03 November 2022 / 3-Min Read
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Perhaps another example could be Michael Jordan dunking jump. It’s his logo for a reason. That movement is recognisable as his movement. I will admit that it’s less clear is squash than in many other sports, but even club players have shots they love playing and are probably very good at. The problem comes when it’s the only shot you can play well.
What would you say these players' signature shots are?
Yesterday, I talked about how each shot’s quality is closely related to other shots. And today’s topic is similar.
Having a weapon that you can rely on is important for two reasons. Firstly, because we all need a Plan B sometimes. A shot that rarely lets us down in the heat of battle, a shot that wins more points than it loses, a shot that can give a confidence boost just when you need it. There’s also the secondary reason of giving your opponent something to worry about. Something they have to avoid feeding you with shots. It’s like the queen in chess; players try to limit her involvement.
But as I said yesterday, if it’s all you have then it’s not really a weapon, more of a liability. Imagine for a movement you played tennis and I, a Squash Genie, gave you Rafa Nadal’s forehand. Would you win all your matches and beat anybody who daed to share the court with you? Yeah, probably for the first 5 or 10 matches, then suddenly your win to loss ratio might go back to what it was before my magic gift. Your opponents are not going to keep hitting the ball to your forehand very much.
Here is a photo of my pretending to practice. Doesn’t look very natural, does it. Curious about the racket and ball boxes on floor? Look out for a new video soon.
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Okay, let’s assume you like the idea of a signature shot and want to develop one, what now? Well, select a shot that is sensible. So, forget El Shorbagy’s through the legs drop, forget a diving drop into the front corner, and definitely forget the jumping against the side wall, flying through the air crosscourt nick. You can definitely choose an attacking shot, just make sure it’s sensible.
Next, try to honestly assess you current skill level and select a shot that you are already pretty good at. One that won’t take hundreds of hours of practice. Something that is not completely new for you. Then, practice it more than other shots. if you are not the kind of person that performs solo practice realise that without solo and pairs drills you won’t be able to really make it special.
Once you have mastered the shot, or at least become proficient, reduce the amount of practice time on it. It will be a little addictive and you will be tempted to make it even better, but all you need to do is maintain the skill level and choose very carefully when to use it in matches.
What I recommend you do now is assess your weakest shot and work on that next. That way you can improve your overall game while still having your signature shot.
Having and developing a signature shot is a good idea for most players, but not at the cost of ignoring more important aspects of your game. if it’s the only thing good about you game, then you need to improve the rest of it first.
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