23 October 2022 / 3-Min Read
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Is hitting hard effective for you? Hitting the ball hard means moving fast. It rushes both you and your opponent. It means your accuracy drops. It means lots of things. And the question you really have to ask is “is it effective today against this opponent, on this court?”. If the answer is yes, then great – keep hitting it hard. If not, then stop. Simple really.
The problem is that some players only know how to attack by hitting the ball hard. It’s their only weapon, and when it doesn’t work, they struggle to play well. So let me tell you about my 80-80 philosophy.
Put simply, you should hit the ball at up to 80% your maximum power for 80% of the time. The rest of the time, you can hit it harder. Just to be clear, that’s 1 in 5 shots that can be hit as hard as you can, and 4 in 5 shots that can be hit at ANY speed, from the softest to 80% your max.
I do recommend varying your pace during a match to help break your opponent’s rhythm, but not at the expense of your rhythm. Having some sort of guide during a match can help, even if that guide might not be universal. Some players need some sort of framework and this has worked for my pupils in the past.
One area to improve is that 80% max. Remember, my 80% is not the same as your 80%. perhaps I am fitter, stronger and faster than you (probably not, but let’s use it as an illustration), then when I play, hitting at 70% for me might be easier than you hitting at 60%. The harder I can hit with less effort, the better. Of course, that’s only useful if I can move just as well and any talk of hitting pwoer needs to be discussed with movement too.
To increase your hitting power, I highly recommend spending 5 minutes (not necessarily all at once though) hitting the ball as hard as you can, every time you play or train. 5 Minutes is an incredibly long time. That’s nearly 300 shots – all hit with power, ferocity and evil intent. Okay, maybe 5 minutes *is* too much, let’s drop it down to 3 minutes.
Also do 5 sets of 20 seconds of fast, fats ghosting. Even simple side to side ghosting performed as fast as possible for twenty seconds, with a 20/30 seconds rest will help your speed.
How hard do you think he is about to hi it?
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The moment you try to hit the ball above 80% you maximum power, your accuracy will drop. better to hit the ball with more accuracy than simply more power. I would rather hit my straight drives touching the wall but slower than hit hard with my shots quite far away from the wall. At least most of the time. Remember, squash is a game that requires consistency. Winning a couple of points because you smacked the ball but losing 10 because your shots were loose doesn’t win matches.
If you ever are lucky enough to watch pros play close up, you will notice how strong they are. They are not big athletes with huge muscles, well, some are have big legs, and they do seem to be getting bigger and stronger, but even the small ones hit the ball with such solidity that it ca seem so easy for them. That hasn’t just happened over a few weeks. They have spent years getting that strong and even if you are older than you would like to be, with less time available for squash than you would less like, you can still start to get stronger.
Get stronger, get faster and things will get easier on court. OH SORRY, you wanted a magic tip to suddenly make you a better player? It doesn’t work that way. Introducing the 80-80 philosophy can help, you it’s not the long term solution to squash. Only HARD WORK is.
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