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The Myth of the Unforced Error

I have been watching those full three matches that PSA Squash TV kindly made available for World Squash Day and a number of times I have heard the phrase "unforced error".

I feel that too many people have bought into this idea of an "unforced error", especially at the top end of the game.

You only need to see some of the most incredible "gets" to know that hitting a winner against these players is tough. Very tough.

Unless, the opponent has actually dropped their racket or some other unusual event, the probability is that whatever shot is played they have a chance of getting it.

Each and every point counts towards the 11, so there are no points where there is no pressure.

When a player misses what seems to be an "unforced error" it's because all the previous points have built a picture in their mind of what's possible. They have to hit close to the tin or sidewall. They have to make it as difficult as possible for their opponent.

There is a build up of constant pressure. There are almost no free shots in squash, even at club level. Some errors are wasteful, some silly and some downright stupid, but not, in my opinion, unforced.

So, the next time you see a shot being called an "unforced error", ask yourself is that really the best name for it.

This was originally published on on 14th October 2013

© Copyright 2020 Phillip Marlowe