Squash Agility In Season Training Physical Education Essay

Introduction

Squash is a sport which is played by 2 individuals and sometimes played in doubles. The game is played in a 4 walled court sometimes made of glass, and uses a hollow rubber ball, which can be changed depending on the skill level of the player and the colour dot used/ ball type. Squash is a high intensity fitness sport and is not for the faint hearted, this sport places high demands on the energy systems of the body namely the aerobic and anaerobic systems. As squash is a sport which involves the movement of the entire body it is import to condition the body in order to produce the best results. Squash not only relies on the energy systems, but the players ability to reach any part of the court at any given time to play the ball, then get back to the “T” which is the most dominant position on the court, this is because from the “T” to any position on the court is shortest distance covered and thus you would have the upper hand against your opponent. Other demands are also placed on the players such as the ability to change direction quickly while maintaining dynamic balance; this is otherwise known as agility. Agility is very import in squash, in fact without it squash would be next to impossible, the more agile an individual the more likely them being able to retrieve a ball anywhere on the court at any given time.

In order to be a successful squash player you need to have a varied training program, variety is the best way in order to improve as the body is placed under stress continually and never gets time to adapt. Us as humans have the ability to adapt quickly thus the muscles and training methods need to follow this trend, sticking to the same training trend will lead to a plateau and will decrease training performance as well as match performance, as said earlier.

Agility is an important part of squash and in this assignment I plan to approach it in a way in which an in season training program will produce the best results for a squash player, finding the right balance between all the aspects that make up the game is key. Agility is made up of four main components and they are balance; the ability of the squash player to maintain balance while moving in any direction; speed, the ability of the squash player to move any part of their body at any given time quickly; strength, the ability of the muscles or the muscle groups to overcome the resistance applied to them and finally co-ordination, the ability to control the movement of the body in co-operation with the body’s sensory functions, an example of this would be using the racket to hit the ball while running in a sideways direction.

All of these four aspects can be improved by developing weekly training programs which incorporate drills that are effective and efficient enough to produce the required results depending on the season training which in the case of this assignment is an “In” season agility training approach.

Chapter 2:
Physiology
Energy Systems

During physical fitness training for squash we train and recruit the two energy systems because squash is considered as a whole body activity, squash is a sport that demands a high levels of aerobic fitness as well anaerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance can be sub-divided as follows:

Short anaerobic – less than 25 seconds (mainly alactic)

Medium anaerobic – 25 seconds to 60 seconds (mainly lactic)

Long anaerobic – 60 seconds to 120 seconds (lactic +aerobic)

These energy systems are crucial in the athletes ability to perform during high intensity matches, as well as weekly training program developed to improve overall fitness. During exercise the energy for muscular contractions is provided by these energy systems, which are the Aerobic and Anaerobic systems.

Aerobic Energy System

The term “aerobic” means in the presence or with oxygen, how it works is that the aerobic energy systems uses oxygen to produce energy, from the metabolic breakdown of fats as well as carbohydrates.

The aerobic energy system is located in the mitochondria of the cell muscle fibre itself. These mitochondria are cellular energy factories if to say that are designed to make metabolism more effective and efficient and thus in turn synthesize or breakdown carbohydrates and fats as stated before to produce energy in the form of ATP. Energy cannot be created or destroyed but merely transformed from one form to another, thus the energy from the oxygen present is used to transform carbohydrates and fats into ATP.

ATP or otherwise known as Adenosine Triphosphate is a nucleotide which is derived from adenosine that occurs in muscle tissue. ATP is the major source of energy for cellular reactions, and is thus a very important compound in terms of human survival. During the metabolic breakdown of carbohydrates and fats in the presence of oxygen in the aerobic system, the process yields 36 units of ATP which is said to be very efficient; this process is known as the Krebs Cycle.

During training for squash or during squash matches the aerobic energy pathways utilize energy sources to provide the ATP required for specific muscle groups to contract effectively over long periods of time. These energy pathways are more efficient than the anaerobic pathways, as they get more energy from each molecule of glucose that is synthesized. In aerobic energy system , endurance trained muscle contains more intramuscular fat and highly trained endurance muscles are better suited to use fat as an energy source during exercise. Although this is only true to an extent, due to the fact that fat requires large amounts of oxygen for it to be synthesized efficiently, during high intensity exercise oxygen becomes limited and the burning of this fat is not viable, so the body has to look for other forms of energy to keep producing the muscular contractions required to perform the exercise.

Fibre type

In the aerobic energy system there are fibres in the muscle which are specific to this system and these fibres are known as slow twitch fibres. These slow twitch fibres generate energy for ATP re-synthesis by means of a long term system of aerobic energy transfer. They tend to have a low activity level of ATPase, a slower speed of contraction with a less well developed glycolytic capacity. They contain large and numerous mitochondria and with the high levels of myoglobin that gives them a red pigmentation. They have been demonstrated to have high concentration of mitochondrial enzymes, thus they are fatigue resistant. In the aerobic energy system you have two types of main fibres and they are:

Type I
Red fibres

Slow oxidative fibres (also called slow twitch or fatigue resistant fibres).

These fibres allow squash players to partake in long intense games which can last for over an hour, thus providing aerobic endurance to these players.

Their production is utilized after about 90 seconds of any given activity, thus after the anaerobic energy systems resources have been fully utilized

These fibres Contain:

Large amounts of myoglobin present.

Many mitochondria.

Many blood capillaries.

Generate ATP by the aerobic system, hence the term oxidative fibres.

Split ATP at a slow rate.

Slow contraction velocity.

Resistant to fatigue.

Found in large numbers in postural muscles.

Needed for aerobic activities, or long rallies in a squash match which can last a few minutes over the time that the anaerobic system can provide energy for(90 seconds or longer), thus revealing why these fibres are known for endurance.

Type II a
Red fibres

Fast oxidative (also called fast twitch A or semi fatigue resistant fibres).

These fibres Contain:

Large amounts of Myoglobin.

Many mitochondria.

Many blood capillaries.

A High capacity for generating ATP by oxidation. Split ATP at a very rapid rate and, hence, high contraction velocity.

Resistant to fatigue but not as much as slow oxidative fibres.

Needed for the transition between the anaerobic phase and aerobic phase, utilized between 25 and 89 seconds (so after the type II B fibres are fatigued, and before the type I fibres become utilized)

Anaerobic Energy System

The anaerobic system derives its energy from the breakdown of carbohydrates without the need of oxygen (or due to the lack of oxygen present in the metabolic pathways) to synthesize the reactions taking place hence the term “anaerobic” meaning no oxygen present or lack of it. The anaerobic system provides an athlete with the energy we require at the start of an exercise with the initial increase in pace for example. This energy source however is not sufficient enough to last for long periods of time through the exercise and soon as this initial energy is expended the aerobic energy system takes over as the primary ATP provider for the sport specific muscular contractions.

The anaerobic system is limited and very inefficient; thus it is said to waste vast amounts of expended energy in the process. This system relies on the breakdown of stored compounds in order to produce the energy required upon request. These energy compounds are very high in energy and are often in limited supply in the human body, thus explaining as to why anaerobic effort is very intense and can only be sustained for brief periods at any given time. The energy system also makes use of stored glycogen in the muscle, this glycogen when synthesized only produces a small amount of ATP, one of the down sides of this is the metabolic waste product called lactic acid, this process of the breakdown of glycogen to lactic acid is known as anaerobic glycolysis and is one of the two ways of deriving energy in this type of system the other form of attaining this energy is known as short term energy supply in which ATP stores are briefly broken down.

In the short term energy supply ATP is split into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) releasing the energy required for muscle contraction this way or means of attaining energy is very brief and once this supply is drained the body resorts to anaerobic glycolysis.

Anaerobic glycolysis is a term which is used for the nonoxidative breakdown of glycogen found in the muscles. Glycogen is a clump if to say of stored glucose molecules located in the muscles themselves.

This form of attaining energy for muscular contraction on tap comes at a cost, as stated earlier on; it is very inefficient and wastes energy, for every glucose molecule broken down this process only yields 3 units of ATP and as a result gives lactic acid off as a by product as stated earlier .

Fibre type

A fast twitch fibre is one in which the myosin can split ATP very quickly and is associated with the anaerobic energy system.

Fast twitch fibres also demonstrate a higher capability for electrochemical transmission of action potentials and a rapid level of calcium release and uptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The fast twitch fibres rely on a well developed, short term, glycolytic system for energy transfer and can contract and develop tension at 2-3 times the rate of slow twitch fibres.

Type II b
White

Fast glycolytic (also called fast twitch B or easy fatigable fibres).

These fibres Contain:

Low myoglobin content.

Few mitochondria.

Few blood capillaries.

Large amount of glycogen.

Split ATP very quickly.

Fatigue easily.

Needed for squash in short sprints to different parts of the court, and explosiveness, Type 2B fibres are utilized from 0 to 24 seconds, but this time is also dependant on the intensity of the sprint (i.e. if the intensity increases the time will decrease).

Lactic acid

Lactic acid is produced during anaerobic effort, mainly from a process mentioned earlier called anaerobic glycolysis, or when the oxygen supply is limited on demand. Lactic acid accumulates in the muscle and affects the ability of that muscle to perform at its full potential thus fatiguing it if to say. Lactic acid changes the ph in the muscle fibre itself, therefore reducing the overall enzyme activity and ATP production in the aerobic pathways spoken about earlier. Lactic acid is also said to reduce the contractile force of each individual muscle fibre. After exercise this lactic acid accumulation disappears quickly, as the body has its systems which remove this by product, if one were to engage in an active recovery it would also increase the removal time of lactic acid in the muscles.

By squash players training their aerobic system more efficiently it helps to preserve the anaerobic system. It also reduces the recovery time of the anaerobic pathways and removal of lactic acid and its conversion back into pyruvate molecules, which could then be utilized by the aerobic pathways.

Lactate

Lactate simply put is a salt formed from lactic acid, this occurs when the acid rapidly loses it hydrogen ions and these ions combine with sodium and even sometimes potassium to form a compound known as lactate.

Lactate threshold

Lactate threshold is known to represent a transition zone that involves increasing dependence on anaerobic energy pathways. Lactate threshold basically defines ones body’s ability to clear lactic acid from the muscle as well as blood more rapidly and the transition zone that involves increasing lactate production resulting from the overall recruitment of fast – glycolytic muscle fibres.

Sharkey, Gaskill (2006)

Chapter 3:
Training Program

This assignment aims at producing an effective and efficient 4 week agility In-season training program. The term “In-Season” refers to the peak performance period, during this period training for squash with regards to all the fitness components continues with a high intensity to maintain all the aspects as spoken earlier that squash players require, such as the four components of agility, but there is an overall reduction in total training volume so that players do not fatigue and can be at the peak level of performance for when they really need it which is during match time.

Agility Drills
Lateral Change of Direction
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Three cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

Place the first cone on the half court line, place the second to the right close to the wall and the other close to the wall on the left hand side (The top of the “T” on the squash court) as seen in the diagram below:

The squash player starts at the middle cone (where the vertical line meets the horizontal line forming the “T”)

The Coach gives the signal to start and points in a specific direction, right or left

The player moves to and touches the first cone, returns past the middle cone (start) to the far cone and touches that one and then returns to the middle cone, touching that one.

The coach starts the stopwatch on giving the ‘Go’ command and stops the watch when the athlete touches the middle cone. The better of the two trails in each starting direction, right and left, are recorded and the best score in each direction is used for scoring.

T-Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Four cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

Set out four cones as illustrated in the diagram above (With B being the cone at the centre of the T on the court). The subject starts at cone A. On the command of the timer, the subject sprints to cone B and touches the base of the cone with their right hand. They then turn left and shuffle sideways to cone C, and also touches its base, this time with their left hand. Then shuffling sideways to the right to cone D and touching the base with the right hand. They then shuffle back to cone B touching with the left hand, and run backwards to cone A. The stopwatch is stopped as they pass cone A.

Illinois Agility Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Eight cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

Set the squash court up as shown in the above picture. The length of the course is 10 meters and the width (distance between the start and finish points) is 5 meters. Four cones are used to mark the start, finish and the two turning points. Another four cones are placed down the centre an equal distance apart. Each cone in the centre is spaced 3.3 meters apart. Subjects should lie on their front (head to the start line) and hands by their shoulders. On the ‘Go’ command the stopwatch is started, and the athlete gets up as quickly as possible and runs around the course in the direction indicated, without knocking the cones over, to the finish line, at which the timing is stopped.

Box Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Four cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

Four marker cones are placed 10 yards apart in a square configuration (see diagram above). The player starts by getting down in a three-point stance next to Cone 1. On the command ‘Go’, he sprints to cone 2, and then shuffles sideways to cone 3. From there you back-pedal to cone 4 and finish by turning and sprinting through and finishing at cone 1. The athlete must go around the outside of each cone.

Agility Compass Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Five cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

The cones are laid out as per the diagram (on the squash court), with four marker cones placed in a diamond shape, and one in the middle (placed on the centre of the “T”). The outer cones are each placed 3 meters from the centre. The player crouches behind and with their left hand on the middle cone, facing forwards (towards cone 5). The player then turns and runs to the right and touches the cone (2) with their hand. They then turn back and run to the centre cone, out to the next cone (3), back to the centre, out to the next cone (4), back to the centre and then finally turn and finish by running through the finish line at cone 5. The player is required to touch the cone with their hand at each turn. Timing starts when the hand comes off the centre cone, and stops when the chest passes through the line of the final cone. Rest for three minutes, then repeat the drill, moving in the opposite direction (counter clockwise, cones in order 1-4-3-2-5)

Zig Zag Agility Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Five cones

Stop watch

Assistant

4

3

2

1

C

How to conduct the drill:

Place one cone at the centre of the T of the court , then place one cone in each corner of the court allowing enough space for the player to run around it (See above diagram).This drill requires the player to run a course in the shortest possible time. A standard Zig Zag course is with four cones placed on the corners of a rectangle formed by the court, with one more cone placed in the centre. If the cones are labelled 1(start/finish cone) to 4 around the rectangle going along the longer side first, and the centre cone is C, the test begins at 1, then to C, 2, 3, C, 4, then back to 1.

Court Sprints Agility Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Four cones

Stop watch

Assistant

C

B

A

Starting /finished Position

How to conduct the drill:

Place the starting cone at the middle of the T on the court; place another cone directly in front of it by the tin board (Cone A in the diagram above), place another cone (Cone B in diagram) in the corner of the left hand service area, place the final cone (Cone C in the diagram) at the back wall of the court. The player must start at the starting position, as seen on the diagram, upon the word go the stopwatch is started, the player sprints to the wall, upon reaching cone the player remains facing in the forward direction for the entire drill, and then back tracks to the starting position, player then sprints to cone A, back tracks to cone B, sprints to cone A, back tracks to cone c, the sprints to the finishing/Starting position again. This drill must be completed in the fastest time possible with maximal intensity.

Figure 8 sprinting Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Five cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

This agility drill involves very short bursts of speed followed by sudden changes in direction and is one of the best in simulating the movements on a squash court. From the start position, the athlete will sprint to the centre cone (which is placed on the centre of the T), go around it and then sprint to cone 2 (placed near to the right wall of the court). This is repeated for all 4 cones rounding the centre cone after each outside cone until the player returns to the starting position (See above Diagram).

6 Point Agility Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Six cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

They key with this drill is that is involves multiple directional changes.

Sprint to cone 1 and return

Sprint to cone 2 and return

Sprint to cone 3

Side-step from cone 3 to cone 4

Side-step from cone 4 to cone 5

Side-step from cone 5 to cone 3

Back peddle from cone 3 back to the starting position

Double T-Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Seven cones

Stop watch

Assistant

How to conduct the drill:

Place one cone on the T, this is your centre cone, place one cone to the far right close to the wall in line with the cone on the T, do this on the other side as well. Now place another cone toward the back wall in line with the middle cone. Now place a second row of cones in line with those at the top of the T towards the front wall giving the player enough space to move. (See Above Diagram)

This drill is similar to the T drill, there is just another row of cones, the drill is conducted in the same way as the T drill, just adding on an extra row once the player has completed the extra row they must back pedal all the way to the start/finish (Black arrows, then blue arrows, then finally the red arrows)

Star Drill
Requirements:

Flat surface of the squash court

Seven cones

Stop watch

Assistant

G

C

F

D

E

B

A

How to conduct the drill:

Set court up as shown in the following diagram above. Player starts at A then runs to B, plays a shot, then back tracks back to the T point A on the diagram. Player then runs to point C, plays a shot then back tracks back to A again; however for cones F and G it’s a sprint there and shot played then side step back to the T. Player completes drill in cone order, upon reaching cone D player side steps, plays a shot, then side steps back to point A again, same applies for cone E. This exercise is done as quickly as possible.

4 Week In-Season Agility Program

Before each daily Agility training session be sure to engage in a Squash specific dynamic warm up exercises, and upon completing the daily program be sure to engage in a cool down, including static stretches to conserve and increase muscle flexibility.

For every agility drill, start in the ready position: feet shoulder-width apart; ankles, knees, and hips flexed in a quarter-squat position; head and shoulders slightly forward with hips and ankles in a straight line. Keep knees and hips flexed and your centre of gravity over the feet. The body cannot move quickly when it is standing straight up. From this position, you are ready to move in any direction and can hold this position if bumped from any angle. This ready position is the most efficient position for moving and reacting.

For each training session, please refer to section of Agility Drills, to attain the layout of the drill as well as drill description and execution.

Week 1
Day: 1
Agility Drill:

Lateral Change of direction

Variation:

Place rubber band from one ankle to the other, to encourage side stepping movement

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

2 minutes non stop

Rest Time:

1 minute 30 seconds

Repeat:

2 times (Total drill count = 3)

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

T-Drill

Variation:

Timed T drill, player has 1 minute to complete as many “T”‘s as possible, 1 T is counted when player returns to cone A(starting position)

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

1 minute

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

Star Drill

Variation:

(playing a shot while working on agility) as player reaches cone they play a shot before returning back to cone A at the T

Intensity:

90% HR Max

Time:

As fast as possible

Repeat:

3 Times

Rest period:

90 seconds between drills

Day: 2
Agility Drill:

Illinois Agility Drill

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Rest Time:

30 seconds between drills

Repeat:

3 times

Rest for 1 minute

Agility Drill:

Box Drill

Variation:

Timed minute, continue drill till time is up

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

1 minute (Timed)

Repeat:

3 Times

Rest period:

45 seconds between drills

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

Double T-Drill

Variation:

(playing a shot while working on agility) as player reaches cone they play a shot while completing the drill

Intensity:

70% HR Max

Time:

As fast as possible, with respect to intensity

Repeat:

3 times

Rest period:

30 seconds between drills

Week 2
Day: 1
Agility Drill:

Court sprints

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Rest Time:

1 minute

Repeat:

3 times

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

6 Point Agility Drill

Variation:

Play a shot upon reaching each cone

Intensity:

High intensity (80% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Repeat:

3 Times

Rest time:

30 seconds

Day: 2
Agility Drill:

Agility Compass Drill

Variation:

Play a shot upon reaching each cone

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Rest Time:

45 seconds between drills

Repeat:

3 times

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

Zig Zag Drill

Variation:

Run as far as you can in 1 minute

Intensity:

High intensity (80% HR Max)

Time:

1 minute (Timed)

Repeat:

2 Times

Rest period:

1 minute 30 seconds between drills

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

Figure 8 Sprinting Drill

Intensity:

90% HR Max

Time:

As fast as possible

Repeat:

3 times

Rest period:

1 minute between drills

Week 3
Day: 1
Agility Drill:

Lateral Change of direction

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

1 minute non stop

Rest Time:

30 seconds

Repeat:

2 times (Total drill count = 3)

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

T-Drill

Variation:

Timed T drill, player has 1 minute 30 seconds to complete as many “T”‘s as possible, 1 T is counted when player returns to cone A(starting position)

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

1 minute 30 seconds

Rest for 2 minutes

Star Drill:
Variation:

(playing a shot while working on agility) as player reaches cone they play a shot before returning back to cone A at the T

Intensity:

90% HR Max

Time:

As fast as possible

Repeat:

3 Times

Rest period:

90 seconds between drills

Day: 2
Agility Drill:

Illinois Agility Drill

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Rest Time:

30 seconds between drills

Repeat:

3 times

Rest for 1 minute

Agility Drill:

Box Drill

Variation:

Timed minute, continue drill till time is up

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

1 minute 30 seconds (Timed)

Repeat:

3 Times

Rest period:

45 seconds between drills

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

Double T-Drill

Variation:

(playing a shot while working on agility) as player reaches cone they play a shot while completing the drill

Intensity:

90% HR Max

Time:

As fast as possible

Repeat:

3 times

Rest period:

30 seconds between drills

Week 4
Day: 1
Agility Drill:

Court sprints

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Rest Time:

1 minute 30 seconds

Repeat:

4 times

Rest for 2 minutes

Agility Drill:

6 Point Agility Drill

Variation:

Play a shot upon reaching each cone

Intensity:

High intensity (90% HR Max)

Time:

Fast as possible

Repeat:

4 Times

Rest time:

30 seconds

Day: 2
Agility Drill:

Agility Compass Drill

Variation:

Play a shot upon reaching each cone

Intensity:

High intensity (65% HR Max)

Time: