So this article is a push, a challenge and a reminder that unless you actively go looking for new players to play against, the chances are you won’t encounter them.
This is about getting out of your comfort zone – that feeling that everything is okay. No stress, no worries, no hassle. You arrive at your club or sports centre, at the usual day and time, to see the same old faces. They are probably lovely people; friendly, competitive, fun, but that’s not enough to improve your squash.
Have you have heard anybody ever say “I’ve really improved my squash this month because I’ve played the same fun people I always have”? No, and you never will, at least not beyond beginner level.
So I am asking you to actively look for somebody new to play at least once. In fact, depending on your location and the popularity of squash in your area, you could even set the challenge of one new player a month!
And “how the heck do I do that?” you rightly ask. Well, visit other club’s club nights and say you are thinking of joining. Lots of clubs have open days/evenings where you can go along and see if you like the club. Does your club do that? If not, why not. Suggest it to those in charge. Could be a great way to get new people to come to you!
Another great way is to visit, or better yet, play in tournaments. Take that step of entering ones a little further away than you generally play. if you are still very unsure, try visiting a tournament first to get a feel for the atmosphere. Squash players are generally very friendly and introducing yourself to a few can easily mean you meet a lot of potential new opponents.
If you club has teams that plays against other clubs in an intra-area competition, that’s a perfect way to meet players of your own standard who enjoy competitive matches. I know it’s not always easy to get into the team, but that could provide another goals for your motivation.
But Wait Phillip, I Hate Playing Competitive Matches!
Okay, that’s fine. I don’t want or expect every squash player to be ultra competitive. Playing against the same friends regularly *is* fun, and squash should be fun. But there are people out there like you who would also like to play new people even just for fun.
My point is that you can’t expect them to just walk into your club. You have to go out and find them. In fact, you have to be the person to walk into somebody else’s club and say “hello”. I’m looking for a game”.
Yes, it’s scary. Yes, if you are shy, it’s like asking you to climb Mount Everest, but the end result of playing new players is so rewarding that I encourage you to try. Make it a clear goal of playing somebody new within the next 30 days.
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