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June 2021

Error Fluid – Time to stop looking at errors in purely binary terms. About six years ago, I wrote an article entitled “The Myth of the Unforced Error” where I argued many errors traditionally called “unforced” were actually forced. In this article, I am going to further develop that argument, but also offer two new terms to allow a more nuanced view of errors.

A New Type Of Error In Racket Sports

Let’s Start At The Beginning Let’s start with the basic proposition.  Having a binary definition for errors i.e. “Forced” and “Unforced” does not fully cover real match situations or circumstances. It doesn’t take into account many factors that I believe should be considered before we try to define the error. We all think the definition of an unforced is clear; “when the player could have hit the ball in” or even “you’ll know it when you see it”, but we only need to watch a few squash matches, especially professionals, to find ourselves in a quandary regarding some of those errors. I will be arguing that there are in fact three possible types of errors. In addition, I will also be advancing the theory that errors can be made because you are mentally under pressure. These are currently grouped into “unforced”, partly because there was no obvious physical reason to miss and partly because, as is my contention, the mental aspect is ignored. Miss, Frame & Strings To make things easier to visualise I am going to call the players A and B. Player A hits a shot and player B is trying to retrieve it. Player B is the one who “makes the error”. The actual court positions and type of shots are not important at this stage, except to say that player B has always moved significantly to reach the ball and the ball never rolls in the nick. I say this because ANYTHING else is essentially “getable”, “reachable”, “playable” or whatever word or phrase you want to use. Let’s look at a few possible scenarios. Scenario 1 – Miss: Player A hits a shot and player B attempts to return it, but the shot is too “good” and player B misses the ball completely. Because player B didn’t make contact with the ball we class this as a “winner”. This is never called an unforced error because B couldn’t even get there, so no error, right? An exception to this description could be…