I think what I have learned most during October is that squash matches, especially at the top level, are won and lost by fine margins.
In the build up to my next competition, the Hong Kong Open, I have been determined to do everything possible I could to make sure that when I am in certain situations, and the heat is on, I produce.
In Qatar I lost in a very tight four set encounter with Simon Rosner in a match which I could have won but was just unable to maintain my level at the key moment and that was hard to swallow.
In particular it hinged on the fourth set tie break which got away from me 12-10. I had a great opportunity to extend the match into a fifth game but my level dipped. What really hurt was that I felt Simon wasn't in the form he had been at the US Open but the bottom line is I didn't come through. Frustrating!
At the Channel Vas championships again my quarter-final with Tarek Momen hinged on a 12-10 second set tie-break which I lost and credit to Tarek he gave me nothing when it mattered most. It was also a similar story at the US Open when I was edged at the semi-final stage by Mohamed ElShorbagy, the world number one.
In my post tournament analysis and de-brief what I have taken from these matches is that the gap between myself and the top four is narrowing. What I need to do to make sure it continues to close is take care of the small things, those little gains that can be the difference between winning or losing a tight match that is hinging on a 12-10 tiebreak.
My preparations for Hong Kong have had to be juggled with moving into a new apartment over at my Dutch base. Now, I've got to be honest and admit I'm no Michelangelo and believe me I would rather have my trusty Eye V Lite 115 Control Paul Coll Signature squash racket in my paw than a paint brush…anytime!
So, the missus and I have had to get the painters in…but the good news is my coffee making is coming along a treat!
Speaking of treats it's amazing to think it's just six weeks to Christmas and if you're looking for a nice squash pressie why not check out my exciting PC Clothing range by clicking online shop at http://paulcoll.com and hopefully you'll get lucky!
Anyway back to the Hong Kong Open! I'm pleased to be seeded number six for the tournament and along with my buddy Diego Elias we headed over to HK on Friday to make sure we were here nice and early and had plenty of time to get used to the courts and get some decent practise in.
I've only ever played the Hong Kong Open once and I crashed out at the second round stage last season and that meant I didn't make it onto the main all glass court at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre which was a disappointment.
So my immediate aim is to make sure I go deep in the draw. My first match will be on Tuesday in the second round against the winner of either Leo Au, who is from Hong Kong or Spain's Edmon Lopez, which is played the day before. You can bet your bottom dollar I will be watching these boys battling it out with plenty interest!
As I mentioned there is only six weeks to Christmas and I'm pleased that after the Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo at the beginning of December, I'm will be heading back to New Zealand with my bro Diego (Elias) for an exhibition tour we have been planning!
But more of that later!