The title maybe a little too strong when it comes to playing a game of squash, however, in pre-industrial Japan to not fear death was one of the most important parts about being a Samurai. You’re probably already thinking what the hell have Samurai’s and not fearing death got to do with squash. Well I think there is quite a lot really so please read on and find out.
Psychological warfare is an incredible topic with a vast number of books written about it spanning many centuries. Everything happens first in the mind before anywhere else, so for me, this is the most important topic if you want to play great squash.
I know squash is a sport but it is so much more than that. Squash is a fight… a war… a battle… whatever you want to call it. It is one-to-one combat very similar to boxing but without the cuts and bruises.
Samurai’s were well-trained and highly skilled Japanese warriors. Their weapon was a curved sword called the Katana. They followed a code of honour called Bushido which translates to “the way of the warrior”. The discipline of intense meditation was used as a major part of the Samurai’s training, to clear the mind of distractions and ultimately conquer the fear of death. This would enable them to fight naturally… to flow effortlessly in combat.
How can this be related to squash? Ok, when you “die” on a squash court you’ve lost the “fight” but you don’t really die although you may feel like you have. What you’ve done is lost a game of squash. So the point I’m trying to make is to not fear losing. That doesn’t mean being reckless, it means being totally focused and not being afraid of going for a shot when it’s there to be hit. When you fear losing you can shy away from being positive and executing those all important shots.
“Fortune favours the brave” so release those fears about losing and free your mind from the negative poison so you can flow effortlessly with confidence in the squash player’s gladiatorial arena.