Lisa Aitken talks squash, goals, illness, motivation and coffee (of course!)

We are delighted to have Lisa tell us all about what motivates her, more about the sport and her plans to take over the world!

I first started playing squash at the age of 9. At the age of 10 I entered my first junior tournament in Aberdeen. Winning straight sets in the final I was spotted by Pat Nicol, the former Scottish national coach and father to Peter Nicol, a previous world no.1.

I had an outstanding junior career, making the final of every junior domestic tournament. I also won every Nationals title from the under 11 to the under 19 category, the only female to do so. I soon dispersed to the European junior circuit and I reached top 3 in my age group before becoming number 1 in the under 15 and 17 category.

I was the youngest female to ever be capped for Scotland, and in the same year given the Most Valuable Player award in the senior team.

I turned down the opportunity to go to University to turn professional and dedicate my life to my squash career. I gained more than 40 caps at senior level and was selected to represent Scotland in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where I reached two quarter final positions in the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles. Since returning from Delhi I have competed full time on the professional tour and moved up 140 places in the World Rankings to a career high of 38 in the world.

Last year I made a very big decision in my career. I made a switch to play for England and ceased my career with Scottish Squash. I did this due to a number of reasons. The main reason was to better my squash and put myself in a position where I am involved with a world class set up involving technical coaches, strength and condition coaches, psychologists and so on. England, for as long as I can remember have run the best programme any country has seen, and therefor has produced the best players the circuit has seen. This was something I had to be part of, to better myself and to get the most out of my sporting life as I could.

Now flying under the English flag I can already feel myself progressing rapidly as an athlete and as a person. My goal in the next 24 months is to break into the top 20 players in the world. The 2014/15 season has probably been the worst and best moment of my career so far.

In August 2014 whilst competing at a event in Malaysia I was diagnosed with Dengue Fever, a horrible disease from a local mosquito! Whilst recovering from Dengue Fever I accumulated a number of viruses and have been forced out of action for 9 months. During this phase I had time out from the sport to get my health back, this of course as you can imagine has been brutal, and that’s why I say it has been the worst moment of my career. But fortunately I have been able to reflect on my time as a professional athlete and have a different out look going back in to the sport. I have been able to assess what has been working and what hasn’t, and how I’m going to move forward upon returning to professional squash being able to squeeze the best out of myself to reach my goals.

Every athlete will say the aim to be the best they can be. This of course I agree with, but then I think what if the best I can be is 10 in the world? I don’t think I will be satisfied with that, I want to be THE best, if my limit is 10 in the world, I will find a way to go beyond the limits!

I believe that if I train to the best of my ability day in day out, paying attention to detail and pushing myself to the limits, anything is possible.

Having been to a Commonwealth Games before that is another big goal. There is no better feeling than getting the chance to perform on the big stage. An event like the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of our sport. A Gold Medal in singles and doubles will be a massive target for me in 2018, Gold Coast Australia.


Lisa Aitken drinks Get in the Mood coffee

Why I love coffee and Coffee Buddies…

Fortunately for me, being a coffee buddies fanatic comes hand in hand with its powerful performance enhancing effects. For me, Brilliant Raccoon gives me the edge to push limits during tough competition and brutal training sessions to also promoting my recovery by helping me restore glycogen at a quicker rate. From those benefits alone, and the three being only a small number of caffeine gains, it makes sipping on my coffee buddies an absolute pleasure, especially when the high quality Arabica beans form a tasty well rounded cup for all round fuel!

Lisa Aitken, Professional Squash Player

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