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I started playing squash when I was around 5 years old at my local club, which was Four Oaks Club in Sutton Coldfield. My dad played at the club so he took me along to the junior coaching. I started playing tennis at the same age and continued playing both as I got older. We moved to Kenilworth when I was 8 and I carried on playing there and eventually began playing tournaments around the age of 11.
My main motivation to play is to prove other people, and often my own body and mind, wrong.
For me, playing squash is a way to express myself without the use of words. I enjoy the problem solving element of the game. Neither the mental or physical side can be used solely to win long term, so I enjoy trying to improve on both whilst finding the best combination of the two for the way I love to play squash.
It is impossible to consistently challenge for the top tournaments without having a strong mentality and being in very good physical shape. Being in good physical shape gives me a lot of confidence which helps the mental side, but being in a good mental state also allows me to be relaxed and get the best out of my body, with recovery often being a lot quicker as well.
My major highlights and achievements so far include being the World Team Champion with England in 2014, Black Ball Open Champion in December 2020, winning the Commonwealth Games Silver Medal in 2018, and twice being British Champion. My ultimate goal is to become world number 1!
Playing in the Tournament of Champions is extremely special to me. Between the iconic location and the sheer number of commuters walking past who stop to watch, the atmosphere is electric!
My role model is Serena Williams. She is a strong woman in every sense of the word who has built her game around her strengths and continues to play at the top of the game despite many challenges along the way. She is also unafraid to stand up for what she believes in and has been an advocate for women throughout her life.
My daily routine starts with breakfast of usually overnight oats, then coffee. Then I either do a one on one session with my coach (Rob Owen), or a pairs session of drills, condition games and match play. I head home for lunch consisting of something like a chicken wrap, rest for an hour and do some admin, and then either a bike or strength session set by my S&C coach (Rob Norman). Later for dinner I’ll have something like salmon, rice and broccoli, and after that either a prehab circuit or rest.
To keep a sense of normality when I’m travelling, I keep in touch with my team (coach, S&C, sports psych, nutritionist) as well as calls with friends and family. I also make sure I have familiar things to do such as watching tv shows or puzzle books, etc. In terms of hobbies, I love cooking and spend a lot of time both in the kitchen as well as outside, cooking on the BBQ or in the wood fired pizza oven.
Aside from squash, I love watching a lot of sports but my favourites are tennis and football, I’ve been a Liverpool fan since I was born! I can’t wait to play (field) hockey again when I eventually stop playing squash.
My best tip is to build your games around your strengths, not someone else’s!
My favourite quote is, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou.
I believe that we cannot do more than our ‘best’, so it’s important to strive to learn more and then change for the better accordingly; the main element of having a ‘growth mindset’
For me, my greatest challenge is my own limits holding me back. Overcoming these is a daily habit built over years of choosing not to settle for average or good, and to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and capabilities. In life, I believe you have to be proactive and find ways to do things rather than settle for how things are now
All players will have a few matches they can recall where they were on ‘automatic pilot’ and they were seeing the ball like a football! These are the days you really train for, where everything clicks, you choose the right shot in every situation and everything goes exactly where you’re aiming! They don’t happen very often though but are amazing when they do.
To pick myself up if I have a bad match or practice session, I recognise that I can’t play my best every match to start with. I analyse what I did well, what I could have done better and then come up with a plan of action of what I WILL do next time.
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