Shawn asks: “My coach wants me doing five sets of court sprints during every practice. Should I be wearing running shoes or court shoes?”
Good question, Shawn.
If you are not sure what he is asking about, watch the video below.
Court sprints are a foundation drill for squash players. Squash players at every level do them. The higher the level, the higher the intensity, but all serious squash players do a lot of court sprints.
Do court sprints involve running? Yes, obviously. But more important, they require stopping and changing direction. If you watch the video again, you will note that he is stopping and changing direction laterally. In order to do this safely, a court shoe is required.
Unlike running shoes, which are designed for constant forward movement, court shoes are designed for movement in all directions. Moreover, they are designed for rapid changes in direction.
If you look at the outside edge of the forefoot on this Asics court shoe, you will see that the sole flares out significantly. This flare is important to the core function of the shoe because it prevents ankle rolls on sudden lateral stops. Running shoes do not have this feature because running shoe designers do not expect runners to be stopping laterally.
Perhaps more than any other court sport, squash players need to be able to stop and change direction suddenly and explosively. Therefore they need shoes that offer maximum traction and maximum stability.
Court sprints are considered a foundation drill in squash because they mimic one of the game’s core movements perfectly. For that reason, it is essential to be doing them in court shoes, not running shoes.