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August 2022

The first question to ask yourself is why is it your favourite shot. Is it because you enjoy playing it or is it because you believe it to be successful?

Why Is The Second Bounce In Squash So Important?

I’ve said many times that your training should focus on your weaknesses not your strengths. It’s easy to fall into the trap of perform drills that you a re good at. It’s a re-enforcing circle. Spending time working on the things that need improving is so important. It requires discipline and dedication. Now transfer that concept to match situations. First, you need to figure out what your favourite shot is and why it’s your favourite shot. The interesting thing is that often a shot becomes a favourite shot early on. Perhaps it provided success at that time or you were the only one who played it in your regular group. There could be many reasons. The easiest way to find out is to simply be honest with yourself. If that doesn’t work or you really can’t see the answer, try asking your playing partners or videoing yourself playing and watch it. Forgive me if I repeat this too often, but my favourite shot was the volley boast, followed by the crosscourt from the back. With regard to the volley boast, I distinctly remember wrong-footing some players and it made a lasting impression upon me. The same goes for the crosscourt from the back. I was obsessed with surprising people with a flick when they thought I could only go straight. In both cases the root cause was getting my opponent by surprise. The problem is that just because you catch somebody by surprise, doesn’t mean it’s a great shot. Once I stop playing both, my squash improved. So, if your favourite shot is based on false information, then stopping it should only bring benefits. Your more effective shots will be played more and your game should improve. You will essentially be removing “dead wood” and what is left is stronger and more useful. Think of it as a tactical culling. Now, let’s assume you are smarter than I am and…

Yes, absolutely! In fact, it’s one of the best things a beginner can do to improve. Ideally, you should have coaching when you first start so that you don’t develop bad habits.

What Are Conditioned Games In Squash?

As I said, if you can have coaching when you first start to play ANY sport, that will likely save you a lot of trouble in the future. In general, beginners tend to use the wrong grip because it feels most comfortable and swing in a way that ensure maximum chance to hit the ball – which sounds sensible, but it’s a short-term success. As you get better, you will begin to realise the limitation you have created. Fear not though, because learning the correct technique doesn’t take too long and will allow you to play shots from all parts of the court with proficiency. Why Practice Alone? The point of playing a sport is, well, playing! Running around, trying to win points and having fun are all part of the “playing”, and for beginners that’s often enough to see quick improvement. However, not everybody has a playing partner that is available as often as they want to play or as enthusiastic. And squash is one of the few sports where playing alone is not only possible, but with some planning can be a lot of fun. The Benefits When you play against somebody you hit every other shot. When practicing alone you hit EVERY shot. That means twice as much practice. It sounds a little silly, but by being on court alone you are doubling your practice hits. Secondly, your partner might not be exactly the same standard as you, so it’s possible playing against them could be either too hard or too easy. Playing alone also allows you to focus on YOUR weaknesses and the things YOU want to improve. I want to stress this point. When practicing alone, you should spend 75% of your time on your weaknesses. It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing the things you like and are good at, and neglect the things that need improvement. During solo practice, you also…

Improvement is NOT linear. Not only that each person plateaus and jumps at different points in their progression. Here are some things that should help you break free of your plateau.

Firstly, let me clarify what a plateau is in the context of your squash. It’s a period of time where you don’t seem to improve. Perhaps when you first start to play, it feels that almost every time you step on court you are better than your were the last time. It may feel that within a few weeks, months at most, you’ll be beating players who have been playing years. But then reality walks on court with you and slaps you across the face with the harsh truth: IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY! You might have reached your plateau but not noticed yet, or you might have passed one in the past. But it reminds of the say in I.T.: “There are two types of people: those who have lost data and those who will lose data”. Meaning eventually everybody loses data. And it’s the same with progress plateaus. If you haven’t had one yet, don’t worry you will. Progress plateaus happen in all endeavours. Gym goers know that there are times when you just can’t seem to lift heavier weights. Now, I don’t profess to be a fitness expert, but I do know there is something called “deloading”, which is where you use lower weights for a short period of time. This helps break the plateau. Sports that require skill as well as fitness, as opposes to sports that rely 95% of fitness, not only have to take fitness aspects into account, but also technique and tactics. It’s important to note that even if you are training really hard, plateaus can still happen. A plateau is not because you are lazy either. Sometimes it just takes time for your training to show its effect. Consideration Number 1 Are you expecting change too quickly? Generally, when you first start playing, even small changes to your fitness bring better results, or little changes to your technique or tactics mean you…

Yesterday, I wrote about maximising your ghosting sessions, and today I’d like to talk about a way to fuse hitting drills with Ghosting.

Squash Tips, Drills and Training Advice

Nick Matthew reaching for a short ball.

For many people, doing a 45-minute ghosting session is too much and in the same vein, doing a 45-minute drill session is also too much. You’ve got to be really fit to last for 45 minutes just ghosting. More importantly what kind of ghosting should you do? How much intensity? Which area of the court should you focus on? and many other questions. Similarly, if you hit the ball for 45-minute, either alone or with a partner, what should you do? Do you do the same drill for a long time? No, don’t do that, and here’s why. What you need is a way to keep your training interesting, but effective. A drill and a ghost is that way. It’s As Simple As It Sounds Perform one hitting drill for a set time or number of shots (I prefer time) and then take a 5 or 10-second break. Then begin to ghost for a set time or set number of shots (again, I prefer a set time). Take another 5 or 10-second break and do a different hitting drill (or the same one if you are really ambitious and focused), followed by a ghost and so on and so forth. One thing to mention, during the ghosting session, hold the ball tightly in your non-racket hand. That should keep it warm. The Benefits Right, that’s the basic concept. The multiple hitting drills allows you to do develop your skills faster without getting bored. The ghosting sessions allows you to improve your fitness and footwork, while keeping the high intensity. In addition, when hitting after a short ghosting session, you recreate a little of the feeling you get in real matches. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than simply standing and hitting with no pressure. Why The Set Time, Not Set Number Of Shots? I prefer the set time as opposed to the set number of shots or movements because you…

Ghosting is moving around the squash alone with the intention of improving your fitness and/or your movement technique.

What Is Ghosting In Squash?

I want to preface this article by saying that I do plan to make a video about this very soon. Until then, here’s the text version. So, as I said in the introduction; ghosting is moving about the court, usually alone, to improve your fitness and/or your movement technique. Often we just say “movement”, but it’s important to realise that movement *is* technique. How you move your body is no different from how you move your arm when swinging. Ghosting is a fantastic training method when done properly. I become very frustrated when I see instagram reels of people “ghosting” because they are wasting their time. Their attention is not on what they are doing and nothing they do translates into better movement during matches. So here are my tips to make your ghosting sessions as effective as possible. 1. Play A Rally In Your Mind I’m starting with this one because it is fundamental to what follows. Your mind MUST be on everything you do. Repeating an action while thinking about your shopping list is not an effective use of your time. Ghosting is no different from any other training. If you do it aimlessly then you are not training properly. Pretend to actually watch the ball hit your strings, pretend to watch your opponent and move around the court in random patterns – just like a real rally. 2. Start With A Serve Or Service Return In real games and matches, you always start with either a serve or service return and your ghosting should be no different. If you serve, you could actually use a red dot ball. Just be careful where it rolls. This is a simple concept, but it adds to the realism of the training. Plus we all need to practice our serve and service return more. 3. Forget The Simple Star Pattern Watch any club rally around the world and the concept of…

You might think that all squash balls except the one for glass courts are black, but you’d be wrong.

How I Create My Racket Reviews

Did you know that the World Squash Federation doesn’t specify a colour that a ball must be? They also only specify the “Standard Single Yellow” dot, the “Standard Double Yellow” and the “High Altitude Green” dot balls. So that not only means the red and blue dots can be ANYTHING ANY manufacturer wants, but also ANY manufacturer could create their own ball with its own coloured dot. That’s why the Dunlop red and blue dots are bigger than other manufacturers’ squash balls. The Vintage Green When I first started playing squash, all the squash balls were green. They were just as easy to use as the black and in some ways were easier. I’m not sure when or why they changed to black. I suspect it was due to one of two reasons. Firstly, cost, perhaps it was cheaper to have black dye than green, but that really is a pure guess. Secondly, and again it’s a pure guess, is that Dunlop wanted a way to differentiate their squash balls from other manufacturers (more on that below). Red, Orange & Blue As you can see from the image below, Slazenger also made and sold some special coloured squash balls. I no longer have mine, but I do remember that the blue was the best to use. Also, while we are talking about colours, when I worked for Dunlop, I tried to convince the R&D department to make mixed colour balls. That is, taking two halves of different colours and putting them together. I suppose you know that a squash ball is constructed of two halves glued together. That’s where 99.99% of balls break: along the join. Anyway, they said that the colours would run and it would look a mess. I argued that it would look like a tie-dye t-shirt, but they still said “No”. I also tried to get them to make neon yellow balls to replace the white…

Perhaps this is me being pedantic, and maybe it’s because I am an English teacher, but I believe a drop shot should “drop” onto the front wall. Allow me to explain.

A New Type Of Error In Racket Sports

I am quite prepared to be convinced otherwise and this is not something I would strongly argue over. Onto the point. The trajectory the ball takes to reach any point on the front wall is either a straight line or an arc. After it hits the front wall, most, if not all? shots will be an arc, although the angle of that arc might be very small making i appear a straight line – just like the Earth is flat, right? I suppose that’s pretty obvious. I was always told that when hitting a drop shot, the ball should be dropping onto the front wall. That’s where the concept of the arc comes from. Of course the ball will lose speed once it hits the wall and as a side note, I wonder if the percentage it loses is linear or if it changes based on the speed – I suspect the latter. Anyway, back to the ball dropping onto the front wall. Before I get hate mail I do concede that if a player make contact with the ball and very close to the wall AND at or below the height of the tin, then technically, the trajectory would be upwards as it hits the wall. But besides that unusual situation, shots played with a straight line as their trajectory and NOT drops for me. They are something else. I was going to define them as “kills” but I don’t believe that every shot hit short should be described as a kill. For me, a kill is when the ball is hit hard either to hit the nick or at the very least to hit a winner. There are plenty of shots that fit into the range from Drop (softest) to Kill (hardest – and yes, I accept that a kill doesn’t have to be hit hard) Is It So Important, Phillip? No, because really as long as you…