THE new squash season is almost upon us and so I thought this would be the right time to start my new monthly column which is exclusive to paulcoll.com.
The idea is to share with you some of the work that goes on behind the scenes, provide a bit of insight into what it's like playing on the PSA World Tour and hopefully along the way we might even enjoy a laugh or two.
The first tournament of the new campaign is the J.P.Morgan China Squash Open which will be held this week on the spectacular glass court situated on top of the Peninsula Shanghai Hotel and I can't wait to get out there.
I'm 26 now, my highest ranking was eight in 2017 and with my current ranking at 10 my first target is to get back inside the top eight as soon as possible.
This week in China I'm seeded number four and I'm determined to go as far as I can and my preparations have been bang on.
Last week I travelled over from my base in Holland to Pontefract Squash club where I was working on certain key parts of my game which I am determined to improve. About 12 months ago my coaching team dissected my game and saw that to take the next step there were certain parts that had to be improved and getting that right is a key target for me.
Every player in the top-10 will be the same, in that they will be doing everything they can to gain that extra 10 per cent to give them the edge on their rivals. If I’m to hunt down the likes of Simon Rosner, Tarek Momen and my Eye Rackets stablemate Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who are ahead of me in the world rankings, break the top five and go to the next level, it’s absolutely vital I improve my technical skills.
I am very hopeful that the work that we did last week in Pontefract has given me a strong base to enter the season and make a really positive start to achieving all of my goals starting this week in Shanghai!
But one thing that's essential to giving yourself the best possible shot of a successful season is having the right racket in your paw!
When I was a kid growing up in Greymouth back home in NZ, I played the same Prince racket used by the great Peter Nicol and it was a bit of a dream of mine to one day have my own racket with my name etched on the frame. Now with the V Lite 115 Control Paul Coll Signature, my dream has been realised and I owe a big thanks to Eye Rackets for that.
I've been involved in the design and production process pretty much the whole way through and at 115grammes the V.Lite 115 Paul Coll Signature feels just the way I like it… wicked!
It has whip and with the frame a little stiff, still has plenty feel and as the title suggests, combined with the fan string pattern, provides all the control you could want.
So for me it's the perfect weapon to wage war!
Well, I guess if you are reading this blog then you'll know it's been a pretty big summer for me with the highlight winning the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios, on Australia's Gold Coast.
That was a bit of a weird one for me as ultimately I lost the final against James Willstrop, who played some exceptional squash, but yet it was celebrated like a big, big win back home in New Zealand.
I have replayed the final in my mind a good few times over the summer and I have learned a lot from the experience believe me and also learned a lot about myself and at 26 I know that I still have unfinished business with the Commy Games.
But first I need to make the most of these lessons and that process starts in China this week!