This is a blog post about my experience with SquashMind, but more than that, this is a blog post about myself. In the world of sports, I found there to be this idea that the role of your mind in how you perform is confined to your choice of shot or what your strategy is for the game ahead. I know that this is something that I certainly believed. At the same time, I found that most of my reasons for losing a match were not about my shot choice, or due to a lack of squash practice, but rather a lack of mental practice. After a loss I found myself citing reasons such as I lost the match due to frustration or it was because I didn’t stick to my game plan. Of course, this is not to say that technique, practice, and shot choice are not essential to progress in squash, but rather to say that progress is not confined to those areas.
For me, one of the biggest concepts that I got from working with Jesse, and the SquashMind training program, was this idea that in order to truly learn something, you need to be able to put it into practice. A great example of this was our work on the Stoics, which included learning about their ideals through videos and texts as well as daily journaling which was a practice central to Stoic philosophy. Mental practice can also be seen through the visualisations and mindfulness practices on the SquashMind app. This practice allowed me to bridge the gap between idea and reality, and more than that, allowed these ideas to be integrated into my life on a daily basis. While I did not agree with everything that the Stoics believed nor do I practice everything they did, I was able to take the ideals which resonated with me and turn them into tangible benefits in my life through practices such as journaling.
Since the app is really meant to improve your ability as a squash player, SquashMind also incorporates tools which will aid your play on court. Firstly, the app includes interviews with top players such as Alison Waters, James Willstrop, Nick Mathew, amongst many others. During these interviews Jesse asks fundamental questions addressing many aspects of the game, allowing for players such as myself, to better understand how these athletes approach the game of squash. Additionally, the app includes a section entitled “Tactics” which include videos such as Playing Against a Retriever and How to Start Well. These videos provide strategies for the situations players often find themselves in. They become especially powerful when accompanied by the mental practices such as visualisations, also found in the app.
A Shift In Mindset
Likely the biggest benefit from the SquashMind training program thus far is this fundamental shift in my mindset to that of a growth mindset. Amongst other things, growth mindset is one in that approaches failure as a means to success not a barrier blocking you from it. Personally, putting this idea into practice changed my outlook on the game of squash, but I also felt that it changed my outlook on other areas as well. And more than that, I felt as though I was improving faster in the areas which mattered the most. Because once I put aside my fear of confronting things which were out of my comfort zone, or parts of my game which were not as strong as I would want them to be, I was able to begin fixing those areas. Admittedly, it is hard to truly be able to adopt this mindset, and there are always moments where your growth mindset will be challenged.
This leads me to my final point which is that there is no magic wand to success, nor is there a magic wand for being able to get the results you set out for. No coach or program can guarantee success. It cannot guarantee that you will be immune to letting frustration, anger, or any of these negative emotions we often associate with bad play, drop your level of play in a match. Instead, SquashMind and my training with Jesse takes a holistic approach to development in sport, which includes areas such as sleep which I often neglected before my meeting Jesse. It gave me an opportunity to take a step back and reframe the way I thought about my squash on a day-to-day basis. Whether it was the mindfulness meditations which really attempted to create this sense of awareness, or the visualisations which helped with situations on court I feel as though I have made progress within these past 3-4 months.
US U15 number 29