The More Serious You Are, The Less Creative You Should Be

The connection between squash and chess has been made many times, and most people who play squash and know a little about chess seem to agree with the concept.

22 June 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗

I’ve always felt that squash has so much more variety than most other racket sports primarily because of the side and back walls. Whether the rectangle of walls and the similarity with a chess board are important I don’t know, but there’s almost certainly a connection.

black and white chess pieces and board

The King is dead, long live SQUASH!

A few days ago I read the following sentence in a subreddit about a chess website and it stuck in my mind.

The more serious you are, the less creative you will be in chess

I have no idea whether the author of this sentence is an international grand master or the village idiot – not that they are mutually exclusive or that it matters. What is important is whether the statement is true and not being a good chess player, I can’t tell you if it is or isn’t.

Two squash players playing, erm, squash!

Squash is sometimes called physical chess

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But it did get me thinking about whether it was true of squash or even other sports. Do you think that the higher ranked a player becomes, the less creative they play? On the surface, I think I agree, but perhaps the creativity is simply more nuanced.

You only need to visit any local sports centre or squash club in most countries and watch recreational players to see reverse boasts, serves at the receiver, weird almost undefinable shots that better players would avoid. Play those shots against a better player and they will eat you alive, but at this level they are often successful.

Final Thoughts

Most coaches have plenty of stories of trying to convince pupils to stop playing the reverse angle only to be told “but it wins me points!”.

So I am going to say that I think in principle, I agree with the statement, but with the caveat that the creativity at higher levels is more complex and subtle than the “Leisure Centre Boast” as the boys from Squash TV like to call it.

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I am a squash coach with nearly 40 years experience, teaching complete beginners through to professionals.

Currently, I call myself an "online squash coach" as I rarely coach on court.

I enjoy working with club players and strive to present information in an entertaining and engaging way.

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