Abid's Story

Abid Mansur | Bangladesh

I started learning how to play back in 2017 (age 27), shortly after moving back home to Bangladesh from the US after grad school, totally fresh having never before played a racket sport.

Initially I wanted to learn how to play Squash to stay fit for football. Within two years, I fell in love with the sport and decided to fully spend my time learning it further and becoming better. I've been playing for 6 years now, competing nationally, and have had two wild card entries in PSA challenger tournaments in Bangladesh (both ending in losses).

I subscribed to SquashSkills to improve my knowledge of the game since the coaches here are good with fundamentals but not necessarily game strategy/tactics, drills, and conditioning. I'm a very competitive person and have played sports my whole life, specifically football, playing competitively throughout high school but tore my ACL right before university. I ended up playing club level at George Washington University but unfortunately ended up tearing my ACL twice more. Even after three ACL injuries and a broken metatarsal, I just couldn't give up the sport and ended up playing a couple more years in Bangladesh. Eventually when I started seeing my progress in Squash, I quit football and devoted my time to squash both on and off the court.

SquashSkills has been a game changer for me. From how to properly hold the racket, to swing length, drives and cross courts, I do not think my game would've gotten to this level, this fast without it. The most important thing SquashSkills taught me while playing in Bangladesh is using height. It's something most players are not used to here and learning to use the different zones on the front wall and how to use lobs as both defensive and offensive shots, completely blindsided my more seasoned opponents. In addition, I think my movement and technical ability is all from SquashSkills. I owe a lot of credit to my coach here but I do not think my game would be this refined without using SquashSkills. There are so many videos teaching you about intricate shots and patterns of play that it's almost impossible to find a coach in a country where the sport is still small, but growing.

One of my breakthrough moments was not using power as frequently and implementing more height and deception in my play. I think a lot of people who don't fully understand the sport think that you must just hit the front wall faster and harder than your opponent. Of course part of the game is to put pace on the ball but against more experienced players, the only way to get them to guess your next shot and continue guessing is changing up your pace, shot selection, height and adding in deception so they get stuck in their movement or sent the wrong way. Being able to use a whole library of shots, strategy, tactics, deception that is available on SquashSkills, it was easier to learn how to implement it in my game.

My proudest achievement on court was beating the number two player in Bangladesh in at least one game (eventually lost 3-1 but was able to take the second game off him). I've won club tournaments and inter club tournaments throughout my time, but to be able to take one game off an Army player, who is technically a professional in the country and has previously won national level tournaments, definitely has to be one of the best moments ever. It basically gave me the confidence of actually being able to beat someone who is more experienced by using a variety of different shots and patterns. I think if I could get to their fitness level, then I would definitely be giving more problems to the top 3 in the country (who have been playing Squash for 15+ years to my 6).

My proudest achievement off court has to be starting a small organisation in Bangladesh called Players' Squash League (with a friend of mine) to basically manage and throw tournaments for both club and professional players. Squash has been around in Bangladesh for sometime but in the last 10 years, the sport was dying. My friend Faiaz and I were able to restart the excitement around three years ago by hosting tournaments at the different clubs in Bangladesh for both club members and professionals who were entering for the prize pool. Our Squash Federation at the time wasn't as active as it is today and recently, both my friend and I were invited to join the Executive Committee of the Squash Federation. We're now looking at the next ten years for Squash in Bangladesh by focusing on our newly recruited youth team. Lastly, I received my level one coaching certificate just this year and will be aiming to complete my level two next year.

Football has always been my favorite sport. I never thought I'd be as obsessed with any other sport. Right when I saw progress in Squash and understood the game better, I was addicted. I play at least 5 times a week in addition to going to the gym. It's also a sport that requires just one other player to play it. With football, I would have to wait till the weekend where people were off work to get a solid 10 guys together to play five aside. Squash you can play anytime during the week, rain or shine, heatwave or not. Lastly, it's extremely intense. For anyone who is trying to get fit, stay fit or wants to experience an intense calorie burn session, Squash is the sport.

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