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Best of 3: Effortless Performance vs Effortful Practice, Finding Meaning in Challenges

Originally sent to email list December 14th 2023. Sign up to receive these emails directly to your inbox here.


Happy Best of 3 Thursday!


Welcome to the squash-focused newsletter which brings you truths, ideas, and tips to help you improve your physicality and mentality as a squash player.


Every week I share 3 tips (usually 1 fitness, 1 mindset, and 1 tactical/technical), but sometimes I deviate slightly and share more of what's been on my mind this week.


Mindset Tip: Effortless Performance vs Effortful Practice


Ever see someone perform a difficult task easily and think to yourself "they're a natural", or "they're so lucky they can do that".

It's worth considering that the journey to this seemingly "effortless" performance is likely a result of very effortful, messy, and consistent practice. (Also, it might look easy, but in reality is very challenging!).

This goes for squash movement, mobility & flexibility, running, weightlifting, public speaking... you name it. Don't underestimate how much work someone has put in over the years to make that difficult task look effortless.


Mindset Tip: Finding Meaning in Challenges


There are always necessary tasks that we find unenjoyable. Some of them (like doing the dishes) are simply mundane, while others can be painful (going through a hard workout).

The way I get through hard workouts is by finding the meaning and the satisfaction in having completed it. I don't overthink "why am I doing this" in the session or beat myself up over how I'm feeling.

However, by contrast, sometimes I do this in a match when I feel uncomfortable (physically or mentally). I start to give the situation too much meaning, which sends too many unproductive thoughts through my brain.

Here's my new take on it:

Competition won't always be fun. It will be stressful sometimes. But you will be proud of yourself afterwards if you push through it.

Try to detach yourself from the outcome and switch the metric.


Fitness Tip: 40 min Conditioning Intervals


Last week, I hurt my neck getting out of bed (so random), and it hasn't been quite right since. It's improved daily, but I've struggled to play at full speed. Therefore, to get that top-end conditioning work in, I've found some alternatives- like ghosting, and this simple but deadly conditioning workout.


RINSE AND REPEAT INTERVALS (40-50 mins total)

Versa Climber: 10 sets of 30s on/30s off

2-3 min rest

Treadmill: 10 sets of 30s on/30s off

2-3 min rest

Assault Bike: 10 sets of 30s on/30s off

2-3 min rest

Treadmill: 10 sets of 30s on/30s off

As you can see, this session is simple but when done at a proper intensity (HR above 80% of max entire time), it's very worthwhile. Feel free to change up the modalities and mix in ghosting, rower, or whatever other cardio you have access to.

Pro tip: wear a heart rate monitor so you can keep track of your effort levels! If you notice your heart rate dropping throughout the session, it likely means that you are becoming very fatigued and unable to sustain the high output. Just something to note as you repeat this session and get fitter over time. Ideally you want to be able to maintain & repeat a high work output throughout the session.



Until next time!

Nicole


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PS. Need some training guidance? Check out the Squashletic Training Membership - which gets you a brand new training template every month, past programs, and a whole library of workouts and training tips!


Note: The annual plan gets you 50% off, and access to premium programs like Lunge Like a Legend and Squash Mobility (not included in month-to-month subscription). Check it out here!

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