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.

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