Playing squash is fun. If we couldn't play squash, we would probably do something else. But only playing won't help you reach your goals or your potential. Let me be clear: if you play squash just for fun and have no other goal than to have fun, then this is not the article for you. Also, I fully respect your choice. Not everything has to be about being the best you can be.
This article is aimed at players who want to get better, who are ambitious and competitive. Unless you are first starting out, playing squash is not enough to keep you improving. Finding a training partner might not be easy, and you might have to train with a few different people until you find the perfect one for you.
Why Do You Need A Training Partner?
At some point you will need to focus your effort on specific elements of your game. Coaching would help identify those elements, but honestly, even a simple general, overall plan is great to start with. Not everybody is open to the idea of performing drills or playing special games, so you can't rely on asking people and hoping to get a "yes".
A training partner is somebody who wants to train in specific ways - at least for some of your court time. By the way, let me mention that not all your court time has to be training. Even if you regularly did 20 minutes training and then 25 minutes playing, that would be great.
What Should You Do?
As I've mentioned, you need to do more than just "play" squash. Performing drills is the first thing to start with. Something like boast and drive is a good drill and most people have done it, but of course there are a lot more you can do. Playing conditioned games is also a fantastic method of improving, and takes drills to the next level. The internet is full of videos about drills etc - start there. At some point early next year, I plan to create some training plans in the form of PDF posters and videos for this exact purpose.
You Need The "Right" Training Partner
tBut having the right training partner is also key. If you train with somebody too good, you risk struggling to return their shots. If you train with somebody way below your standard, you won't get much benefit. Doing either every now and again to help somebody out is fine, but is not the long term solution.
What's important is finding the "right" person, not just the fittest, fastest or best player. The right training partner is one who is a similar standard as you (not essential, but the difference shouldn't be too great), has the same sort of availability as you, and similar commitment. That last one is important. Nobody wants a training partner who keeps cancelling training sessions!
How Do You Find A Training Partner?
- Ask around at your local club or facility, maybe even put a sign up if the club has a notice board. Tell people you want to go on court and do drills and conditioned games - not just play squash.
- Ask a coach. He or she may know other people looking to training in a purposeful way and could connect you.
- Go to a club night/morning, even in other facilities. It's a great way to meet new people who might be looking to find a training partner.
- Apps. I'll be honest, I really don't know if this is available. To be clear, I'm not talking about "dating Apps", but squash apps that help you find clubs etc.
- Join a team. Teams often have training sessions, sometimes run by a coach and while that is not the same as a long term training partner, it at least gets you doing the training, and who knows, you might find a partner there!
Regular, purposeful and hard training is the only way you will reach your potential. Even if you paid a professional squash player to play against you once a week, training would still be a good thing to do. Think of it like this: even the pros don't just "play". Start looking for a training partner today!