Injuries. The bane of a squash player!
If you have been playing squash long enough, you know what I mean. I am not talking about that time when you had to ice your shoulder because you ran into the wall a little too hard. I am referring to the time when you had to take a few days off to recoup from an injury – acute or chronic – suffered on the squash court. Most squash players whom I know spend a lot of time on the court playing, often five or six times a week. While the desire to improve your game by playing as often as you can be understandable, the strength, endurance, and stability required to stay uninjured can only be developed off the squash court. Going by my own experience and that of a few fellow players who now spend more time watching the game than playing it, here are three sensible things to do to avoid injuries on the squash court.
Warm up: Warming up for any sports should be a no-brainer. When it comes to squash, it is especially significant due to the twists, turns, stretches, and lunges the game demands of you. The sprains and hyperextensions aside, going from a cold start to a super high heart rate in a very short duration of time could have other implications to your health. While I don’t necessarily agree with folks who refer to squash as the most dangerous game, it is fair to say that it is nor for the faint of heart, literally! A five-minute warm-up run on the treadmill with a few stretches before your game would go a long way in avoiding a cold start and potential injuries. But then, fitness is a relative term. Check out this video of some intense CrossFit routines from Annie Thorisdottir, often referred to as the fittest woman on earth!
Avoid too much squash: There indeed is something as too much of a good thing! If you do not listen to your body and play seven days a week, and occasionally, more than once a day, you are asking for trouble. Even at the professional level, players take at least a day off to rest and let the body relax. The overuse of key joints – elbows and knees – and muscles will eventually cost you. I would speculate that of all the causes for chronic squash injuries, playing too much ranks at the top. Balancing your on-court times with your fitness and conditioning times would certainly help minimize your chances of getting injured.
Do not play while injured: Getting on the court before full recovery from a previous injury is a close second to playing too much. When it comes to sports injuries a lot of players appear to believe that they know their bodies better than their doctors. If you don’t heed the warning signs, it may come back to haunt you. If your ankle is sore or your rotator cuff is acting up again, a couple of days off the court to do some light weights or stretches may be in order. Masking your pain by popping a couple of anti-inflammatory pills may eventually cause more harm than good. You may want to keep in mind that if you ignore such warnings, you may end up on the elliptical trainer for good!
So are you guilty of any of the above?