While the origin of mantras were religious, they can also be considered versions of self-talk and self-hypnosis, but don’t worry, this article is not going to get all mystic and Freudian! If you hear (and repeat) something enough, you will begin to believe it. This effective can be both positive and negative. Of course, it’s not as simple as repeating “I’m the best squash player in the world” and waking to find that you are the best squash player in the world!
It’s my experience that using short and precise mantras about your mindset bring the best result. You can’t make yourself stronger by using a mantra, but you can get yourself off the sofa and into the gym, which leads you to becoming stronger.
You can clearly see that the both of the server’s feet are outside of the service box at the point of contact.
Enough Abstract, Time For My Mantras
I watch the ball hit my strings – This one should be self-explanatory. Watching the ball hit your strings is one of the best things you can do to improve your squash.
Hitting straight brings rewards – I had a terrible habit of hitting too many crosscourts and boasts (especially volley boasts) and I needed to remind myself to play more straight shots.
It’s only a game of squash – I used to get very nervous when I played important matches. I needed to remind myself that it’s not a “life or death” situation. It’s just a squash match. Nothing bad will happen whether I win or lose.
Technical, Tactical & Mental
You have have noticed that my three were technical, tactical and mental. That was how I tried to structure them, but it doesn’t have to be that way. However, I would really recommend having two technical mantras because it’s better to focus on one thing and do it well, that spread your focus over more areas.
How To Use Them
I would recite each one as I was heating up, or even as I was travelling to the venue. Essentially, the earlier or more I recited the mantras the better. As I mentioned though, they might change depending on the situation, so be flexible in you creation, use and execution of your squash mantras. They can be recited aloud or internally, depending you your level of confidence.
The Words We Use Matter
Think carefully about the wording, to make it as positive as possible, but also first person if possible. For example, instead of saying “A watch the ball hit the strings”, say “I watch the ball hit the strings”. if you are talking about diets, instead of saying “I can’t eat that”, when declining something outside of your acceptable food list, say “I don’t eat that”. In this case, the first makes it feel like some external rule forced on you, the second feels like YOU control what you eat and YOU have decided not to eat it.
You don’t have to use 3 mantras if you don’t want to. One is enough, if it is important. In fact, it’s probably best to start with one until you are comfortable with the idea and process. if you would like help creating your mantra, either post a comment or email me directly and I will do my best to refine the words to suit your needs. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, just send me an email.
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