About 10 years ago at Princeton Summer Squash Camp – back in the days when it was the USSRA Junior Training Center – we had a recurring problem with “sudden-onset” overuse injuries such as ankle sprain, “tennis” elbow, rotator cuff, hamsting pull, lower back, etc. with our junior campers aged 10-18. The problem of course, was that these young players had not been near a squash court for months – and now were on court for three hours in the morning and two to three hours in the afternon! Fatigue was exposing weaknesses in their physical preparation and causing both acute injuries and chronic injuries.
As the resident mental training consultant I was assigned the task of keeping these injured athletes busy as up until my arrival they had been consigned to “watching from the stands”. Here is the checklist (can be done in any order) we developed to keep them working hard on improving their squash:
- Upper body strength workout for lower body injury.
- Lower body strength workout for upper body injury.
- Referee a match.
- Watch a pro match on video.
- Read Porter & Foster’s (1986) chapter on “Mental Training for the Injured Athlete”.
- Listen to a relaxation tape.
- Hit solo in a stationary position.
- Do a bike interval workout (for upper limb injury).
- Read a squash book.
- Watch a squash instructional video.
- Realistic ghosting (for upper limb injury).
- Hit volleys from a chair on court (if spare kid available).
- Play left-handed (for tennis elbow) “down the ladder”.
The key is to have the list of activities, with back-up materials and instructions ready before injury strikes!
Download an example checklist here: injury-practice-checklist.pdf