Thursday, 30 May 2013

What to do if you throw a ball in the center

What should you do if your ball comes back to the center.

This is the other side of the perspective that i talked about in the Triangle Theory Article.
What i believe is that you must always move in a way that allows you to rapidly come to the center, whenever you throw  a ball that comes back to the center you must run twice as fast and surpass your opponent and stay to his side so that if he makes a drop shot you can retrieve that ball.

Of course by doing so you will be at risk if your opponent makes a perfectly calculated drive, yet it is better to counter with a slow defencive boast than to give the point right away if your opponent makes a drop shot.

The idea is that you must be in the nearest place to the center.

Physically talking if your opponent is in the center you cannot go there, but you can come as close as you can to it if you go over your opponent to his side.

From that position you will have many more choices than to wait behind your opponent.
In fact the more you are stale on your feet the harder will be for you to move.

Instead from up in the court you will have a chance to forestall your opponent's shot (if he makes a drive), you will easily retrieve a drop shot and if your opponent makes a cross court you will actually gain an advantage.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Squash Tactics Video Tutorial

The Basic Tactics Of Squash

Squash is a fast paced game and you must first understand this game in order to play it well.

The basic tactics explained in the video are:

-Always come back to the centre

The centre is the nearest point to all the corners, when you are playing such a good squash that you are leading the game you will find that you are in the centre most of the time.
Yet playing well is useless if you don't have the habit of always coming back to the centre no matter what.

You see, if you don't always try to come back to the centre, there will be a time in which your opponent (by seeing you) will capitalise on this occasion and score.

When i talk about coming back to the centre i don't necessarily talk about going in the T.
There are times in which staying in the T can be harmful, for example if you make a strong drive that bounces high off the back wall.

Anyway although you don't always need to come to the T you must always stay in the centre relative to the side walls.
This is because you are always just one step from the side wall. Instead if you stay in one side of the court you are giving aways a great advantage to your opponent.

So as i teach you in my court movement tutorial: Always come to the centre relative to the side walls, and eventually come to the T.

-Use the Drive efficiently

The drive is the meat of this game.
By properly using this shot you will always force your opponent on the back of the court.

What you must understand is that the drive is not necessarily a shot made to score a quick point, it is a shot used to build your game.

Use it as a foundation.

The drive works like this:
You always make a drive, no matter what your opponent makes.
This way your opponent will have to go into the back corner and you will be able to control the centre of the court.
When you are in control of the T and therefore in control of the game you just have to keep using the drive until your opponent makes a bad shot.

Then it is time for the long short alternation tactic.

-Alternate long and short shots

The most basic tactics of squash states: Throw the ball in the corners, always where your opponent is not.

I'd change this tactic and suggest that you make many drives and whenever your opponent makes a shot that is not good (check my triangle theory for in depth explanation of the geometry behind a good or a bad shot) you simply make a drop shot.

This is the most simple yet most consistent tactic in the game.

Use the drive -> force your opponent in the corner -> make a drop shot. Wash/ Rinse/ Repeat.

The way squash works is that you and your opponent are on what is called PAR in golf until one of you makes a shot that is better than the one of the other.

Whenever this happens one player will be in disadvantage, he will actually have a little delay on the ball in respect to the player in advantage.

The way the delay gets managed depends on both players.

As a general rule if one player makes a great drive that is aimed at the back corner the game returns to a par or the table gets turned.

What i suggest to you is that every time your opponent is in delay you speed up the game a little so that the delay will actually cause an error.

-Watch your opponent

Watching your opponent is really crucial in two important ways:

  • To understand what shot will he be doing
  • To decide what shot you want to do

When playing at a low-medium level you can watch the body of your opponent, in fact the body is a accurate indicator of which shot is going to be played.

Instead when you play at an advanced level i suggest that you only watch the ball. That's because one of the pros's aim is to always fake their body communication.

So, whenever you are on court:
Always watch the ball, when you have to play it and when you have already played it.
When your opponent is going to make a shot always be aware of where the ball will go.

This is the crucial point. After your opponent makes a shot, you just need a millisecond to understand where the general direction of the ball is. As i suggested in the court philosophy article you should move in an way that leaves no room for error. 

The great new tweak i suggest you add is that when you are moving for the ball, you should turn your head to watch where your opponent is.
This ways you will know which is the best shot for the occasion.

-Be unpredictable

Easy said, hard done.
To be unpredictable is hard to explain, i suggest that you make sure to alternate some shots at specific points.

For example when you are near the front corner the standard moves are the drop shot and the cross court. But you can also do an attacking boast or a lob.

As a general rule do two of the standard shot and then change to something else.

This way your opponent won't be able to read you as an open book.

If you always watch your opponent and mix things up you will find it pretty easy to dominate on court.

Another shot that i love is the attacking boast when your opponent makes a cross-court or a drive.

There are situations in which your opponent makes a shot that is not good enough to force you in the back and you can make the boast in the meantime when your opponent is recovering to the T.
If used with moderation it usually gets an easy point.

Another shot that is surprising is the cross-court from the back wall done at the last second.
If you wait to retrieve a ball from the back wall your opponent will generally assume you are going to make a boast or a drive. If you instead move your body at the last second and make a cross-court you will surprise your opponent.

To wrap up i recommend you to play with consistency and always do in game what you practise in training.
Don't try to be a phenomenon, because the best is the one that has all the fundamentals down.

Friday, 17 May 2013

How To Make A Lob Video Tutorial

How to make a lob

What is a lob?

A lob is a slow and high shot that goes from that is typically done from the front area of the court and lands in the back corner.

It can be done both as a drive and as a cross court.

How do you make a lob?

To perform a lob you first have to make sure that your racket plate is facing upwards, then proceed to aim at the highest point on the front wall and make a feeble shot.

The lob is well known for the fact that if it is not retrieved with a volley it will typically score a point.

In fact you have to make sure that the ball reaches the far end of the back of the court and doesn't bounce from the back wall.

When Should I Make A Lob?

The lob is a funny shot, and it is also lethal is properly executed.
You should make a lob in two particular situations:

  1. When you are near the front wall and should make a drop shot, you can opt for a lob to mix things up
  2. When your opponent makes a drop shot and he is behind you, in order to avoid getting a stroke, you can make a lob. This will force your opponent on the back of the court.

Extra: Only for readers: Exercises for working on the lob.

Other than the lame exercises that you can do by yourself by making a boast and then making a lob, you can find a partner and do this amazing exercise:

Both players have to start from the T:
  • One player will make the lob (and therefore play in the front side of the court)
  • The other will make the volley

You can do this exercise and practise both a drive lob or a cross-court lob.
The player that does the volley will have a fun and hard time trying to catch your balls, he can do both a volley boast or a drop-shot (both on the same side of the court and in the opposite side of the court).

I suggest you try this exercise, it will be a lot of fun!

Free 15 page E-book and Newsletter!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Backhand Technique Evolution

Hey wassup!

When you start playing squash the first thing you want to understand is this simple formula:

  1. Open
  2. Step 
  3. Swing
The bachand swing can be pretty tricky when starting out.

Note that in order to make a drive you will have to face the side wall hence it can feel a bit strange because you are not watching the front wall directly.

An important factor is that you rotate the wrist so that the racket plate is facing upwards, i say to my student that when they open the backhand is like they are accellerating on a moped.

When starting out you can prepare the shot by simply closing the shoulder and make the swing by opening the arm-pit.

Instead to make a great backhand swing you must also bend your elbow.
A great way to understand how to make the backhand swing consists of hugghing yourself, then remove the arm without the racket and just let the swing go.

The greatness of this technique is that by reducing the space your racket occupies you will be able to retrieve the balls from the back wall in an easier way.

Train hard and have fun!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Forehand Swing Learning Curve Video Tutorial

The Forehand Swing Technique In Squash

When I'm teaching a concept to someone, I'm not necessarily telling them the best advice I have. 
My rule is that I teach you what you can implement right now and then I will make sure that you learn the good stuff.

So, when I was talking about the swing I left the last stage of its development uncovered.

This last stage is the purpose of this article.

Just a quick recap if you haven't checked the other video:

  • To make a swing you must open, to open just position the racket in a way that let's you make a shot.
  • When you are good at hitting the ball and you want to make a stronger shot, just open by placing the racket higher (over the height of your shoulder).

When you consistently open the racket but put your arm extended, it is time to bend the elbow so that the racket is pointing toward you.

By doing so you will be able to retrieve the ball from the back wall, that is because you will reduce the space you need to make a shot.

Obviously you will extend the forearm when doing the swing.

So this is the new level of forehand swing technique. Here's the video!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Introduction to Squash - Video Tutorial

A complete introduction to squash

This is a 4 minutes video introduction to squash, in this video are explained the basic concepts of Squash's:
  • Rules
  • Service
  • Shots
  • Court movement
  • Tactics

Introduction to squash

Squash is a fast paced game in which two or four players with rackets and non-marking shoes come into court to play.
Whenever the ball hits the front wall it's the opponent's turn to hit the ball.

To achieve the goal of making the ball reach the front wall you can use all the walls.

The ball can bounce on the floor once, but if you can/want you can use the volley.

How to score points in squash

For you to score a point your opponent has to:
  • Let the ball bounce twice on the floor when it is his turn to hit it
  • Throw the ball against the floor
  • Throw the ball Down (under the lower line called the Tin)
  • Throw the ball Out (over the highest line)
  • Get hit by the ball

Extra: Let and Stroke

There are certain situations in which the two players find themselves to be stuck.
It can happen that a player prevents the other to reach the ball.
For this reason two important judgements that can only be decided by the referee have been created.

The let and the Stroke.
A let is played when one opponent's prevent the other player to reach a ball that he would otherwise retrieve without complications.

Instead if the player would make a shot that goes directly into the front wall and by doing so the ball would hit his opponent, then if the player stops the referee would call a stroke and assign a point to the player.

The serve, how to make the rally start.

The serve is a crucial shot in squash because you have total control over it.

The three rules for making a serve are:
  1. You must have a foot inside the serve box while making the serve.
  2. The ball must go directly into the front wall over the middle line.
  3. If it is not hit by volley, the ball must bounce on the opposite quarter of court.

The basic shots of squash, a introduction

This are the four basic shots of squash.
  1. The Drive
  2. The Cross Court
  3. The Boast
  4. The Drop Shot
Mastering this four shots grants you the ability of controlling the game.

Moving on court 

Court movement is an important prerequisite to squash mastery.
In order to develop this skill you must understand the concepts behind it:

  1. Court movement is done in a way that always let you make a drive and eventually choose not to.
  2. Whenever you have done a shot you must come back to the T.
  3. Stay in the centre relative to the side walls.
To efficiently move on court you will have to do a lot of ghosting, an exercise in which you move around the court by following a specific step by step pattern.

Squash Tactics

When playing squash you must understand that the best shot you can make is a perfect drive that goes near the side wall with the ball that dies in the corner.

Take this instruction as a general squash tactics blueprint:
  1. Stay in the centre, throw the ball in the corners
  2. Throw the ball where your opponent is NOT
  3. Alternate Long and Short shots
  4. Spice it up but not too much
A rally in squash is usually made of many drives that are used to force the opponent in the corner, and when the response of the opponent comes to the centre you typically make a drop shot to score.

Thanks for your attention, ask me any question!