12 May 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗
Conditioned games are used to improve certain aspects of a squash players’ skills, but they can also allow players of quite different standards to enjoy a competitive situation where both players have fun AND benefit from the time spent on court. Conditioned games focus players’ mind on execution NOT decisions, allowing them to practice in more real situations things they have learnt during coaching or learning sessions.
All that sounds fine in theory, but let’s look as some real examples. The most common condition game is called “Length Only”. This requires both players to hit every shot past the short line – that’s the one on the floor of the court that goes from one side wall to the other. As with proper squash, if the ball bounces on this line it is out!
During this “Length Only” condition game, it is important that both players move back to the T as in a real match. You can’t just stand around at the back. This type of game is generally not suitable for beginners as it requires the ability to hit the ball after it has hit the back wall, and most beginners can’t do that.
Variations on this game could include the better player being only able to hit straight drives or volleys, whereas the other player can hit straight and crosscourt. Yet another variation is that each player is allowed one short shot per rally. This additional condition focuses the mind of the players to very carefully select which shot to go short on.
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Often this game is used as a warm up game during longer training sessions, but if taken seriously can constitute the main activity during a training session.
Surely there must be more condition games? Yes, of course there are, but this articles isn’t an extensive list of them! By limiting what each player can do, you focus on particular aspects of a strategy or technique.
You don’t have to even score any condition games you play, although I generally recommend you do as that allows a serve and a service return to be played, as well making it a little more competitive.
I fondly remember practicing with Jahangir Khan for many hours where he could only hit straight drives and volleys to the back, while I could hit everywhere, and NO!, I didn’t even win one game.
Condition games are rallies where the shots players are allowed to play are limited. This is done to improve each player’s squash, focusing on technique or strategy.