Archive for November, 2008

The FINAL COUNTDOWN

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 by siyoli

My days in Paderborn (for 2008 of course) are up. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. All of my expectations on the squash front were exceeded. The local squash players also ensured I had a good laugh from time to time.

Thank you to:

1) My sponsors in Cape Town: MENTOS, DUNLOP SPORT, and the fantastic VILLAGERS SQUASH CLUB

2) My coach Wael El Batran and Paderborn Squash Manager, Norman Farthing for making all this possible from the German side.

 

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES:

Sunday: South Africa (RSA) vs Malaysia

Monday: RSA vs Netherlands

Tuesday: RSA vs Germany

Wednesday: REST DAY

Thursday:  Quarter Finals

Friday: Semi Finals

Saturday: Finals

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More snow in Germany

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 by siyoli

Today was my last gym session. This actually saddens my heart, but the coach is being sooo nice to me lately. I’m not sure if he is already celebrating my departure on Friday. I keep saying he will miss me whether he wants to or not. His only reply is, “I haven’t missed anyone in 3 years!”

 

I was fortunate to have a hit with the champ, Simon himself. No complaints there! More squash later tonight. Will keep you posted.

The squash must go on!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2008 by siyoli

The temperature is 3 degrees today, last night dropping to 1 degree – maybe it went below zero in the coolest part of the night. BUT the squash continues.

This morning (as well as last week) I managed to make it to the church on time. Yes, they spoke German, but I’m able to pick up a few words here and there if they speak slowly. I was unable to join in with the singing (which i love doing), but was very happy to listen. Behind me sat an old man with a voice that sounded like Pavarotti himself. I was totally blown away – completely amazed!

Wael still had the training camp for his top players. So while they wrapped things up, the solo session was my source of entertainment. These sessions are also good at testing your levels of concentration. You might find yourself struggling to hit 20 balls in succession to the back corner. Then after some time, 50 balls become easy and then you’re hitting 100 balls consistently. What a  great confidence booster!

The plan from now until Thursday (Friday I leave for Egypt) is match preparation. Today I trained with Lennart (a premium league player) and Cedric (a second league player) – the focus is to implement match tactics at a high pressure and intensity. The pace is high, the ralleys longer and the brain needs to stay switched on the entire time. Now there’s a challenge!

Week 3 Round Up

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2008 by siyoli

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS

The South African team (No 13 seeds) has been placed in a pool with:
– Malaysia (No.4)
– Netherlands (No.5)
– Germany (No.12)

So, this means that it is going to be pretty tough for us to fight our way into the top 8, but fight, we must!

TRAINING NEWS

Friday morning began with some speedwork on the court. The legs are beginning to move quickly. The brain and eyes need to be just as consistent – if not faster.

The afternoon session and evening session ended up being merged into one session – which became one loooong session. Arrived to have a solo hitting session at 4pm, to find Cedric there, ready to train. So warmed up for 15min, the did drills with Cedrick for 45min, and felt my legs had worked quite hard.

At 5pm, I went back to my solo session, then had Frank arrive,  therefore I did more drills with him from 17h30 – 19h00. Boy, was I shattered!! It’s all good for me really!

 

Saturday morning, even with all the snow excitement, I somehow managed to make it into the gym. This is where confidence has a place to grow. You can tangably measure your progress. In most cases, I am now lifting double the weights I lifted when I first arrived. You gotta believe it! 

The courts were buzzing this morning because of a junior camp in preparation for a German tournament next week. Some of these young players are real fighters, train like professionals and show such dedication. 
 A few of them cycle to the courts with their huge racquet bags in all conditions to get to the courts. I think we can all learn a little something from them.

Snow in Paderborn

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2008 by siyoli

“I do believe: help me overcome my unbelief!”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2008 by siyoli

This morning when i woke up, i had intentions that my blog update today would have the title:
NO COMMENT!
The actual body would consist of one line:
I FEEL LIKE I SPOKE TOO SOON!

But so much has happened since then, and if I had left it there, this day would truly have ended seeing me as some sort of quitter – letting challenges get the better of me!

I read a little story from the bible this morning before going out to train. It was a story about  a man who brought his sick boy to Jesus, but then proceeds to say “If you can…” heal him. Jesus responded by saying “If I can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” Stay with me here – I’m not really about to preach. It was the fathers response that got me and really stuck out for me. He said, ” I do believe: help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 23-24)

This line is exactly how I would describe where I am at right now, this time in reference to the squash. I do believe I have a gift, a talent. In practice, I have begun to play like a person who believes in their ability, but in a match, I am still playing like someone who doesn’t believe, and doubts their potential. So that became my prayer today; one I hope to keep with me for the next few days or weeks.

Where does all this stem from, you ask? My match against Franc last night! There is always something to analyse everytime I play this man. I lost my first game in 3 minutes, 11-4, much to my coaches disapproval, and mine too for that matter. I’m meant to be working on staying on the court longer. The next game I lost it 12-10, but failed to carry out any of the game tactics prescribed for this particular opponent. The next game, I won 12-10, but still playing like the “old” Siyoli, and not applying the “new and more effective”: Siyoli. The last game I lost 11-9, after being down 8-5, fighting  back to 9-9, then ending off with two unforced errors, giving him the match 11-9. The entire match lasted 30 minutes.

Ok, so the scores look pretty close. It looks like it could have gone either way. I should be happy with that, right? Well…that is what the my usual optimistic side would have said. I would naturally think I’ve shown some improvement; I’m beginning to retrieve this guy’s hard shots; I’m showing a little fighting spirit. Actually there is a lot I could pick out that I could smile about. But that’s not the response I received from the coaching corner – which I now understand and appreciate. ( That is another thing I feel really blessed for: that the relationship with the coach is direct, open, yet tactful. Hard things sometimes need to be said, but how they are said or received is where problems often arise between individuals.)

Think of it this way: Imagine I went into an exam, ignored the instructions and questions, and wrote anything i wanted about that subject. The chances are high that no matter how accurate my facts were, if i didn’t answer the question, I will most definitely receive ZERO for that exam. That’s what happened. That is what I learnt yesterday. I forgot the game strategy; I didn’t apply two basic instructions that work against Franc; I sometimes forgot I was on the squash court; basically did my own thing.

Now can you imagine the result if I had decided to follow instructions, and believe that i can actually carry them out?

Don’t get me wrong – this is not written on a sad note. That is what it would have been had I left it to my initial morning thoughts. Strangely enough, our first bit of training was the gym, and Cedric was training with me today. Wael kept emphasising to him that self-belief is critical for him to get to the next level, not fully realising that this is a thought that would circulate my head –  a prayer that would help me complete this day on a stronger note, having fully grasped the lessons of yesterday.

Now, a few more days left, a few more battles to be won… and yes, I do believe.

Week 3 off to a good start

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 by siyoli

I received a compliment from the coach the other day, “Now you’re playing international squash!” Of course, my initial reaction was to smile and hold onto these positive words. Then it got me wondering, “Well…what have I been playing thus far?”

This is one of those wonderful moments in life when I can look back and see something has changed, a visible difference. Some people look back at their high school photographs, maybe go down memory lane, then come to the conclusion that they are different now to what they were then. It could be that their outward appearance is different; maybe they were rebels and now have calmed down; maybe they were quite introverted and now have come out of their shell; maybe they were considered “nerds” and social outcasts, but now the money obtained from their academically acquired jobs sees them as the talk of the town; maybe a little character evaluation made them realise that in order to get from A to B, they were going to need a little change.

In my life experience (as vast as it may seem at my young and tender age 🙂 ) I have been blessed to have witnessed change as something positive, something to be embraced and not to be feared.

All in all folks, there are some improvements on the squash court. The eyes are more open, the legs getting stronger, the arms moving faster and the ball positions matching what the head desires. No, i’m not perfect yet…but it is these little touches and analytical observations which confirm or encourage that I am exactly where I am meant to be, and that all the efforts and encouragements of those who support me are not in vain.

Thank you to you all.

Tonight, i battle it out with Franc again…watch this space!!