills are often thought of as interchangeable, it is important to recognize how these components are related, as well as how they differ.
General refers to the speed of which you’re able to move your arms and legs, in a way that allows you to move as fast as possible in a straight line. This is often referred to as linear speed. If you notice you have difficulty keeping up with or breaking away from your teammates and competitors, you will likely benefit from adding speed drills.
While speed refers to moving in a straight line, agility is the ability to change direction quickly and effectively. If you struggle moving side-to-side, or find yourself off balance a lot, agility training will help improve your performance.
While speed and agility rely on a combination of core and lower-body strength, quickness refers to your body’s reflexive reactions. Quickness measures your instant and rapid responses, and drills to improve these abilities usually only last several seconds. If you have trouble getting your body into position quickly or lack explosiveness in your first few steps, adding quickness drills to increase your reaction time will help you be a quicker athlete.
SAQ Drills Do Provide Tangible Benefits
As an athlete, speed, agility, and quickness training was introduced at a young age. In a sport like squash being faster than your opponent can make a huge difference, I quickly learned how to use a speed ladder and training cones to gain an advantage over my opponents.
As I matured as an athlete, the importance of speed, agility, and quickness took on more significance as the games became longer and faster. When quick reactions and effective footwork can be the difference between picking up a drop shot or changing direction and creating an opening in which to counter-attack. Being able to change direction in a split-second is massively important and successful players will learn to move in all directions early in their training and still remaining light on their feet yet incredibly explosive.
Click here to view the speed, agility and quickness manuel on Amazon
You can view the complete speed and agility package on Amazon by clicking here
Learning to Move Efficiently
Below are a few basic movement drills that can help prepare an athlete for a variety of situations.
6 Basic Locomotion Drills
3. Side Shuffle
5. Butt Kickers
6. High Knees
Medicine Ball Drills
Medicine balls are an invaluable tool for fighters and grapplers to develop upper body power. They can be used in a variety of exercises, but for the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on throwing.
We can throw them against a wall, the ground or with a partner.
Medicine ball exercises can be performed on the ground, kneeling (both knees down), half kneeling (one knee down), standing, or w/ movement.
Basic medicine ball throws include:
• Chest pass
• Overhead throw (soccer throw in)
• Rotational Throws
• Shot Put
• Hinge for height
• Hinge for distance
We typically use ladder drills after our warm up and locomotion drills. They are a great way to build strength, coordination and to fire up the nervous system before more intense work. These can become incredibly complex, but don’t need to be. Start slow, focus on technique and increase the speed as you become more proficient.
Here are some ladder basics that you can add to your arsenal:
• 1 foot per square running
• 2 feet per square running
• In, In, out (Icki Shuffle)
• Ali Shuffle
• Rotational Switch
• Cross Overs
Jump Rope Drills
Jumping rope has been a staple for combat athletes for a long, long time. Be sure to spring off of your toes and propel your body up, as this will help improve your quickness and explosiveness.
Below are some jump rope drills to try:
• Two feet
• Move right and left
• Move forward and back
• Circle right and left
• Side to side bounding
• Front to back bounding
• 1 foot hops
• High knees
• Double unders
Agility is defined as our ability to change direction. Reacting to our opponent, setting up an attack and defending requires us to move quickly and change directions quickly.
The sky is the limit on these drills, but here are a few of our favorites.
• 2 cone shuffle – set up two cones, 5 yards apart and shuffle as quickly as possible back and forth. These can be done of reps or time, but should be short and quick.
• 3 cone drill – You have seen this one in the NFL combine. Its also called 5-10-5 drill. 3 cones, five yards apart, start in the middle and sprint to one side, back to far side and then thru the middle to finish.
• Box drill – 4 cones, 5 yards apart, set up in a square. Sprint forward, side shuffle over, back pedal, side shuffle and repeat back the other way.
• Reaction drills – light or color. You can get creative with these. Setting up cones, colored dots or similar in a variety of patterns (half circle, circle, or other). The athlete must respond to their partner or coach’s command. So, if you are using colored dots, the coach my call out ‘red’ and the athlete has to find red and get there as quickly as possible.
Plyometrics can best be described as “reactive power” training, as plyometrics involve powerful contractions in response to a rapid stretching (eccentric action) of the same muscle and connective tissue. Just like any exercise, we should always lay a solid foundation and progress into more intense exercises.
Here’s a progression for plyometrics:
Level 1 – to box or step, no gravity
Level 2 – movement to stick or hold…introduce gravity and land well.
Level 3 – movement to bounce or studder, then progress
Level 4 – True plyometric, repeated jumping or bounding.
Speed, agility and quickness training can make a massive improvement to a players game. Developing these characteristics will take some time, but an effectively thought out plan coupled with consistent practice will yield great results.
We use it alot the lunge in squash but it is an exercise that can be varied to suit different phases of training and different dynamics during play.
The image above shows an extreme version of the lunge and demonstrates the importance of stength, stability and flexibility in the thighs and hips of the lower body whilst stiking the ball with the upper body.
We use the lunge in varying degrees when training but there are a few variations that will benefit us in slightly different ways. By varying the exercise we can get a little more out of the movement and bring into play these elements so that we can use them directly in match play.
This is an exercise used to increase power output and improve your ability to move into and out of the shot dynamically. It recruits the larger type 2 muscle fibres that are responsible for producing force quickly.
Perform reps of 20 with 2-4 sets adding weight if required.
This variation works the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles as in the basic forward lunge, the real benefits are seen in the utilisation of additional core and trunk rotator muscles. The twisting action strengthens your obliques, latissimus dorsi and erector spinae.
The exercise will also give stability and balance in the phase where you should be stable just prior to striking the ball. But also allowing for a more stable rotation of the trunk when hitting through the ball.
Perform reps of 20 with 2-4 sets
Holding a medicine ball or dumbbell/kettlebell in your hands, elbows by your sides, take one large step forward into a lunge position.
Watch that your knee is at a 90 degree angle and the weight of your body is toward your front knee.
Hold the lunge position, contract your abs and rotate your torso to the same side as your front leg.
Your arms and medicine ball should turn with your torso until they are in line with your side.
Rotate back to the centre as you stand up and bring your arms back in front of you. Then repeat the action on the other leg.
Perform reps of 20 with 2-4 set.
The static lunge gets its name because the feet remain static, or in the same position, throughout the exercise.You will also be holding this movement for 10 seconds at 90 degrees before swapping legs.
The benefit of this exercise is that it teaches you to recruit stabiliser muscles that you will hopefully be firing when you are down into the low position and also teaching you to be stable, still and strong before you strike the ball with out any additional movement.
Begin by standing in a split-stance with your right foot forward and your left foot back. Engage your abdominal muscles, straighten your back and look straight ahead.
Maintain this position as you bend your legs to lower your hips toward the floor drop to 90 degrees. Continue down until your left knee nears the floor then hold this position for 10 seconds without moving.
You will then press through your right heel to return to the starting position then repeat the exercise with your left leg forward holding for 10 seconds.
Perform Reps of 10 seconds each leg do 5 sets adding weight if required.