Adopt a winning mindset with these tips from Elite Squash Middle East

David Cooper 16/04/2019
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Rise to the top: Tips from EliteSquash Middle East

Now under new management Elite Squash Middle East, affiliated with EliteSquash UK and spearheaded by world-renowned coach Hadrian Stiff, is tailoring bespoke squash lessons for groups and individuals. Here, Stiff gives us tips to improve your game, no matter what stage you’re at.

EliteSquash Middle East, now under new management, helps players at all levels to improve their game with a variety of lesson structures. Coaches put emphasis on players learning to relax their body during a game in order to find rhythm and timing is at the start of every session. This also allows natural movement patterns to emerge from where technique can be added and guided. A relaxed but sharp player is still able to be deadly and intelligent on the court and use the ease of movement and skill to solve the technical and tactical challenges. Whether you’re just beginning your squash journey or a seasoned pro, these tips will help make you a better player.

Top five tips for beginners

Grip and Swing – A comfortable and relaxed grip and swing will maximise options, skill development and shot delivery.

Position – Getting your body in to a ‘side on’ position when hitting the ball increases your ability to hit straight and close to the side-wall which moves the opponent into the back corners.

Lunge & Timing – A comfortable ‘step-in’ to the ball, followed directly by a swing will create an easier shot for yourself.

Follow through – Relaxing your swing after hitting the ball helps when hitting deeper into the backcourt.

T Zone – Getting used to moving to the T Zone after each shot will increase your chances in dominating the play.

Top five tips for intermediate players

Serve variation – Use a few different styles of serves, to keep your opponent guessing, lob and fast variations will give you an advantage.

Pace variation – Using less power and more height helps develop better length hitting.

Follow the ball – Make sure to watch the ball after you hit it, especially when’s its behind you.

Four corners – Learning to play in the open corners of the court (furthest distance of your opponent) will improve your game drastically.

Be mindful – Use mindfulness practice apps to improve learning and performance on and off the court. Squash is a mental game as well as physical.

Top five tips for professionals 

Warm up – Use the warm up to prepare both the body and the mind ready for the match, spend at least 30 minutes doing this.

Relax – Bring more relaxation into movement and swing to increase your skill and movement efficiency.

Connect shots – Each shot needs to be connected to the next. In practice, ask yourself what is this shot doing and why. Build up a rhythm.

It’s not about winning – Avoid focusing purely on winning, instead focus on a great process and stay in the movement of each rally, that’ll improve your game.

Use squash for life – Squash is extremely challenging. Face each challenge with a growth mindset to be constantly improving, both on and off the court.

A sample lesson, lasting 45 minutes, is available which will cover an initial consultation for understanding the session theme, a warm up screening, timing drills, technical adjustments and conditioned games before a full review from the coach. Along with coaching sessions, players will also be able to enter into future tournaments and a squash league. Sessions are held at various venues throughout Dubai including the flagship venue at the Steigenberger Hotel, Business Bay.

For more information and to book a session head to www.EliteSquash.me

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16th week of show jumping league comes to Sharjah for Young Horses final

David Cooper 16/04/2019
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Young guns: Family fun in Sharjah this weekend

This week’s Show Jumping National sees the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club host the Young Horses Final from Friday, April 19thto Saturday, April 20th. Fans will witness the future of show jumping unfold as young horses, aged between 5 – 7 years old, battle it out to see who will be crowned the most talented up-and-coming jumpers.

Held under the supervision of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation (UAEERF), this two-day event will be the second of three nationals held in Sharjah before the season’s end. The young horses and their world-class riders will be jumping fences up to 135cm.

This week’s show will feature 10 classes with six of them designed to test the skills of Young Horses in each age category – 5 year-olds, 6 year-olds and 7 year-olds. Additionally, there will also be two open classes for riders of any age where Juniors (riders between 14 – 18 years old) will be ranked as well as two competitions for Novices and Children. All riders will be competing for their share of a prize purse of AED 170,000.

For more information on the Emirates Longines Show Jumping League or to learn about upcoming shows, please visit www.emiratesequestrian.com or call the UAEERF Jumping Department on 02 666 1800 between 9am – 4pm.

What: The EmiratesLongines Show Jumping League

When: Friday, April 19thfrom 1:30pm onward andSaturday, April 20thfrom 11:30am onwards
Where: Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club
Cost: FREE
Parking: Free parking available within walking distance to main arena

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Anita Annika Sande victorious during 15th week of Emirates Longines Show Jumping League

David Cooper 16/04/2019
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Class 11 winner: Anita Sande takes first place

Anita Annika Sande and her horse ‘For Cash 2’ from Elite Stable was victorious in the closing competition of the 15thweek of the Emirates Longines Show Jumping League held at the Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club.

Riders of all categories participated in the competitions as they strove to acquire more points in order to improve their overall ranking. This National was the final competition where riders had the opportunity to accumulate points before the Longines Final, marking the end of the season in two weeks’ time.

Sultan Al Yahyai, General Director of the Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club and Hussam Zummit, Representative of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation (UAEERF) presented the prizes to the riders. 

Norway’s Anita Annika Sande and her 13 year-old horse ‘For Cash 2’, from the Elite Stable, won the One Round Jump Off for Division 1 with jumps placed at 140 cm. 23 riders participated, of which eight managed to complete the main round without any faults. Three of these riders succeeded in completing the jump off round without faults with Anita Annika Sande jumping to first place with a time of 39.46 seconds. Denmark’s Tina Lund and her horse ‘Carallo’ from Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club came in second finishing the Jump-Off in 39.95 seconds.

Saudi rider Abdullah Al Sharbatly and ‘Chap 47’ from the Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club won first place in Thursday’s One Round Against the Clock class where the course was designed with obstacles at 135cm height.32 riders participated in the event, of which 11 riders succeeded in completing the round without any faults.

The One Round with Jump Off class saw the participation of 24 riders who flew over jumps placed at a height of 135 cm. Seven riders tied in the Jump Off, of which five completed without any faults. Tina Lund took the lead riding on ‘Payse Heutiere’ finishing the round in 34.53 seconds. Second place went to Mandara Equestrian Club’s Moh’d Fadi Al Zabibi from Syria and ‘Ulac De Montsec’.

In the One Round Against the Clock for Division 1 riders, with jumps set at a height of 125 cm, 24 riders participated with 14 of them succeeding in completing the round without any faults. Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club’s Ali Abdalla Al Khadim and ‘Doxanne B’ came in first place.

The Two Phases competition for Division 1 riders with jumps set at a height of 120 cm, the UAE’s Salim Ahmed Al Suwaidi and his 9-year-old horse ‘Snapp Jack’ from Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club came in first while his fellow club member Egypt’s Mohammed Ashraf Abdalla Ashraf on ‘Carlotta’ secured third place. Second place went to Mhd Osama Al Zabibi and ‘Toulana’ from Mandara Equestrian Club.

In the first competition of One Round Against the Cloc, riders from three categories participated – for Division 2 and Junior riders, the jumps were set at a height of 125 cm, while for riders competing under the Young Horses (5-6 years old) category,  jumps were set at 120 cm. Amongst the Division 2 riders, 16 participated but first place was secured by Syria’s Youssef Sawas riding ‘Elton’ from Al Ali Stables. From the 22 Juniors that competed, the American rider Ayman Nasser from the Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club came in first with his13-year-old horse ‘Brandy’. 27 riders with young horses also participated in the round and the first place went to Tina Lund and ‘Celvita Z’.

In the Two Phases competition for the three categories’, 10 Division 2 riders participated but it was Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club’s Imad Gharib from Syria and ‘Quattro 3’ who won first place. 16 riders participated in the Juniors’ category with Mhd Osama Al Zabibi and ‘Paprica’ securing another win. This class also saw the participation of 25 riders in the young horses category. Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Maktoum and his horse ‘Invictus DXB’ from Emirates Equestrian Centre came in in first.

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