While watching PSA Squash TV from Kuwait lead commentator Lee Drew aired an interesting theory that “winning a game should be the by-product of winning points which in turn was a product of the process of concentrating on every single shot and each individual position or movement in order to accomplish this.”
These are not his words verbatim, they must surely have been more eloquent and less clunky but I think the basis of the theory is intact and clear enough.
The important principle to be taken from this advice is to stay in the moment and execute only what is possible at that given time. This sounds suspiciously like the Zen practise of being fully awake, and living your life in the here and now. I – for one – am all for such subject matter when watching squash but whether the theory actually works is certainly up for debate. As Faust declares; all our theorisation fails to touch reality.
The time taken in a moment is the crucial aspect and the interconnectedness with the next moment is vital. So if we can link a series of moments (an unbroken field) then this idea has the potential for great success. This falls closely to Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of the flow experience.
This is difficult to achieve and in true Zen style is not accomplished through conscious thought.
So in an attempt to simplify things; squash is a physical activity which requires concentration. Having a clear understanding of what you are going to do on court will greatly enhance your ability to concentrate for extended periods. Thus by following the process again and again we can become unconscious.
Through this we can begin to trust our instincts, themselves endowed with knowledge from playing endless hours of squash. We can let go of any negative or positive emotions and are free to adapt without conscious involvement to all the possible scenarios which may arise. Simple.
After the match we either wake up or fall asleep again – depending on your point of view.