Squash Tip of the Week: Create Positive Cue Words

I love playing around with words and creating motivational phrases that help motivate people to excel. One way to use these phrases while playing is to repeat a word for every bounce of the ball prior to serving. For example, I like to bounce the ball three times prior to my serve; on each bounce I repeat (in my mind) grip, breathing, ball. With “grip” I focus on having a good grip for my serve — if I have a good grip I usually hit a good serve. With “breathing” I check out how my breathing is — if it is really laboured I take an extra few seconds to recover (maybe bouncing the ball three more times), then I am ready. Finally, with “ball” I get a heightened focus on where I am going to serve the ball — I like to pick out a spot on the side wall, or on my opponents body. Now I’m ready to serve!

On return of serve you may want to use the words “4 corners”, which will help to get your mind thinking about returning the serve to one of the four corners. If the serve comes toward your body a cross court is a more natural shot than down the wall. However, if the ball is wider for the side wall then a wall shot is a more consistent choice. Also, depending on the height of the serve received you can choose short or long — that is if the ball is not served too high, then a short shot may be easier; and if the ball is served higher, then a length shot may be easier. Try not to select your corner until you see where the ball is served.

Depending on whether you are in the “zone” or not, you may want to change up your Positive Cue Words. If you have the game going your way, or you are in the flow, you should stick with the same cue words. However, if things are not working out you have a choice to persevere with the same cue words, or you may come up with some new ones. I suggest you only choose new positive cue words if they suddenly pop into your mind — you want things to occur naturally when playing without much effort of thought. Other examples are:

•Feel Strong!
•Want It!
•Stay Focused!
•Good Defense!

Make up some of your own positive cue words, or use the suggestions above and take your mental attitude and game to the next level. Next time we will discuss the final result of your applied practice of the first three success secrets — good habits result in….

Until then, keep up the good practice and have more FUN!

— Giff