If you want to become a serious squash player, you’ll need to pick it up a notch. You’ll need to expose yourself to more competition, and find a way to gauge your progress. You’ll need to know where you stand compared to everyone else. And once that’s known, setting goals will be easier. So how can you compare yourself to other competitive players? Get on a squash ladder!
By doing this, you’ll get into the correct mindset that every competitive squash player needs. The major difference – matches will be recorded. And with that, comes consequences. When enough matches are recorded, you’ll find your place on the squash ladder. And where you stand on the ladder can be compared to holding some turf in a tough neighborhood that you’ll need to defend against all comers. Sounds funny but that is the mindset most players have when it comes to their position on the squash ladder.
The best players in the world began their careers on a squash ladder. It was the first recorded competition they had. And when they became number one on their local squash club ladders, they went on to becoming number one in the region, country, and maybe the world. The only difference is the elevated skill level for each corresponding tier. Don’t think for a minute that the number one position on a club ladder is not just as important as how the world number one feels about his or her position. Both arenas resonate deeply with the players involved.
Getting on a Squash Ladder
What’s the first step in getting onto a squash ladder and plunging your self into the fire? The club pro and squash director can help.
Remember there are seasoned players on the ladder and you’ll need to go through them and prove yourself to move up. The club pro and squash director try to keep the peace with each new entry onto the ladder. But, with that said, feathers will be ruffled regardless. None of the players on the squash ladder will go down without a fight. That includes the player at the bottom.
How The Squash Ladder Works
Once the smoke clears from the onslaught of inquiries from the other squash players both in front and behind you who try to justify where you were placed, you’ll need to make the first move.
You can challenge the player ahead of you for the first match. If you win, you can continue to challenge up until you lose. Once you lose, you’ll need to defend or let the person below you make another challenge for your spot.
On the other hand, if you should lose your first match, you’ll need to keep defending until you win. Keep in mind that the usual schedule of play on a ladder is one week to challenge up and the following week to defend. This may vary depending on the club and how active the squash membership is. The important part of all of this is to report your wins as soon as possible to keep the ladder up to date. A squash ladder is constantly changing if it is active and especially if new players arrive on the scene.
The squash ladder is the first place every new player will check after seeing the courts. The physical squash ladder board should be right near the courts – making it easy to find. New players want to see the competition and the ladder will tell them what they need to know. And if you’re on top, you’ll be the first name they read. Needless to say, the squash ladder will be the center of attention; and the way it is managed is one of the most important components to any successful squash program.
The squash ladder should show the names of all the players involved with contact information like an email for every participant. Most do not like to have their cell numbers listed. Some clubs have so many players that a separate ladder is needed for the men, women and juniors. The juniors are then divided by gender and can go further into age groups. But, that’s only for the largest squash communities.
For a local club you should have one ladder that incorporates everyone. When you do this you can see where everyone stands regardless of gender or age. After all, a squash ladder should keep everyone in mind to determine who is top dog. Who knows? A kid could be number one. I was back in the day.
Once you’re on the squash ladder, everyone will begin to know you. And everyone will know where you stand. More players will want to play you. The bottom of the ladder will do you no good. But, at the bottom, you can only go up. That’s the bright side.
The top of the ladder is great! Everyone will know you’re the best and will want to get on the court with you. Lower ranked players will seek your advice. The club pro will be an ally and urge you to do more. You’ll have a fan base of supporters and admirers. Club squash events may even work around your schedule. Keep in mind that there’s a lot of status that goes with being the best at your club.
Just remember that staying on top will be harder than getting there. Also note, the club team line-up for the leagues and tournament seedings stem from where you are on the squash ladder. You’ll come to know these things once you become established with a position. Getting on the ladder is the first step to your new fame. All in all, it’s great fun! And there’s no entry fee!
Another rule of thumb is sending out the current ladder standings on a weekly basis via email. When all the players see it, they will react and schedule matches. The email should be sent to all the squash members, even those not on the ladder, to keep them in the loop. Remember a squash ladder is a vehicle to instigate. And a little more controversy shared with everyone else keeps things churning.
All good? Not quite. Here’s the fun part with instigating via squash ladders. Sometimes players will not show for a scheduled match because of a conflict. What then? Reschedule? Default?
Squash Ladder Rules
You’ll need to know the rules. The rules should be posted right next to the squash ladder. If nothing is spotted, check with the program director. The rules for a squash ladder generally cover the same set of rules as in a tournament match. For example, the warm up time should be four minutes; using a new ball is necessary; and the default rule are just some things to note.
Don’t be surprised with updates to the rules. Take it from me, it’s best to mention as much as possible so everyone is clear. You won’t believe what players will come up to avoid a loss on the ladder. Beware the dodgers!
The great thing about being on an active squash ladder is that, it will get you to the next level very quickly. You will become mentally tougher when preparing for league and tournament matches. The major difference between a club ladder match compared to a city league and tournament match is that, you’ll know your club players more intimately and will see them all the time.
With that said, it would be good to maintain proper etiquette around them. The last thing you need is to have someone complain about you with everyone else at the club.
I have seen a few players get removed from squash ladders because of improper behavior. Some go too far and take all the fun out of it. Don’t be one of those players. Find that middle ground where you play with enough intensity to pull off your wins without offending anyone in the process. Just keep in mind that if you join your club’s squash ladder, there’s no going back. And that’s the best part. It leads to better things. So go ahead and sign up today at a club near you.