Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!


These articles contain information about moving around the squash court with maximum speed and efficiency.

Essentially, one is a physical process, the other mental. Reaction Time is how fast your body can move to a stimulus. Anticipation is making a decision based on what you see AND what has happened in the past.

The Difference Between Reaction Time And Anticipation?

Let’s Start With Reaction Time Reaction Time can be decreased by training. There are plenty of drills, exercises and equipment you can buy to help you do that. There is something called a Reaction ball, and the video below shows how to make a cheap and easy homemade version. As I just mentioned, there are plenty of drills you can do, and you have probably seen videos of coaches throwing balls for players to catch or reach starting on the T. These are great because they require very specific squash movements that should include racket preparation or even swings. Anything longer than a second’s worth of work, which I know doesn’t sound very long, starts to work other system of the body, not just your reaction time. This type of training should be performed at the beginning of a session, as it requires fresh muscles to gain the most from it. Of course, in the real world situation of a competitive match, you will be required to react ALL through the match, the training is what actually matters. I really like the reaction ball as it’s one of the easiest things to use on your own. Most other reaction training requires another person because you need that element of “unknown” involved. However, there’s more to reaction training than simply moving as quickly as possible to a stimulus. You also need to be able to control the racket and ball, so I like my pupils to stand near the front wall and hit forehands and backhands to themselves, either standing closer and closer to the wall or hitting the ball harder and harder. The reaction training comes from having to move the racket as quickly as possible to unexpected positions. Do a hundred shots then do something else. Do it three times each time you go on court and that should help. What is he going to play? Moving Onto Anticipation…

Yes, absolutely! Each player should be experienced though, so definitely no beginners. It helps if you have a good understanding of the rules related to Lets and Strokes too.

Squash Tips, Drills and Training Advice

Doubles can be fantastic on a singles court.

Playing doubles is so much fun. I’ve only ever played on a singles court, but at the international level and in some special locations, there are proper doubles courts. Even typing the phrase “Singles Squash Court” seems weird, but the reality is that 99% of squash courts are singles squash courts. Sports like Tennis and Badminton use the same “court”, but use different lines, squash has the same lines but a different court! As I said in the introduction, if you play squash doubles on a squash singles court it is important that each player has good court awareness, a safe swing and a good understanding of the basics of Lets and Strokes. I spent many happy hours playing doubles against Abbas Kaoud and his son, plus another player and not once did we have an incident. I would recommend wearing squash goggles and being prepared to play more lets than usual though. Can It Help You Game? ABSOLUTELY. Not only is a it a great game, but being good at doubles has a direct effect on your singles game. To be good at doubles, you need to avoid hitting too many crosscourt – just like singles! You need to keep the ball tight to the side wall – just like singles! You need to use the boast as a way of getting opponents out of position – just. Like. Singles! Get the point? The skill comes from playing great shots, not from being super fit or being a fast or great mover. Using the length of a court become your main focus, and by using a variety of speed and height you can develop that ability. You also develop patience, because doubles rally rarely finish in 2 or 3 shots. lastly, even though I said you need good court awareness, I do believe that your awareness increases from playing doubles. You HAVE to be more aware of the other…

Moving around the squash court efficiently and effectively is key to playing well. You can’t hit great shots if you can’t reach the ball! I would be lying if I said great footwork and fitness weren’t closely linked, but you *can* have great footwork without being super fit, it’s just very unusual.

What’s The Best Way To Improve Your Squash Footwork?

I often liken great squash footwork to dancing. Being light on your feet, able to move as if you were gliding and being able to adapt very quickly are key elements to a great dancer. So does that means that you have to be naturally talented? No, it can be learnt by most people, but let’s be honest, some people have no rhythm, and those people will probably never be great movers, either on a dance floor or a squash court! Back to the question though. Getting stronger by doing leg and core strengthen exercises will help, but what you really need to do is called “Ghosting”. Ghosting is like shadow boxing; it’s moving around the court WITHOUT a ball or opponent and just focusing on how you move. Just like any skill, you need to start slowly until it feels more natural and then increase the speed. Not too slowly though as it won’t be natural. Here are three objectives for you to focus on: Firstly, start each movement with a little jump, with your feet just wider than your shoulders. This is called the Split-Step and is used to ensure you move quickly in the right direction. Lastly, make the final step quite long. This will ensure you transfer your weight into the ball and give you more options when hitting the ball. BUT WAIT! What’s the third you ask? Well, the middle objective is to use medium length strides that allow you to reach somewhere quickly but also allow you to adjust so that your final step is the longer one. Make sure you move back to the T quite quickly, but DO NOT turn and run forwards – move backwards as this will give you the most adaptability when it comes to changing directions. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Okay, so now we know WHAT to do, HOW do we do it?…

Like most of these types of questions, the simple answer is “it depends”.

Is Weight Training Good For Squash?

Professional squash players have been using weight training to get stronger for decades. Of course, they have more time than you to dedicate to training, so the question becomes: with limited time, should I stop doing other sorts of training and replace it with weight training? When performed correctly (more on that in a moment), weight training can drastically improve your core strength, your ability to reach the ball and your ability to recover after a hard match. I am not going to give you a “Weight Training Routine For Squash Players” because I am not a qualified fitness trainer, but also because each player is different and may have different needs. I will say that an all-round beginner training programme is good enough for most players, unless they have any particular injuries or issues with their body. You need a balance between endurance (low eights with high repetitions) and pure strength (a lot of weight with only a few repetitions). The generally recommend weight is one that you can do between 10 and 15 repetitions of the movement (one set), then a short rest, then two more sets – don’t forget the rest between the second and third set! For squash players just starting a weight training routine this is perfect. It is very important that you perform the exercises exactly as you are supposed to. It’s very tempting to want to use more weight to “increase the gains”, but by doing this you risk injury. In addition, and this is purely anecdotal, I have found that if you train with heavy weights and don’t spend a lot of time hitting solo your timing goes awry. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Squash players need power, not strength. Power is the ability to use force in a short time. Being able to bench press 100Kg for 10 reps slowly will not improve your squash, but being…

So the first question you might have is “What are foot faults in squash?”.

Foot Faults in Squash

When serving in squash, you MUST have one foot inside the service box. The service box is the square on both sides of the court. The short line, is the line that goes from one sidewall to the other. This line indicates where the service box starts, but also is used for where the ball must bounce (I’ll talk about that in another article). If you don’t have one foot inside the service box when you serve, then that is a foot fault. The reality is that for referees, it can be quite difficult to see if a player really does have their foot inside the box as they make contact with the ball, and the reason is that smart players are walking towards the T as the hit the serve. The second question might be “Why are smart players walking towards the T when they serve?” and it is a good question. Fortunately the answer is simple: You should be on the T BEFORE your opponent can hit the service return. Too often, club players serve, stand, watch and THEN react to the service return. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Not only should a good serve make it difficult to return well, your movement should also ensure that whatever type of return is made, you are able to reach it. For right-handed players, moving towards the T when serving on the right-hand side of the court is best done by serving with a backhand shot, again, more on that in another article. The key is to make contact with the ball with you foot as close to the line, but not touching it, as possible. That way you are close to the T without breaking the rules. From now on, try to ensure you are moving forward towards the T in a naturally flowing movement.

What Gandalf and Nicole David Have In Common And How You Can Learn From Them. “A wizard is neither early nor late, he arrives exactly when he meant to”, so said Gandalf to one of the Hobbits in one of the Lord of the Rings books. And that is how a great mover on a squash court is.

Be Like A Wizard

Getting to the ball too early is almost as bad as getting there too late – almost. Have you ever seen those skinny, featherweight squash players who seem to be able to hit the ball so hard? Back in my day, there used to be quite a few players from Pakistan like that. And then there are those other squash players build like a stevedore on steroids that can’t seem to put any of the potential power into the ball? Well, welcome to the world of physics! In particular, timing and momentum. This means using your body weight in that process. Ideally, you should be taking your last step just before you make contact with the ball. This means you transfer as much of your body weight INTO the shot as possible. However, you need to be strong enough to control your momentum and not continue to move forward after hitting the ball. This takes leg and core body strength and must be practiced. ANY movement forward after you hit the ball is essentially wasted. The reality on most squash courts around the world is much different. Players either get to the ball too early and have lost a significant amount of potential power or they get there a fraction of a second late and the momentum is not transferred to the ball. This is one of the things that can be practiced when doing pairs routines. The smooth motion of movement towards where the ball will be when you want to hit it, the swing as you take the final lunge and return to the T. Start to pay much more attention to your final step. Make it count.

There is a lot of common ground between boxing and squash. I have played some tough matches and felt as if I had been in a fight the day after – you too probably!

Float like a butterfly, Sting Like A Bee

“Hit and move” is an often heard phrase in boxing and we would do well to heed it in squash to. I have previously covered moving back to the T faster than moving to the ball and in this article I want to look at that in a little more detail in the back of the court. Essentially, your swing should provide the movement momentum to start the move back to the T. At the moment of impact you should be moving towards the ball ever so slightly as this means that your body weight is being used to maximum effect. Then, you follow through with your swing – not too wildly though!, and smoothly make you way back to the T. At club level you often see players hit a crosscourt from the back and then watch the ball without moving, then after a half-second begin to move. It’s easier to do this for crosscourt shots as the ball is not coming back to your position. If you don’t move when you you hit a straight drive you would be in the way and that’s often why lower levels of squash players hit more crosscourts. “Hit and move”, “Hit and move”, “Hit and move” should be a mantra you instill in yourself. With practice, you will have more options when you get to the ball as you would have had more time to get to the ball in the first place.