My 2017-2018 squash season has officially commenced!
Held in mid-September, the Nash Cup is usually one of the first tournaments of the fall, and is always one that the pros look forward to. Not only is there great competition (both 15k purses for men and women), the members are extremely excited and involved.
Pre-Tournament Prep in Windsor
A few days before the tournament, I flew up to Windsor, Ontario, to train with the Canadian women’s national coach, Graeme. About a month ago, he held an optional training camp, which proved to be one of the best training stints I’ve participated in in a while. Five full days of ~4-6 hours of on court training a day with top players- it doesn’t get much more motivating or intense than that! At the end of the camp, Graeme invited us to come up to hit and sharpen up prior to the Nash Cup, and I decided to take him up on his offer.
I ended up being the only one in Windsor for the pre-tournament prep, but that didn’t mean that there was a lack of squash! In between or after training sessions, I hit with some members, and also helped coach clinics and lessons. During my sessions with Graeme, we focused mostly on deep shots (drives and some cross courts), and taking the ball early.
A big thank you to the Windsor squash club, my host family (Moceris!), and Graeme for being so welcoming and supportive.
Match vs Millie
I knew roughly a month prior to the tournament that I would be pitted against the #1 seed, and world ranked #22, Millie Tomlinson. I had only played the Englishwoman once before, in Chicago this past spring. Although the game scores were respectable, Millie won that encounter in a reasonably decisive 3 games.
Drawing upon that experience and my current game, I began to formulate an idea of how the upcoming match might play out. Millie has a very consistent game, and prefers to hit most of her shots to the back with pace. She is very quick and reads the game well, so short shots can seem ineffective against her when played poorly or at the wrong time.
I went into the match half-expecting to be stuck behind Millie for the majority of the rallies, but surprised myself by stepping up on the T, and volleying. As my coach, John would say, I was going “toe to toe with her in the back court”. Compared to many of the higher ranked players, I have usually found my length game to be less consistent and less accurate, so this was a welcomed surprise.
Unfortunately, I found that although I was creating opportunities from the back, I reverted to “amateur squash”, when trying to attack and finish a rally.
In terms of attacking, I think I went wrong in 2 ways:
- I went short often at the wrong time, when I wasn’t quite in position
- I got nervous and doubted myself when it was time to play an attacking shot
Although I lost 3-0, I wasn’t overly disappointed with the match, as it pointed out several things that I need to work on, and also gave me the opportunity to test myself against a top player.
I’ve got a couple of weeks now until my next tournament, Carol Weyemuller, which is here in Brooklyn, NY! Time to train up on and off court, and see if I can play better in this tournament.