What Is A Rally Reset Shot In Squash?

If you have watched any Squash TV, then you have probably heard this phrase before. What does it mean, and is it useful for club players though?

04 January 2023 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗

When people talk about a reseting the rally or "Rally Reset", they mean that the rally has gone back to a situation where both players are looking for opportunities to win the point. This mostly means hitting the ball straight and deep. By playing deep shots, especially straight ones, you are limiting the options of your opponent. If the ball is tight or touching the wall, there is very little they can do regarding attacking the ball.

They have to return the ball in such a way as to limit your options, and the best way to do that is to hit it back in exactly the same way you hit it, i.e. straight down the wall to the back.

A Rally Reset is often signified by a lob, which will take away the attacking player's advantage, but a lob is not the only way to negate those attacking shots.

A male squash player lunges to reach a shot and plays a lob

About to hit a lob? Certainly looks like it.

More To It Than Meets The Eye

Those rallies up and down the wall are fascinating, at least to me. In addition to the obvious attempt by both players to force each other to hit a weaker drive, there is also the psychological battle of "Tightness Supremacy". That's not a proper term, it's just something I invented to describe the situation.

I've written about how the Side Walls Can Be Your Friend Or Your Enemy, and it's true from beginner to World Champion, although the better you get the more comfortable you are with the side walls. That's one of the many reasons why even after a very long break, skilful players can return to the court and still hit tight straight drives off tight straight drives - It's a bit like riding a bike: you never really forget!

I love to encourage my pupils to play condition games, especially the Alley Game, because it teaches players so much about movement, height, variation and concentration. In fact, I would absolutely LOVE a world Championship in condition games, where players play the best of three games: Length Only (first bounce past the short line), Right Alley and Left Alley (Both within the service box width). Do you think the best players would still be the best players? I'm not sure I do.'

Two make sqquash plaeyrs dancing?

Here are two players NOT playing a serious condition game of squash, and more likely dancing to some imaginary music.

Back To Club Players

A Rally Reset shot is perfect for all levels of players, but the better the squash players, the better the shot has to be - obviously. At club level, a shot that takes away one player's advantage might simply be a deeper-than-usual drive, whereas at higher levels, it almost certainly is a great shot in itself.

A rally reset shot needs to give you time, which is why a lob works so well, or it needs to stop your opponent from volleying. Anything that negates the advantage the player seems to have.

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What is important though is the awareness and the decision-making process. Club players need to quickly accept that they are under pressure and play the shot accordingly. Too many club players hit the ball with little or even no intention and consequently play the wrong shot at the wrong time. If you could put the mind of a professional squash player into the body of an amateur club player, that club player would win a lot more matches.

A player about to serve

In many ways, even a service return is a rally reset shot. You are trying to negate the advantage that the server has.

Final Thoughts

Don't be proud, recognise you are under pressure and play a shot that gives you time to recover back to the T and stay in the rally. Learn to become more comfortable with the side walls and be happy rallying up and down the wall until an opening appears.

You don't get extra points for winning the rally quickly, so there's no rush. Attack when the opportunity is there, otherwise wait for the right time.

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I am a squash coach with nearly 40 years experience, teaching complete beginners through to professionals.

Currently, I call myself an "online squash coach" as I rarely coach on court.

I enjoy working with club players and strive to present information in an entertaining and engaging way.

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