Arbitrary Goals; Train how you want to play and play how you train

April 10, 2018

Over summer, as I play squash (a winter sport) and I want to get better, I have set some arbitrary goals for myself. This blog is not about me, it’s about the aspects of injury prevention, recovery and performance! The bits everyone wants but isn’t always prepared to do what’s necessary to achieve, as they can be; time consuming, expensive and or boring. But in the interest of enjoying your sport for a lifetime and not just in your 20’s 30’s and 40’s, understand that the sacrifice of, 1 hour a week of boredom, pain, your time and money is nothing compared to enjoying your sport in your 60’s and 70’s (albeit slower).


So today I have sat down in the morning and thought about my game, I was going to draw up some goals that I want to achieve before league starts again in September. However, I’m sure most of the people reading this are in a similar position, I don’t know how far I can run, I don’t know what my 1RM’s are, I don’t know how fast I run 200m and I don’t know how far I can jump! Hence the title of the blog post, arbitrary goals. So what can we do…? I gave it some thought, and could work out some logical goals, that are achievable and relevant. However are likely to change based on my first two weeks of training. There has been a lot about squash players compared to tennis players recently, in an attempt to get some social media hype, if nothing else it has made my search for data much easier. And this is where you should start, see what the pro’s of your sport need to do physically and save that info somewhere.


When planning any training programme, or setting goals for yourself, they need to be purposeful otherwise there is a greater chance of you not following through. For myself, I would need to emulate what the professional squash players are doing in competition. They are averaging 5km in a tough match, roughly 1 km a game with heart rates reaching 190+. However, it is the recovery that is really needed, as players need to repeatedly perform close to maximum in every rally.


What I know is that my heart rate reaches 200bpm in a tough match, so it’s not like I’m not putting in effort! First step is checked then. Secondly is distance covered, now, I, like you can’t measure this but I can train for it. Third thing then is recovery. So I now have some basic data needed, I also know I need to be faster, which comes from being stronger and training some sprints. So time to set these arbitrary goals!


First, I started by making a quick table of the attributes I want to look at, and plan my training around. But this is purely a subjective graph for a starting point, rating them out of 10 based on how strong I think I am in this area (completely arbitrary, 10 is not world no.1). Then, because I can! I made a graph so it’s easy to see what I’m looking at.



Now I encourage you to do the same, an