If you frequent squash courts and play a fair deal and have been doing so for some time, you may very well have noticed a habit that some squash players employ, which is touching the walls or the back glass of the court. This is not unheard of and can be relatively common, from amateur players to professionals. However, when we consider this, we must stop and wonder why they do it?
Many players touch the squash court walls, and the reasoning typically depends on the player; one of the most likely is that they are “centering themselves,” otherwise, it could be wiping the sweat off their hands or even something they habitually do, like a ritual.
There are ultimately different answers to this question, and it is thus rather a case-by-case examination. People have differing views on why squash players do this; however, usually, how they do it will be a dead giveaway for the reason. So whether you see players doing this before, in-game, or after they finish playing, we shall discuss the likely reasons for this practice, so be sure to read on.
What Is The Purpose Of Squash Players Touching The Wall?
As discussed, there are three primary reasons why squash players will partake in this practice of touching the walls of a court. There may be others, and perhaps they could fall under subcategories to the reasons we provide. However, the ones we shall examine are the “centering” of oneself (or getting into “the zone”), wiping off sweat, and mere habit.
The first potential reason is to aid the player in reminding themselves that they are on the squash court and are trying to draw themselves into the present moment. They want to ensure that all other aspects of their life are blocked out. The reason that touching the squash court wall aids in this is that touch is an intense visceral sensory cue to humans.
Squash is an immensely challenging game and is physically taxing in an array of manners. The next option, which will seem less “centering” and like one is trying to align and focus, is touching (or wiping) their hands on the walls to remove sweat. The chance of profuse sweating is very high; however, this is not exactly a move we would condone or campaign for.
Everyone has habits and rituals that may seem peculiar to others, but these nuances to our behavior make us unique. Many have acts or practices they go through before engaging in a game or match. Often this may seem like an odd thing to others, but for the individual, it reassures them and makes them feel as though they have done their “pre-game checks,” or it could be superstition.
Working Out Cues And “Zone Triggers” For Squash Players
People talk about “the zone” or centering oneself as though it is something almost spiritualistic or out of this world. And in some ways, this may even be true, or at least seem so to those observing the individual in question.
Everyone, including yourself, has likely experienced a moment, whether it be in sports, work, the arts, and so on, where you were completely immersed. At these times, the person seems to (or might even) forget about the world around them.
The universe itself may not appear to extend beyond the immediate action that is taking place in a specific time and space. And what often occurs due to people entering this state is that something remarkable tends to happen due to that deeply rooted focus and concentration. The problem, though, is mastering the ability to replicate that mind-space, and some people find it immensely difficult.
Do not be dismayed, though, if you are a squash player or anyone seeking to find a means of tapping into this “advanced” state of mind. Some tricks and steps can be learned to aid us in reaching “the zone,” and the more one puts these things into practice, the greater the likelihood of them achieving that desired head-space.
One such manner (which ties into another reason players touch the wall) is developing a habit and initiating cues. These will trigger your mind and emotional state to align with the zone you wish to enter, especially in competitive sports, like squash. The great thing about initiating these cues and habits is that they do not have to be elaborate but can come from mundane actions.
Developing Cues And Triggers To Get Into The Zone
One can use in-game cues and triggers and things you can do just before the commencement of the game, such as touching the wall and closing your eyes for a few moments to collect yourself. But the preparation for the game (or activity you are involved in) should begin pre-game.
One of the most simple of these is that you provide ample time; try not to rush from work, school, or studies and run straight onto the court. Without some pre-game time, you will likely lack a plan and feel flustered and unprepared. Then, following this is to shut out what has happened until that point and what awaits you after stepping off the court.
Another small example is waiting until you are on the court to put your squash shoes on. You need to come up with things that will aid you in doing this, and it could, in fact, be the act of touching the walls of the squash court. Or perhaps only changing into squash attire once you arrive (as this acts as a transitional practice), you are stepping out of your day and onto the court.
Squash Players Touching The Wall To Wipe Off Sweat
This reason is one that some players will not be perturbed by, but many will frown upon this act of lathering one’s sweat all over the squash court walls. Yes, the court floors are likely to get sweat dripped on them. However, to add to the hygiene element of the game, wiping one’s sweat on the walls undoubtedly starts a debate regarding basic etiquette while on the court.
There are plenty of options, from the type of clothing players wear to purchasing sweatbands for your forehead and wrists. And perhaps even having someone off-court ready to throw you a towel when needed. These are all ways around the issue at hand: you will work up an immense amount of sweat during the game.
Understandably, sweaty palms make gripping your racquet tricky, and the last thing you want is for it to slip from your grasp or for this to hinder your gameplay. So we can understand the act of wiping your sweat onto the walls. Still, there are alternatives to this. You will likely find that many other players and clubs do not appreciate this behavior.
Squash Players Touching The Wall Out Of Ritual And Habit
Some players simply do it out of ritual, habit, or superstition. This is a short and sweet answer. If you note anyone doing this, it may not be about getting into the zone or wiping their sweat all over the walls. Rather merely something they have adopted over time.
Players have other quirks, such as not stepping on the lines upon entering the court. Touching the walls may be rooted in something they started doing for a particular reason, and they have never stopped doing so. Another final add-on to this is that some players do it believing it will bring them luck, which could be tied to getting into “the zone.”
There are a few reasons squash players touch or wipe the court’s walls. These are to help them get in “the zone” and wipe sweat from their hands so they do not lose grip on their racquets. Also, it could be something as simple as being habitual or extending as far as being a superstition. So now you know the reasons, see if you can identify them in the future.