A short post this week, just a small hint about something not to do in order to maintain focus. Do not look up at the balcony, or through glass or to wherever there might be people watching. A surprising number of players get very distracted by it and it is rarely good for your performance levels. Once you start looking at who is – or isn’t – watching, you start focusing on things outside of your control like results and perceptions, which can lead to trying to win rallies too quickly, and you’ll lose the focus you need to really compete at your best level.
It’s not impossible that you’ll get a bit of an ‘ego boost’ or start playing harder to try to impress someone, but if that’s happening there is something else you need to work on in the mental side of your game aside from this!
If you do find yourself looking, or tempted to look, at the balcony or spectator area, you need to acknowledge it quickly and try to re-focus. This might involve ‘centring’ yourself by putting your hand to the side wall – using the touch of the wall to bring yourself back to the present moment. Or you can use a trigger word or affirmation in your head. You can read about these techniques in more detail in our posts on how to re-focus during a rally, and how to get in the zone. There are mental tips and tactics in Squash School, as well as blog posts which cover a wide array of thoughts on how to focus at different points of a match – e.g. at 1-1 in games, complacency, motivation, different mindsets and much more in the ‘Mental’ tag under the heading ‘filed under’ below this post.
Do your best at keeping it together and remain a student of the game and of life!