(New questions added 10th March 2013)
Q. What do you enjoy the most about being a professional squash player and what do you like the least?
A. I really enjoy the training side which I think you have to otherwise it could be pretty difficult, but I think the best thing is actually competing. There is no better feeling then winning a match or a major tournament. The hardest thing is definitely when you lose that match! There are lots of highs and lows when you play but hopefully it works out more highs!! Also when you arrive back at 5am after a long flight and you just feel knackered!
Q. Do you have a strict diet which you follow? Anything you have specifically the night before a big match? Anything you don’t eat?
A. With the amount of calories we burn in training and matches you could eat pretty much what you want. However I like to follow a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, chicken and fish. I think everything in moderation. I’m not one to take away chocolate or puddings and I make sure I do have a treat during the week, mainly on a Sunday on my rest day!
The night before a match I would tend to eat noodles or rice with chicken. I don’t really eat much pasta, I find that it makes me a bit sluggish so I tend to stay away from that at tournaments and the same with red meat as well!
Q. What sort of training do you do if you have a break in between tournaments?
A. If I have a good 4-6 weeks training block then this is when I really try and build my fitness levels up with specific training. I will do strength and conditioning sessions 3 times a week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. As well as this I will do fitness work on court. I’m not one for going into the gym and doing a bike session, I just feel that this isn’t specific enough and I feel I really benefit the most when I’m working on court doing ghosting, shuttles, sprints and speed and agility drills. Then there is the hitting as well with my squash coach and routines and drills and of course solo practice which I think is a very important of training. Also I have to still maintain my Achilles rehab work twice a week. So there is a lot to fit in but it keeps me on my toes!!
Q. At the level where you are the mental aspect of the game must play a huge part?
It definitely does. It could be the difference between winning and losing. In the heat of battle the mind can be your worst nightmare with negative thoughts creeping in. You have to banish all these thoughts and have confidence and belief in yourself and know you have put the work in so trust in that. It’s now the small things at this level which make the difference and if you are mentally stronger than your opponent then you have gained an extra 1-2% over them already, which could be the difference between winning and losing that match.
Q. Anything exciting/ different/ interesting that people don’t know about you?
A. I was a member of the England women’s team that appeared on the TV show Eggheads in 2009 called ‘squash the egg’. We were unsuccessful in beating them!!!
I have my own Virgin train named after me – the ‘Alison Waters’ runs on the London- Manchester route!
I’m a Liverpool fan and I went to watch them play and win the Carling Cup final at Wembley 2012 – it was an amazing atmosphere!!
Q. What would you like to see happen for squash?
A. That’s easy; it has to be to get squash in the Olympics! The sport truly deserves to be an Olympic sport and it would be incredible if we did – the pinnacle of our careers! We have a great campaign ahead of this years decision to see whether squash will be part of the 2020 games! So everyone get behind the bid and get squash into 2020!!
Q. What would you say to an aspiring up and coming junior player?
A. Enjoy it!! I absolutely love what I do and I think having been out for 18 months with an Achilles injury and having made a successful comeback, I have really started to realise how lucky I am to be doing something for a living that I love. It also has shown me that time goes so quickly and you have to make the most of it so I would say to an up and coming junior to enjoy it, make the most if it, train hard and smile!!
(Original questions – 2009)
Q. How do you cope with jet lag? (Andrew, 33, international businessman, Nth London)
A. Well when we have a tournament is Asia which is 8 hours time difference we tend to go so we have a least 3 full days there. We try to adjust to the time difference as soon as we get there so going to bed at similar times as we would at home. It is difficult but we get used to it.
Q. Any alcohol? (Nick, 45, sports executive)
A. Not much at all during the season, only on special occasions really. You can’t really go and drink when we are in tournament phase. Also it helps that i don’t like wine or beer.. (strange hey)
Q. How much training do you do in a typical week – please provide a breakdown (Sarah, 14, Huyton Comprehensive School, Liverpool)
A. I do 2 sessions a day- 5 and half days a week (half day Saturday and then rest day sunday) Training consists of on court work- routines, match play, pressure sessions as well as fitness work on and off court (more off court over the summer months) I try and do 2 weights sessions a week as well as other gym work as well.
Q. Do you have either/ each of a positive/ negative game plan when approaching important matches? (Name and address supplied but withheld)
A. You have to go on with a positive game plan otherwise its game over before you start really. I try and think about my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and remember the last time i played them. You just have to believe that you can go on there and win and believe in the work that you have put it, confidence is a major part in this- having some self belief.
Q. I note that you always wear a skirt for matches – is this old fashioned? Should you feel free to wear anything you like? (Danielle, 28, fashion expert)
A. Hmm.. i’m not sure what else you could wear apart from a skirt.!! I think it looks professional that we are all wearing skirts and tops. You don’t want people playing in a major final wearing shorts and a baggy t-shirts.
Q. Do you think many people realise that squash is either the 6th or 5th most popular sporting activity on the planet (in terms of numbers of active participants)? (Gordon, 16, squash fan)
A. No i don’t think people would think that squash is. There is so much media attention on the ‘Big’ sports such as football, rugby, tennis etc that squash gets overlooked. That is one thing that needs to change- we need to get more media coverage and get the recognition that squash deserves.
Q. Can you offer any tips on glass court tactics? (Steve, 45, lawyer and drop shot expert)
A. A lot of the glass courts tend to play differently.. some are a lot deader then others. You just have to try and get used to it as quickly as possible, the glass court tends to take your shots better then a normal court. I would say to find your length is one of the most important things on the glass court, so if you get that right you are half way there.
Q. Am I too young to start playing squash (Molly, 6, Barnet)
A. No way Molly! I would say the earlier the better. I started playing when i was five so i say pick up your racket and go for it!