The Perfect Athlete

This weeks about squash itself. I’ll be honest, I’m biased when I say ‘I think squash athletes in peak condition are the best overall athletes of all’. The physicality and psychology of the sport is far more intense and complex than most. You have to train and cross train in every way to be what we call ‘squash fit’. Strength, agility, speed, endurance, balance, power, reflexes, accuracy, co-ordination and more physically! Then you have the mental side of patience, decisions, tactics, determination, concentration etc etc, it covers every element in sport. Unlike other sports that are based on a couple things and in training focus on that specific thing like a sprinter does speed and power or take weight lifter who would do strength and power. There may be smaller elements involved as well but for squash everything plays a major role there is no minor!

As a squash player and many of you who read this are, the idea of health benefits isn’t exactly the reason we play, it’s more a bonus on the side. Awhile ago Squash was published in Forbes Magazine as being one of the healthiest sports. The study used experts in the field and were scored based on physiological benefits, injury risks and calorie burn. They marked the sports on physiological benefits from the four components of fitness; cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. Then scaled the risk of injury and average calorie burn from each sport to concluded the overall results. Squash came out on top!
See linked article for more information.

All this makes it very easy for me to brag about how good my sport is but I want to compare it in other ways aswell…
Have you ever seen one of those worlds best athletes or greatest athlete challenges on TV ? Basically they take top performing athletes from an array of sports and put them against each other in a series of tests and take scores at the end to see who is the best conditioned athlete overall. I’ve seen a rugby league, rugby union and iron man athletes perform the best to win the tittles but I’d love putting a squash player in the mix and see what happens…

It’s interesting how often people compare us to tennis or use tennis in a way to understand or relate to squash. We once tested tennis- timed how long the match went not including breaks between sets and how long they are actually playing for an hours match they were hitting balls for 20mins! Compare that to squash where a match is an hour the game play would be almost the entire time. No toilet breaks or towel wipes between points! It’s such a shame the world can’t see the calibre of a squash athlete at the top of their game.

If there’s a sport worth playing it has to be squash and even science agrees!

& that’s My Athlete Mind…


One thought on “The Perfect Athlete

  1. In the 70s in the UK there was a programme called Superstars which was very popular and did that kind of thing and I remember, despite just being a kid at the time, Jonah Barrington performing very well and I know that Nick Matthew would have been keen to compete in one that was done after the Olympics.


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