Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Top mistakes on court movement

Problem and solutions related to court movement

Court movement is on the top 5 basic skills you need to develop in order to amp up your squash.
Lack of proper training get shown pretty obviously by the following mistakes.
  • Moving too much
  • Moving oblique
  • Going too near the side wall

Moving too much

Movement on court should flow and be as efficient as possible.
Probably the most hurtful advantage to a player who has a lot of stamina is the fact that he moves too much.

By constantly running a player can reach the opponent's shots, yet only by moving with complete control and uttermost efficiency can a player take control of the game.

When playing most players tend to run toward the ball just as an automatic reaction, instead try to plan your movement in a way that makes you able to reach the ball with the least effort and the most efficiency.

As i said often: Court movement is the skill of being able to move efficiently toward the ball in a way that lets you make a drive and eventually choose not to.

The habit of moving too much on court has many consequences: it cause the player to consume more energy, it forces the player to position himself in a way that is not optimal (which makes the shots inaccurate), it causes the player to rush to balls that he could otherwise reach without any effort (such as in situations that are related to the triangle theory, in which waiting causes your opponent to place himself in a position that is unfavourable).

Running too much causes also the mistake of staling in the T, which consists of a player reaching the T too soon, and then staying there with his feet on the ground, which causes to loose momentum and therefore causes the next sprint to be slower and more energy costly.

Solution: Take the effort of learning proper court movement, try to walk constantly instead of sprinting and stopping.
Move slower when you are close to reaching the T to make sure that you keep your momentum.
Realise that some shots are more effective if you wait on them.
Take big steps, especially the last one when reaching the ball.

Moving oblique

The tendency to go straight toward the ball has its maximum expression in moving oblique.
Whenever you move oblique you end up placing your body in a position that doesn't allow you much choice.
This movement pattern has many consequences depending on the level of the player.

At starting level this will force you to make every shot as a cross-court. You will always have your body slightly oriented toward the front wall and that will cause you to make a cross-court as i explain in the body shot theory.

At higher levels moving oblique will cause you to:
  • Reduce your precision because your body is oriented in an improper way.
  • Move too close to the side wall, especially against short shots (such as the drop), by moving oblique the last part of your swing will inevitably hit the side wall, making it harder to hit the ball.
Solution: You should move by staying in the center relative to the sidewall as much as you can and move toward the side only if the ball is good enough.

To make this movement trajectory a habit i suggest that you take a little amount of time every single time you go in the court to do some ghosting as I explain it in the court movement video.

Moving too near the side wall

As I've shown in the court movement video, the swing in squash should be done with an extended arm, this gives you the chance of reaching the side wall by doing only one step from the center.
However if you don't practice maintaining the proper distance from the side wall (as shown in the image below)

You will come too close to the side wall and smash your racket.
This is costly (for the racket), energy draining (as the time goes by you end up running twice as much as you should have), and it ultimately hinders the chances that you recover the ball.

Solution: Extend your arm and move toward the side wall. Place your racket against the side wall while maintaining the extended arm, now watch your front foot (left in the right side of the court, right on the left side of the court).
You must never move inside the area that is covered by the length of your arm.
To make this a habit try to do this simple reminder everytime you fail to recover a ball that is tightly near the side wall.