I’ve recently returned from Spain, where I spent two and a half weeks with the family, taking a well earned rest!
As with previous trips to Spain, a little bit of squash training was scheduled. This time, we spent some time with Xavi Blasco and Tony Griffin at their base in Santa Cristina, near Girona.
A few weeks ago, I saw a promo vid from fellow Eye Rackets Pro, Paul Coll, where he was using these really cool touch pads on court to train with. Basically, Paul places these touch pads at various points on the court (typically in the corners). When they light up, he moves to them and touches the light to turn it off.
They’re made by A-Champs and they’re call ROXs. The concept was so impressive that ASICS even invested in the business, which is a pretty glowing endorsement!
You design a training routine around the ROXs on your phone (you can name and save the drills), which can be timed - how many touches you can do in the time allowed or quantified - how quickly you can hit the desired number of ROXs. The data received from the sessions even includes reaction times. You can use the ROXs app to track the progress of the those you’re coaching too!
The ROXs can be set to random, so if you place the pads at certain points of the court and start the exercise, the player will definitely be kept on their toes. The player is alerted to which pad to touch by different coloured lights and even sounds. They’re also good to use for static exercises, such as planking, sit-ups etc (they also come with straps and cases).
The awesome thing about ROXs is that they make training highly competitive and fun at the same time. If you have a big group of players and coaches, you can even get them working together, in teams, to achieve goals. The ultimate aim of ROXs is to help facilitate better movement and conditioning through making sessions more varied and, most importantly, FUN!
What got me really interested in them is that most kids work to short term targets and love hitting the ball and playing games, rather than doing endless court sprint and ghosting sessions! Most kids (and adults) don’t look at small things making a difference in the long term and it’s very difficult to motivate them to do the hard yards when not fun! The ROXs pads are a really clever way to get players doing the hard yards.
My son absolutely loved his sessions in Spain with the ROXs... so much so that I ended up buying 6 pads the week I got back from Spain. To make something really clear, they’re not cheap. But, they’re a serious piece of kit. Professional athletes all over the world are using them, including the most relentless and dynamic mover on a squash court, Paul Coll. A big thank you to Xavi for introducing the ROXs to us. If you're in Spain, he's your man to contact!
I received the ROXs yesterday and brought them up to Cardiff with me to start setting them up. A couple of kids at my son’s national squad even had a little go with them and they seemed to really enjoy the experience.
In summary, these are 21st century training tools which I think could be a really big weapon in the armoury of any coach or aspiring player. Not often I’m taken aback by a new product on the market. But the ROXs are exceptional. A+ score from me!