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Nick Matthew, PSA Squash WR 3: „Drumul catre succes a fost foarte lung”

Squashmania.ro tine Romania in priza si aduce, asa cum a promis, inca un interviu din topul mondial al jucatorilor de squash. Astazi, Nick Matthew, numarul 3 PSA World Squash Rankings, octombrie 2014

Nick_Matthew_BritishNick Matthew, jucator de squash inca din copilarie si proaspat tatic, ne-a impartasit cate ceva din evolutia sa ca sportiv de performanta, dar ne-a dat si cateva sfaturi pe care ar trebui sa le urmarim indeaproape. Din 1999, pe cand castiga British Junior Open si pana acum, Nick demonstreaza ca este un jucator de elita, un jucator de la care pasionatii de squash, cu siguranta au multe de invatat. Asadar, sa  urmarim cu atentie interviul lui Nick Matthew pentru cititorii Squashmania.ro.

SQM: Buna Nick! Iti multumim pentru interesul pe care l-ai acordat, raspunzand catorva intrebari pentru Squashmania.ro. Pentru inceput, spune-ne cum ai inceput cu squash-ul si care erau gandurile tale atunci?
N.M.: Buna! Am inceput squash-ul la 8 ani. Mergeam la lectii de tenis si treceam pe langa terenuri de squash. Mi s-a parut distractiv, asa ca weekend-ul care urma am zis sa incerc si asta. Din acel moment, am fost captivat cu totul si am renuntat la tenis 2 ani mai tarziu.

SQM: Cam cat timp acorzi antrenamentelor intr-o saptamana?
N.M.: Lucrurile s-au schimbat, din moment ce sunt proaspat tatic, asa ca antrenamentele s-au rezumat la 2 ore pe zi ca sa pot petrece mai mult timp cu sotia si fiica mea. In mod normal ma antrenam cate 5 zile si jumatate pe saptamana, cate 2 antrenamente pe zi, mai putin sambata cand faceam un antrenament dimineata si restul weekend-ului liber.

SQM: Luand exemplu un jucator de squash care se antreneaza pentru a-si imbunatati jocul, care este cel mai usor lucru pe care il poate face pentru a deveni mai bun?
N.M.: Sunt foarte multe lucruri pe care le poti face ca sa devii un jucator mai bun. Spre exemplu, poti lua lectii de la un antrenor atestat ca sa-ti poata da idei la care sa lucrezi. Antrenamentele pe teren pot fi de unul singur sau cu alt jucator, facand mai degraba drilluri decat joc in sine. Acordati atentie profesionistilor si urmariti-i cand joaca la turnee, iar daca nu sunt turnee, urmariti SquashTV. Incercati lucruri diferite in exercitiile pe care le faceti ca sa puteti completa nevoile din timpul unui meci de squash, spre exemplu antrenamente de tip „Circuit training” si „Crossfit”, unde ritmul este intens si relaxarea minima. Nu trebuie sa faci aceste antrenamente mult timp si poti obtine rezultate bune. Poti chiar sa le faci in ora dedicata luarii pranzului, de la serviciu.

SQM: Ce ne poti spune despre nutritie, exercitii cardio in afara terenului si orele de somn?
Nick-Matthew-Gregory-Gaultier-comp N.M.: Exercitiile cardio sunt foarte importante, ai nevoie de un nivel de baza in ceea ce priveste fitness-ul si odata ce ai dobandit asta,  antrenamentele de tip „Circuit training” si „Crossfit” sunt specifice squash-ului de azi, in special la nivelul profesionistilor. Alimentatia este foarte importanta, din moment ce ai nevoie sa-ti alimentezi corpul astfel incat acesta sa poata lucra in favoarea ta. Eu nu am vreun regim special, doar un mod echilibrat de a imbina proteinele, carbohidratii, fructele, legumele si fibrele. E usor sa faci asta, chiar si cand esti plecat in alte tari. Somnul este vital. Vad asta si mai bine acum, de cand am devenit tatic.

SQM: Ce faci cand nu joci squash? Care e hobby-ul tau preferat?
N.M
.: Hobby-ul meu preferat este sa ma relaxez impreuna cu sotia mea si sa nu fac absolut nimic. Iubim sa ne uitam la filme si la televizor. Cand pot, imi place sa joc si golf, asta doar daca vremea este frumoasa.

SQM: Ai o pregatire mentala anume pentru fiecare meci? Poti sa ne dai detalii despre pregatirea dinaintea meciurilor?
N.M.:
Pregatirea dinainte presupune 30 de minute de incalzire. In primul rand, imi reglez ritmul cardiac prin alergare usoara si exercitii la bicicleta pentru a-mi pune picioarele in miscare. Urmeaza multe fandari si incalzirea activa a intregului corp. Nu fac stretching static in timpul incalzirii, tin asta pentru exercitiile de dupa meci. Eu imi setez un plan strategic care presupune o imbinare a punctelor mele tari cu respectul pe care il acord adversarului si cu restul factorilor specifici terenului si jocului de squash.

SQM: Din postura de jucator de top, ne poti spune cat de greu sau lung a fost drumul catre succes si performanta?
N.M.:
Drumul catre succes a fost unul lung. Am castigat primul meu titlu mondial la varsta de 30 de ani, ceea ce este destul de mult pentru a fi pentru prima oara castigator. Oamenii vad meciurile, succesele si esecurile de pe teren dar nu vad si lacrimile din spatele acestor scene. Sunt multe suisuri si coborasuri in tot acest timp, dar consider ca aceste lucruri sunt importante si necesare sa poti deveni jucatorul care vrei sa fii.

Nick-Matthew-psa-competitionSQM: Care/cand a fost cea mai neplacuta experienta dar si cel mai frumos moment din cariera ta ca jucator de squash?
N.M.: 
Cele mai neplacute experiente din viata oricarui sportiv sunt accidentarile. Am avut doua operatii: una la umarul drept in 2008 si una la genunchiul drept in anul 2014. Din fericire, mi-am revenit din ambele cu succes. Sa poti sa revii din momentele grele te face sa apreciezi si mai mult momentele bune din viata ta.

SQM: Ce consideri ca este mai greu? Sa devii jucator de top sau sa te mentii acolo?
N.M.:
Odata ce ai ajuns in top este foarte greu sa ramai acolo. Imi aduc aminte cand am fost pentru prima oara numarul 1 mondial, nu am  rezistat prea mult pentru ca nu stiam cum sa combat aceasta presiune. La urmatorul moment similar, aveam deja experienta. In orice caz, asta este nimic comparativ cu eforturile mari pe care le depui pentru a ajunge in top. Este nevoie de multi ani de munca si sacrificiu ca sa ajungi acolo si desigur ca nu este posibil ca toata lumea sa ajunga acolo, asadar asta este cel mai greu lucru de facut.

SQM: Multumim inca o data, Nick! Ai un mesaj pentru cititorii SquashMania si pentru jucatorii de squash din Romania?
N.M.: 
Nu am vizitat niciodata Romania, dar am auzit multe lucruri frumoase despre tara voastra si totodata despre cum se dezvolta squash-ul acolo. Mi-as face placere sa vin intr-o zi si sa vizitez, sa vad asta cu ochii mei. Multe multumiri!

Asadar, cititori si cititoare Squashmania.ro, jucatori si jucatoare de squash, sa ne pregatim din greu pentru a ajunge in top, sa urmarim munca celor mai buni si sa invatam de la ei si de ce nu, sa-l asteptam pe Nick Matthew la un meci demonstrativ in Romania.

Fiti cu ochii pe minge, seria interviurilor continua si pana data viitoare puteti urmari alte interviuri de TOP 10 PSA
Sa-l vedem acum pe Nick:


credit foto: wikimedia.org  |  static-secure.guim.co.uk  |  squashmad.com

English version

Squashmania keeps Romania in touch with worldwide squash players and, as promised, we bring another world top  squash players interview. Today, we have the pleasure to look through the words of the english Nick Matthew, number 3 in the PSA World Squash.

Nick Matthew, squash player since he was a child and a new dad, shared with us something from his experience as an professional athlete, but also some advices that we consider we should follow. Since 1999, when he was winning British Junior Open, until nowdays, Nick demonstrates that he is a top player, a player that should be a model for all the squash players, because they definetly have something to learn from him. Therefore, let’s see the questions Nick answered, for all Squashmania readers and not only.

Hello Nick! Thank you for the interest shown in answering a few questions for SquashMania.ro. First of all, tell us when did you have your first contact with squash and what were your thoughts at that time?
I first took up squash at the age of 8. I went to tennis lessons and passed by the squash courts. It looked fun so the next weekend I went to give it a try. After that I was hooked and gave up tennis a couple of years later!

How many hours do you spend training a week?
It’s changed at the moment as I am a new dad so just training once per day for about 2 hours so that I can spend time at home with my wife & daughter. Normally I train 5 & 1/2 days per week. 2 sessions per day except Saturday when I train just once in the morning then have the rest of the weekend off.

As an example, take an everyday squash player who practices and trains for improving his game, what’s the easiest thing you can do to become a better player?
There’s many things you can do to improve as a player. Get some lessons from a qualified nearby coach to give you some ideas to work on. Practice on the court on your own or with another player just doing drills rather than always just playing. Watch the pros play at a live tournament or if there isn’t one near you then follow us on Squash TV. Try different things in your fitness to match the needs of a squash match, like circuit training or cross fit, where there is high intensity & low rest. You don’t have to do these fitness sessions for long and you get a great workout. You can even fit them I your lunch hour at work!

What about nutrition, cardio workouts off-court and sleeping hours?
Cardio workouts are important, you need a good basic fitness but once you have this, the circuit or cross fit training is a lot more specific for squash nowadays, especially at pro level. Nutrition is very important as you need to fuel the body to allow it to work in your favour. I don’t do any specific diets just a nice balance of protein, carbs, fruit, veg & fibre. It’s easy to keep it up when you are away in other countries this way. Sleep is vital… I am finding this out now having just become a new dad!

What do you do when you don’t play squash? What is your favorite hobby?
My favourite hobby is relaxing with my wife & doing absolutely nothing! We love to watch movies and catch up on TV! When I can I like to play some golf, but only when the weather is nice!

Do you have a mental preparation process for each game? Could you please tell us more about your pre-game routines?
My pre-game routine involves 30 minutes of warming up time. I first get the heart rate up on the bike or jogging then I skip to get the feet moving. Plenty of lunging and active warming up of the upper & lower body. I don’t static stretch in my warm up. I save that for after the match. I have a game plan in place which involves what I hope is a nice mix of playing to my strengths whilst respecting my opponents and being aware of specific court conditions.

As a top player, could you tell us how long or difficult was the road to success and performance?
The road to success was a long one. I won my first World title at the age of 30 which is very old to be a first time winner! People see the matches & the successes & failures on court but they don’t see the tears of work behind the scenes. There were many ups & downs in this time but I believe they are necessary to shape the player you are trying to become.

What/when was the most unpleasant experience and also the most beautiful moment from your career as a squash player?
The most unpleasant experiences for any athlete are injury. I have had 2 operations; one on my right shoulder in 2008 & one on my right knee in 2014. Fortunately I have come back from both injuries successfully and these are also my highlights. To come back from the down times makes you appreciate the good times even more.

What do you think it’s harder? To become a top player or to stay there?
Once you reach the top it is very tough to stay there. I remember the first time I got to World number 1, I didn’t last very long at the top spot because I didn’t know how to cope with the pressure of being number 1. The next time I was there I was more experienced. However, this is nothing compared to the hard work it takes to get to the top. It takes many many years of hard work & sacrifice to get there and of course it’s not possible for everyone to get there, so this is by far the harder thing.

Thank you, again. If you have a message for the members of the Squashmania community (and also for the readers of this site and for the Romanian squash players.), what would that be?

I have never visited Romania but have heard many good things about the country and also how squash is growing out there. I would love to come and visit one day to see for myself. Many thanks… Nick

So, Squashmania. ro readers and squash players, let’s train hard to become a top player, to watch the hard work these professional players are doing, to learn from the best, and why not to wait to see live a demo game of Nick Matthew, here in Romania. Nick on wikipedia.org.

Stay close till the next interview!

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