Whether you’re a complete beginner or simply need some reminding of the basics, check out these ten squash tips that’ll hopefully help you get the best out of your time on the court.
Don’t rush into playing without an adequate warm-up. A good warm-up not only helps prevent common strains or sprains but also greatly increases the range of motion around joints. By improving the muscle elasticity around your joints you will increase your reach, bend deeper and be able to lunge further.
By spending 5-10 minutes warming up with your partner prior to play you will certainly increase your core body temperature, which in turn also helps optimise the function of your cardiovascular system and muscles. Moral of the story? Never skip the warm-up!
Dominate the T
The “T” is the centre of the court where the front line and half-court line meet (if you’re not sure which lines are which just check out this post). This is a great strategic point and positioning yourself here will allow you to do as little running around the court as possible. This is the best position available to be prepared for your next shot.
You should always try and aim to get to this position as soon as possible and hold it for as long as you can.
Mix it up
Vary your playing style to ensure that you don’t become predictable. It’s not always about hitting the ball as hard as you can – an unexpected drop shot can completely throw your opponent off guard.
If you’re unsure of the basic shots just check out this post.
Play close to the side wall
This is something you should keep in mind if you’re delivering a straight shot down the court – if you can angle the call so that it returns close to the side wall it’s very difficult for your opponent to get a good return.
You should use the corners and side walls of the court as often as you can in order to keep the ball tight to the wall.
Volley when possible
Hitting the ball before it bounces – or volleying the ball – is a sure fire way to keep your opponent on their toes. Not only does it give your opponent less time to recover, but it also keeps them moving.
When you can be sure to volley to a good length – keep them at the back of the court as much as you can while you take the T – until the opportunity arises to volley short and take them by surprise.
As often as you can you want the advantage of being able to read your opponent’s play, so conversely you also want to make it difficult for your opponent’s to read yours. Learn a few deceptions in order to keep your opponents guessing. A deception can force your opponent into a time-consuming change of direction and give you a tactical advantage.
Learn how to disguise your shots by the making the moves of one but playing another, or show the intentions of hitting the ball with force only to perform a gentle drop-shot.
Keep your eyes on the ball
It may sound obvious, but never take your eye off the ball. Watch the ball strike your racquet, watch the ball strike your opponent’s racquet, and watch the ball when it goes behind you.
Knowing where the ball is at all times will ensure a more successful return and will allow you to predict it’s movement off your opponent’s racquet.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the ball moves hard and fast, so for safety reasons it’s never wise to take your eyes off it!
Squash is one of the most intense sports you can play and so it’s vital that you remain hydrated in order to keep your energy levels up. Keep a bottle of water just outside the door, or if you’re playing an informal game you and your opponent might decide to keep your bottles beneath the tine. Just keep in mind that if you keep the bottles in court that they may interfere with your game.
Have a good sip or two between each game and finish the bottle after your session if there’s any left. In order to keep hydrated however be sure to drink another bottle in the time immediately following your session.
Don’t rush a winning shot
You might be tempted to always want to go for that winning shot but being successful at squash is as much about avoiding errors. Unless you’re clearly set up to take a winning shot then rushing will increase the chance of errors being made.
Waiting for the right moment such as your opponent playing a loose shot (one that comes out from the side wall) or being on the back foot before going for the winner.
And finally…think before you say “good shot”!
Before you think I’m recommending playing mind-games to undermine your opponents successes, what I really mean is ask yourself “was it a good shot?”
We often say to our opponents “good shot” when they win a rally – and we should continue to do so – but what I’m suggesting here is that their success may very well be down to our poor placing of the ball rather a particularly excellent shot on their behalf. If we continue to hand our opponent’s good opportunities then they will continue to have “good shots”!
Think about how your opponent was able to win the rally. Did you make a mistake and simply hand them the ball? Could you have chosen a different shot or played another angle? Keep assessing your game and trying not to make the same mistakes over and over.