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Becoming a better squash player | Quality Squash Stores (QSS-Squash)

My preparation wasn’t special, in fact I barely had any preparation and therefore I entered the tournament with a completely different mindset. Normally I look at my chances and make a prediction where I can end up. Because of my bad preparation I decided to play squash and then we’ll see where the ship runs aground!

This article is written by Quality Squash Stores, an online squash store.

The field of participants was strongly occupied and outside the top 4 placed players there were more title candidates! In the first round I met Joost Biezeno. Joost and I have played against each other more than 30 times and I think the score is about 15-15 in terms of matches. I managed to win this NK 3-0 from Joost.

In the second round I met Niels van Leeuwen, who I also met several times. Unfortunately I almost didn’t manage to win one of our meetings. This NK was meant for me to play squash and that’s how I went into this match. To my amazement I was able to play very relaxed and everything went almost by itself! Maybe this was one of the reasons that I won 3-2.

On Sunday I played the semi-final against Johan Jongeneel who had surprisingly eliminated Nick Kuys! In 2015 during the finals of the NK Men’s B I played against Johan in the finals. Because of the nerves I didn’t hit a ball there and I lost quite a chance 3-0. In this match I had no tension or pressure at all and I was free to play squash and because of that I came 2-0 pretty fast. Johan changed his tactics and even came back to 2-2! I was glad I could win the 5th game so I played the same day in the finals against Tom Lucas.

I was more than satisfied and certainly had nothing to complain about, but after two 5 setters the tank was empty for me and I couldn’t give Tom the resistance I had hoped for.

For me this was a big step not to put any pressure on myself. I play at my best and maybe I can give you a surprise during an NK!

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Starting with the squash centre operators, the van der Heijden family. Full of admiration I was able to see the focus of these dear people. From very early in the morning until very late in the evening they performed a true piece of art. Focus to serve everyone on time with drinks, lunch and dinner. Taking into account the many different demands made by players and referees. Cleaning up the squash hall, which was really left behind like a pigsty every now and then. Focus in the contacts with the competition management, volunteers, and also the regular customers. And when the focus (because of the very short nights and long working days) was a bit less, there was always super-volunteer Peter B. With him the focus was to keep the peace in this hectic situation. All in all a top performance in which “focus” is central!

Then the “focus” in the organization. In order to organise an event of this magnitude, the “focus” must be continuously present at SBN and its volunteers. Converting a squash court, installing and placing all kinds of screens, wiring, sound equipment, live stream, etc… Focus on the game schedule, supervision of players, coaches and referees. Keeping the information on social media and various sites up to date. Too much to mention. Again a top performance where the “focus” was certainly not lacking!

And then there is the “focus” of the players. If you participate in a junior world championship, “focus” should certainly not be missing! Different types of “focus” I have seen in the games. Focus towards referees, towards opponents, towards coaches, towards the public and fortunately also focus on your own game. In particular, I would like to reflect on the “focus” of Habiba Mohamed. Full of admiration I watched her semi-finals and finals. Full focus well before the match. During her matches her focus was amazing. No ball was not walked on and every rally is for her a battle to be won. In her semi-final, with a 10-6 deficit in the 5th game, her focus seemed to increase even more. This resulted in a victory and a place in the final! In her final she played against the technically better player Nouran Gohar. Again a spectacle piece and a repeat of last year’s final. Both ladies fought like lions and this time Nouran Gohar was the best. With deep respect I have looked at the only 16 year old Habiba Mohamed. If you show at this age that you have such a great focus, then you are a real winner and an example for many players during this tournament.

Finally, the “focus” of the referees. In order to lead games during a junior world championship, there must be a constant focus. Also during this tournament there were easy and difficult matches for the referees. In my opinion, the focus of the referees in this tournament was extra focused on playing as much as possible and therefore as few interruptions to the game as possible. The number of “no lets” was very high. For the young players this sometimes seems difficult but focused on the future. Interruptions during a match are disastrous for the future of squash as a “spectator sport”. Personally I think this is a good development. This way of leading games will hopefully contribute to the growth of our sport and perhaps also because of this become an Olympic sport!