Wednesday 11 December 2013

How much court should you walk on?

Efficiency in court movement

When moving in the squash court you should consider trying to move as less as possible whilst being able to control the center. 

The whole idea of efficiency consists of getting the job done whilst consuming the least amount of energy possible.

There are some fundamental concepts behind efficiency on court movement, those are:
  • Always come back to the center.
  • Move by following the shortest way to the ball (a straight line).
  • You know that concistency and accuracy of your shots is more important than making a single great shot.
  • You use the drive to build your rally and wait for your opponents mistakes.
After having internalized these concepts moving efficiently on court will be an afterthought in fact if you are looking for a way to constantly dominate your opponent you will want to play in a patient and effective way.

Having said that to move efficiently on court you need to realize two things:
  1. You have to extend your arm while hitting the ball, therefore you can stay far away from the ball when you actually hit it.
  2. There are parts on the court in which a playable ball (i.e. a ball that is not a perfect closing shot) will never go, therefore the court in which you should move and play is smaller than the actual court.

1-Extend yourself

By extending your racket when hitting the ball you are going to throw stronger shots.
Also by having a distant impact point you are going to need to move less toward the ball.

This also implies that there are parts of the court in which you should never walk on, for example you must always stay a good step away from the side wall, by not doing so you are going to hit the wall with your racket.

Check my distance from the ball video for insights and exercises.

2-The ball doesn't bounce on all of the court

We can divide squash's shots in 2 categories: Attacking and Defencive.

A defensive shot is going to be slow and high whilst and attacking shot is low and fast.

If you are an intermediate to advanced player you know when to switch between shots, because that's a fundamental skill you need to develop to build your rally and gain early advantage.

To further increase your understanding watch this video:

Both shots have something in common, they are ideally thrown near the backwall.
Fact is that when playing we are not perfectly accurate all the time, and the ball won't always be as precise as we want it.

What will happen is that the ball will come back from the backwall sometimes,and when it does you can realize that even if the ball was near the backwall for a moment, when it is actually played it is far away from it.

The same goes for every single shot in squash, unless it is perfect it will come out of the perfect spot in which it was unretrievable.

What I'm trying to say is that every ball in squash can be retrieved provided that you are in the correct position to do so.

Therefore there are some areas of the court (which are near the front and backwall) in which you'll never have to retrieve a all because it will never come there.

A note on why the all goes even in those spots
Sometimes the all will go where you can't retrieve it, but the nature of this sport is such that if the all goes there it means that you haven't tried to get it before.

Basically every time the all goes in a deadspot if you analize its trajectory you can understand that you should have tried to retrieve it before it went there.

A classic example is a perfect attacking shot, this shot can e sometimes unretrievale because the all doesn't com back of the backwall, but if you were to try to retrieve it before it went in the back of the court you would not have had any prolem.

That's why an attacking shot must be build with the rally, you can't simply do it and hope. Unless your opponent is away from the T the accuracy of the shot won't be enough because what you really need to score is that your opponent is in such a position that it doesn't allow him to reach the all in the perfect spot.

Now that you know this you can start planning ahead of your moves and realize where you really need to work on to become a master tactician on court.

Saturday 7 December 2013

The advanced court movement

A new definition of court movement

As i defined it before court movement is the skill of reaching the ball in a way that allows you to reach the ball and make a drive.

However for advanced players making a drive is not an issue, therefore their kind of court movement is going to be based on the idea of moving as efficiently as possible in a manner that increase your advantage, giving you the most powerful offensive options.

The way an advanced player moves on court is straightforward, they just move toward the ball in a straight line.

Then how come did i told you about moving as a horse piece in chess and to use the proper foot? 
The fact is that advanced court movement is way harder than it sounds, first of all you need to have the habit of coming into the T without having your feet stale, second it requires that you are accurate on your shots ad comfortable with using both feet and last but more importantly it requires you to have complete control of your torso for your shots.

As you may know we have a defined impact point for forehand and backhandi told you that by rotating your body you can change the shots you make, the fact is that you can do it also by simply rotating your torso ad using your wrist.

By changing the inclination of your wrist you are going to change the inclination of the racket plate at the moment of impact with the ball, instead by rotating your torso you'll actively move your impact point.

As you can see when you have this kind of racket skills it is fairly simple to move however you please and still be accurate.

An exercise to master the control of your torso

Here's a step you can take right now to rapidly be able to implement this information:
practice alone by staying near the front wall to rotate your torso to make different shots, you should be able to perform a drive, cross court and boast with your feet pointing at any direction, just by rotating your torso.

An advanced exercise consists of doing the number 8 which i call the butterfly, this is a famous exercise that can be done both with volley or by letting the ball bounce on the floor and consists of staying in the center of the court throwing the ball alternatingly in both front corners.

You can do this exercise to work on the volley, your accuracy and speed of preparation of the shot. However if you wish to learn how to rotate your torso you must do it without making a single step.

Once you become able to control your torso, wrist and to move in a straight line you will start to feel how and when to make some feign shots and it will be time for you to learn the secrets of deception.

Thursday 5 December 2013

How to retrieve the ball from the backwall, conceptual approach.

Retrieving the ball from the backwall. A theoretical approach.

This is the theoretical perspective behind retrieving the ball from the backwall.

This concepts will be hard for you to understand until you have some practical experience, if you want some practical steps you can check this 2 videos.

The concept behind retrieving the ball from the backwall

The concept behind the fact that retrieving the ball from the backwallis hard is that the position of your body determines shots you make.

If you were to face the sidewall directly and have the ball in your impact point you will make a drive.

The problem with a ball near the backwall is that when moving there most players turn their body toward the back corner, forcing them to make a boast.

Imagine that your impact point is in front of you,like a straight line. 
If you have the ball behind you, the only way to have the ball inside the impact point is to rotate yourself, however if you can move closer to the ball while keeping your body facing the sidewall you are going to make a drive.

The problem with a ball near the backwall is that when moving there most players turn their body toward the back corner, forcing them to make a boast.

This is why the side step shown in the second video is so useful. In fact it allows you to move toward the backwall while keeping you facing the sidewall.

So, when thinking about retrieving the ball from the backwall try to find a way to have the ball in front instead of behind you.