Monday, April 21, 2014

Moving Forward... or just moving

2013 turned out to be possibly the worst year of my life, with my mom getting sick and passing away. On top of that I suffered a very serious groin injury that has made it very difficult for me to move without pain. 2014 didn't start out very well either, with all kinds of stresses and my grandma also passing away. Don't worry, I'm coping and I know that I need to keep moving. Like the song says "Ain't nothing gonna break my stride, ain't no one gonna hold me down, oh no, I've got to keep on moving!"

Well, it's Easter and that means new beginnings. So...

I've been doing physio for my hip and back trying to get it strong again so that I can play squash, but it seems that every time I play, the pain gets worse and my mobility post match is deteriorating. Sure I've had some decent matches this year, but for the most part, the frustration of playing through pain makes it almost impossible to have any fun while on court. Training has become close to non-existent with the exception of Monday night lessons that I have to be coerced into going to and the odd hit around that puts me in a world of hurt.

Well, it's not like I had any kind of great epiphany on life, I'm just tired of feeling shitty. So I've spent the last few weeks doing research. I totally get that there is this new wave, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tole, self help, metaphysical secret that people have been preaching for years now. I think that positive thinking is definitely more beneficial to my well being than feeling depressed and wishing for things to be different. But I don't think that reading about it, or listening to special sound waves while I sleep is the answer for me. So the first thing I need to do is come up with a plan for how to become happy again, and yup, it starts with me.

So going forward, I need to set some goals. These goals are going to be specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time based. That's right, SMART goals! It sounds silly, but by setting these goals, I hope that I can keep track of my life and set myself on a path to becoming happier.

So in order to set goals, I need an objective. First, I want to be able to move without pain. So the research I've been doing is about movement. There are a handful of websites out there that attempting to revolutionize the way people think about fitness. It first caught my eye, when someone posted a video about this guy named Ido Portal. The guys seems super intense and hardcore, not someone that I think I could learn from. But his passionate quest to become a better mover really peaked my interest. It seems that he only does online consulting and only coaches people willing to pay to be verbally abused about being weak and lazy. I'm not sure of the background of the people making testaments to the Ido Portal method, but it seems that these people were already ninjas prior to Ido's tutelage. So I delved deeper into movement training.
I found websites called and and that's where I was somewhat inspired to start setting my goals to meet the objective of moving without pain, all of which have a deadline of May 31st, 2014.

My first goal to be able to sit comfortably in a squat position for 30 minutes.
My second goal is to be able to do 12 chin-ups in a row.
My third goal is to be able to hold a wall assisted handstand for 5 minutes.
My fourth goal is to be able to hold an unassisted handstand for 10 seconds.
My fifth goal is to be able to hold a back bridge for 1 minute.
My sixth goal is to be able to do 50 pushups in a row.
My seventh goal is to quit smoking cigarettes.
My eight goal is to be able to do a back hand spring.
My ninth goal is to play guitar for at least 15 minutes twice a day.
My tenth goal is to practice drawing for at least 3 hours a week.

So, I've put together a training schedule and I'm gonna keep a daily log in my little notebook, that I call the Secret book of secrets vol.8. I plan to track my progress to becoming pain free. I plan to update my goals at the end of May.

1st week - Daily schedule: (starting today)
Wake up workout-
5 cycles, finishing with one of the different lettered options:
2 minutes static squat followed by 10 deep squats
30 seconds hollow body plank
30 seconds of wall assisted L handstand
1 minute of wall assisted hand stand
30 seconds head bridge
10 burpees

A: 5 chin ups and 20 Cossack squats
B: 12 tricep dips and 10 push-ups
C: 20 single leg calf raises and 10 push-ups
D: 10 side deltoid lifts and 10 read deltoid pulls
E: Static Squat, full bridge and wall assisted handstand for as long as possible.

Stay tuned for progress reports.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The History of Eau Claire Men's Squash part 4...(I think)

After reading thru the previous posts, I realized that I neglected to mention what playing C level tournaments was like. So here it is, first off, I've only ever played in two D level tournaments, both of which I lost both my matches and that was it. After taking a few lessons and winning the geologist tourney in the C division, I thought that the C division is where I should be, regardless of having never won a D tourney, maybe I jumped the gun on this and looking back, I may have done it differently.
At that point in my squash development, I had the opinion that playing up was the best way to improve and really push myself to play my best. And it was in playing C tourney's that I met now teammate Paul Adamiak. Paul had played as a junior, was incredibly fast and fit. I remember playing him at the Winter Club in a C tourney and pushing myself so hard that I could barely breathe (not much has changed playing Paul). Although Paul played from a very young age, he had commitments to his gymnastics and was still looking to refine his squash tecnique. I don't remember the score of the match, but I'm sure that I lost. But it was a glimpse into my future and it motivated me to really take squash seriously. At that same tournament, I watched Brad Steiner play on the show court against a young Dave Letourneau and couldn't believe what I was watching. This old guy played shots I had never seen before. Brad was a wizard with the racket, moving the ball from corner to corner, boasting off side walls, rolling out of nicks, he hit hard or he hit the ball so slow and high it looked like the ball would never come down. It was incredible, and within minutes of him coming off court, I was walking with him to the locker room, picking his brain. Brad said he saw some of my match and I could tell he was just trying to be polite, but said "you're a good athelete and if you keep practicing, you'll be playing with the big boys." or something funny like that. Brad is someone that I've always held in high regard, as a player and a person. There are few people in the world of squash who are as nice on court as they are off court as Brad Steiner and although I'm not there, I think everyone should be like Brad.
The transition from C to B was quick after meeting Kevin Doucet. Learning to hit the ball to length consistently is the biggest skill necessary to win at the C level and play at the B level. For anyone out there looking to just up from the C division, trust me. Length is your ticket outta there! Unfortunately, there is a huge paradigm shift from just being able to hit the ball and being able to hit the ball and put it where you want. When I first started playing squash matches, I always thought that hitting it hard and low or hitting a good drop shot was the way to win points. It wasn't until I realized that hitting it hard and low and hitting good drop shots wasn't that easy, and once I learned to set up loose shots with good tight length, thats when I could now start dictating play with low hard shots and easy drop shots. Learning to move an opponent around the court, is so much more important than playing a winning shot, cause if you can do that, that's when opponents get out of position, that's when mistakes are made, that's when winning starts happening. It's so easy to say this, but when
I'm on court, even now, I can get caught up in the bashing and dashing, but if I can keep my mind collected, the first goal is always to get my opponent into a corner and get myself into the middle.

Ok, so far I've met Paul, Trevor, Kevin and Derek. And having won a handful of C tourneys and playing a lot of C semifinals and consolation finals. That's when I moved up to the B division. In retrospect, I should have played more B division tournaments, but early success at B encouraged me and mayber I was capable of way more. I had won the geologist and the oilmens in the B division. and made the B final in 3 other tournaments, as well I beat Trevor in the B div at the Eau claire club championships(which I have on video - possibly the last time I ever beat Trevor). At the end of the season I took up running (which I will never promote to anyone). and then september rolled around and Trevor, Luke and I had recruited Derek and Daylan to play interclub with us at level 4. Paul was a bit wishy washy, but he ended up playing for us full time before the end of the season. This was the beginning of what has turned out to be our history in the making. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Squash Politics

At the end of the 2011-2012 season, our team finished 7th out of 8 teams, finishing 16 points ahead of the 8th place team, and only 8 points separated the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place teams from us.

During the season, we shot ourselves in the foot by accomodating other teams that could not field a full team on our scheduled night to play, likely giving up precious points. Lesson learned.

We had expected to be relegated back down to level 2, but only 1 team from level 2 had been slated to move up, so we had be given another chance to stay at level 1. But what we didn't know is that bow valley club had recruited so that they could field a team at level 1. It is notable that bow valley finished 6th at level 2, 14 points behind the 2nd place team that decided not to move up and 24 points behind the 1st place team.

Now it seems that instead of granting any team a free pass, it would make sense to allow a playoff between Eau Claire and bow valley to see who gets that final spot in level 1. Initially bow valley had suggested a playoff and subsequently rejected the playoff because of the stipulation that they would have to field a level 2 team. It seems that the majority of the recruited players could return to their previous teams at the winter club or glencoe or back to their level 2 team where they would likely be more competitive.

Sure, it sucks to get the short end of the stick. There is nothing fair about how this entire situation was handled and it sucks that the Calgary Interclub Squash League has f'd us over.

Unfortunately, we allow this to happen and we wonder why squash isn't ever going to be a sport widely accepted by the general public. Perhaps squash was never meant to leave the private clubs. I guess that's it.