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Shot and a Ghost: A year in the brutal world of professional squash Paperback – 1 Mar 2012
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From the Back Cover
Funny, sad and uplifting, Shot and a Ghost is the story of one extraordinary year in the life of top squash player James Willstrop.
In a unique insight, Willstrop pulls no punches on the demands of being one of England's top squash players: the globe-trotting, the loneliness and the tremendous highs and lows.
A must for any sports fan, Willstrop reveals his inner-most thoughts as he attempts to progress from a medal-laden junior career to winning the sport's greatest prizes.
He talks candidly about playing world-class sport as a vegan, his off-court relationships with his girlfriend and father, the rigorous training and the problems he faced carrying on after the death of his mother from cancer.
About the Author
James Willstrop was born in Norfolk in 1983 before moving to Yorkshire. He is a former world junior champion, became world No 1 in the January 2012 rankings and has won over 80 caps for England. He writes a regular column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Rod Gilmour is a sports journalist at The Daily Telegraph. He has written on squash since 2008 and will relish the day when the IOC vote the sport onto the Olympic programme.
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Top Customer Reviews
Willstrop writes openly and sincerely about the life of a professional squash player, and he doesn't write at all badly. It's been a while since I was this engrossed in a book. That said, if I were to be overly critical, I have a couple of niggles. When you're slumped on the sofa with a packet of crisps, the in-depth descriptions of the various physical jerks and shot-by-shot replays of major matches are a little tiring and a tadette tedious. I would also have appreciated more mention and understanding of the rôle played by the referees - the players think they have it tough! They don't have to put up with the petulent hissy-fits that players of every level who have never read the rules put the referees through! But that's understandable - I'm a referee ...
In all honesty I can't imagine that people who have not played squash would enjoy this book - most of it would not mean much to them, from the title onwards. But if you play squash chances are you'll enjoy this. Good job James!
A bit like those robotic American collegiate golfers who all look, speak and play the same way. All sound bites and sugar. Yawn, yawn...bring me John Daly.
If I'm honest, that view of JW is based on the square route of bugger all. Never met the man, unlikely to do so. Seen him on the telly, watched him play on SquashTV, read a bit about him. That's enough. Great player, very pleasant...move on.
Enter Shot and a Ghost. Silly title, what's that all about? Well, actually, it's about quite a lot.
It's about a remarkable young man so complex, multi-layered and fragile of mind that a quick re-write of my take on him might be in order.
Turns out he is everything I admire and enjoy about sports stars, and people in general.
Bland, he ain't. Complex, interesting and insecure he most certainly is. As for honesty...this guy makes Abe Lincoln appear like a cheap car salesman from South London.
He is a driven man, no doubting that. The book will take you inside the mind of an incredibly gifted squash player who prepares and trains as hard and meticulously as any athlete on earth. Footballers fit? Do me a favour.
You are not left guessing what Willstrop thinks of his rivals. He certainly doesn't hide behind half-truths and PR speak when assessing World No.1 and arch foe Nick Matthew. There's respect, but delivered with gritty honesty laced with plenty of attitude.
His relationship with Malcolm Willstrop, father, coach, mentor and hero is revealing and engrossing.Read more ›
I couldn't help wanting a bit more on tactics against players and the development of his unique playing style, but I suppose it's not a coaching manual.
Most enjoyable was reading about those matches that I had watched on psalive, especially Canary W '10, and the world open final, where you get a shocking insight into how his mind and body were working at the time of play.
The "brutal" description is bang on, mentally and physically. Really hope this gains more publicity for a fantastic sport! Sequel please!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read it and now my 11 year old squash playing son is reading it. Really enjoyed it.Published 5 months ago by Alan Murray
If you like sports books or just squash you will like this. I have played squash and so enjoyed it more for that reason.Published on 26 Dec. 2014 by ashley pascoe
Good read for any squash player and something more valuable than most sport biographies.Published on 26 Oct. 2014 by Mac D
I have known James since he was born and watched his career closely, together with the support he has had from Malcolm. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2014 by deejay
love squash love this book as intense as the game, guy is really different for a great champion very vunerablePublished on 20 Dec. 2013 by Pr Walker
My knowledge of squash goes no further than playing three or four games a year. I certainly don't know what nicking or ghosting is. But it doesn't really matter. Read morePublished on 5 Aug. 2013 by Sport Nut