If it is not already upon us, winter is round the corner. And this is a great time to start playing squash in case you haven’t already experienced its joys. If you have flexi-working hours, you may like to steal yourself away to a squash court and work out for a while. Or else, you could perhaps stop over at a squash court on the way home.
After all, a half-hour on the squash court and a good shower can reinvigorate you like few other indoor sport. To my mind, squash competes with badminton for the tag of the ultimate indoor sport that can help you stay active and work on your fitness while you enjoy yourself. Stated simply, a game of squash can be a wonderful recreational experience where you learn to compete while appreciating your opponent’s skills. It also allows you to have social interaction with peers from other walks of life away from the hustle and bustle of business.
Of course, there are not too many community sports centres that have got squash courts – and you will have to find yourself some ways of getting to a star hotel or some club that lets you pay and play. There are some schools that have reasonable facilities for squash and it is incumbent on the corporate community to encourage them to open these for use after school hours. Once you have gained access to a squash court, the sport itself is not very expensive. A racket, a squash ball and a pair of sports shoes are all you need.
With regular practice, you can develop a great deal of fortitude in addition to developing the triple physical benefits of fitness, flexibility and strength. If you can bring yourself to stay on court for close to an hour, without feeling exhausted, you can be sure that you have given your heart some workout. And if you can bend low or stretch just that bit extra to be able to reach the ball that is played low or wide away from you, you will have worked on improving your flexibility. We are not born with the same degree of flexibility and squash is a great way of bettering that. You can also develop your strength by controlling the racket and hitting the ball with the optimum power.
Let us return to the mental aspect of the sport and see how it can help you. Like in any other ball sport, you have to stay focussed on the ball and be aware of the opponent. It demands concentration throughout a session or a match as it were. One lapse can lead to more errors, the loss of a game, or even the loss of a match. Squash lets you learn to challenge yourself and others, work on decision-making and critical thinking besides learning about sportsmanship and other important life lessons.
There is the opportunity of beating someone – and, conversely, the risk of losing. Either way, there will be lessons to be learnt You can learn to prepare for big situations in life by get yourself really ready as you would on the court. You can also train to psyche yourself up to not get frustrated when you make a mistake. And, if you are generous with lets and strokes and not let arguments over calls distract you from the task at hand – making good strokes – you can be sure that you would approach any situation at work or in life with equanimity and a calm that can surprise many.
Of course, at the end of that workout, you can retire for a refreshing swig of fresh juice – or your favourite drink – while you discuss a shot that either won or lost the match for you. Game?