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

Court sprints are simply running from the back wall to the front wall and back again. They are used by players and coaches as an easy fitness test and part of a training session. But how useful are they?

Let me start off by saying I have done and made people do thousands of court sprints over the years. They are like the “boast and drive” drill – everybody knows them and everybody has done them. If you are new to squash, please jump to the bottom of the article and come back after you have read that paragraph. For People Who Like Physical Challenges Let’s be honest, court sprints are hard. If you do the common “How may in 1 minute” them you are going pretty fast. There’s a huge psychological component of touching the wall just before other people and it seems to be perfect for squash – moving around the court fast. I’ve heard of leader boards in clubs with a list of names. There are even videos of people doing the challenge. For people who love fitness work, it’s a dream come true. It’s a variation of the “shuttle run”, which is used in all sorts of sports, with the Beep Test being a famous (infamous!) “official” test for aspiring athletes and masochists alike. In fact, I think I remember a version to be used on a squash court, but I might be wrong – let me know if you know anything about it. Why I Don’t Like Them Court sprints, or just shuttle runs, can be performed literally anywhere. Why waste the time you have paid for on court by doing fitness work? It seems crazy to me. If you have free access to courts; great, no problem, lucky you, but most of us don’t. Also, they do NOTHING for your squash. Yes, they can make you fitter, but when you are on court you should be working on your squash, not your fitness. Lastly, as a previous Health and Safety officer is shudder when I remember people tripping over and hitting their head on the wall in the final seconds of a minute…

No, I don’t believe you can. You can improve your fitness, swing technique, movement, mental strength, and tactical awareness alone, but ultimately, to bring all those improvements together you need coach.

Vary Your Speed And Height

Who doesn’t love the idea of fighting to become the best player they can without any help? Proving to the world that you, and you alone, have the intelligence, ability and spirit to conquer your chosen sport. From nobody to hero is a theme in literature going back centuries. But it is just that; fiction. It’s hard enough to become a professional squash player with all the help available, but to do it alone? Impossible? No, not impossible, but almost. If you follow sports, and I don’t, you can probably give me examples of great players who said they didn’t have a coach. I think I remember it being said that Ramy Ashour didn’t have a coach, and that may be true for part of his career, but I don’t believe for a second that at no time did he have coaching. So that leads us to two questions: what is the role of the coach? What is the difference between having a coach and having coaching? What other help can a player get that isn’t coaching? Two great squash reap the success with the help of their coaches The Role Of A Coach A lot depends on the age and standard of the player when a coach becomes involved. This article would become more like a book if I were to discuss “coaching”, so let’s keep it focused on a player who wants to become a professional. Most professionals start playing squash before they are ten and in many cases before they are 8. Does that means that anybody older can’t become a pro? No, it just means that as each year goes by it becomes increasingly more difficult. Nowadays, if you have reached a certain standard by 13 or 14, the chances are almost zero. A coach must guide the player’s development. Specifically ensuring that their technique doesn’t have any serious issues – it’s NOT to make them…

Yes, maybe, no! There are a lot of “ifs” in this question, so let’s look at some of them.

It’s always a good idea to have coaching as soon as possible after starting a sport. Ideally, you first time on court would be with a coach, but the reality is that’s highly unlikely. The longer you wait to have coaching, the more bad habits you will have developed and the harder it will be to replace them with better ones. I’m sure it’s not difficult for you to imagine how much easier it would be for you if you visited a coach after 3 months of playing than after 3 years of playing. But not everybody has access to a coach. That’s one of the reasons why people read squash articles and watch squash videos. So why not try to copy a pro player’s style and develop good habits that way? In general, I think it’s probably a good idea, but you need to be careful that you copy the right things. But what are the right things? And why can’t you copy everything? One of my taglines is “You are not a pro!”. I say this because I want viewers to realise that they haven’t spent thousands of hours on court. They don’t spend hours, both on court and off the court, each week working to improve their game. Specifically, you don’t have the physical conditioning to allow for certain movements or actions. Your forearm, shoulders, core and legs are as strong as a pro’s. Also if you misunderstand what a pro is doing and try it yourself, you may get injured. An example of that is a pro flicking the ball with their forearm at the front of the court. You could easily injured yourself if you bend your wrist instead of rotating your forearm. Enough Warnings! Okay, with the warnings out of the way, let’s look at what is a good thing to copy. Swing Technique Let’s start with the obvious one. Copying a player’s swing…

This article is for newer players who are quite ambitious. It’s easy to improve very quickly and think that in a few months you will be club number 1. I am sorry to be the one to tell you, but you won’t be. Squash has many levels that are not apparent when you first start playing.

About a year ago, I did a video analysis for a player. I talked about the areas where he can improve and gave him some general advice. Everything seemed great until in the follow-up email, he asked me how long it would take to reach the level of the player who he was playing against in the video. I told him two or three years. “Oh!”, he said, “I thought it would be just a couple of months.” The problem was that he was unable to see how little effort his opponent was playing with. Yes, he won a few points and had some good rallies, but his opponent never tried to hit the ball too hard or very deep. I could have easily believed that the player who asked for the analysis was the boss of the opponent, and he was trying to make the boss look good. I felt terrible after telling the player my opinion. Even by text, he seemed deflated. I’ve asked myself many times whether I was wrong to be so direct and honest. I have to balance that honesty with saying things just because the pupil wants to hear them. It’s a very delicate balance. I am a little embarrassed to say, but I can’t remember the person’s name and I looked through my previous analysis videos and searched through my email, but can’t find him. I almost want to be wrong and for him to tell me that he now regularly beats that opponent, but I highly doubt it. If you had a video analysis with me and I told you it would take a few years to beat your opponent and you thought it would only take a few months, please contact me so we can chat! They Only Play As Well As They Need To For some new players, squash is easy and they seem to make such rapid progress that…

The foundation of good squash is the ability to get in front of your opponent and keep them deep in the back. The alley game focuses on developing tight shots with early off-the-ball movement.

I always recommend starting this pairs drill with a serve. In fact, I always recommend starting EVERY drill with a serve if possible. It builds good movement habits. Anyway, the objective of this drill is to focus on your straight shots, length variation and movement. You can only play the ball on one side of the court. Depending on your skill level, start by using half the court. I know that sounds a lot, but I would prefer you to start too easy than too hard. If you find half the court too much, and you almost certainly will, make it the service box width. That means if the ball bounces outside the service box width, it’s out. Ideally, you would put some tape on the floor to use as a guide, but it’s not that important unless you or your training partners argue about whether the ball was “in” or “out”. Safety is key, so even though you know which side your partner is going to hit the ball, remember to play safe shots. If you score this drill, there are not strokes, only lets. The same goes for swings; be careful if you are close to your partner. It’s the prefect opportunity to practice your Back Court Circling in a more open type drill. I recommend using a ball lower than you usually do, so if you normally play with a double yellow, play with a single yellow and if you normally play with a single yellow, play with a red dot. Red dot balls are great for these drills. Let’s look at some drill progressions. And don’t forget to play both sides of the court. Drill One Start with a serve, but don’t score it. In fact, your objective is to keep the rally going for as long as possible. Not by hitting very easy or weak shots, but by not trying to win the point. Play…

Too many club players approach practice matches in the same way they approach real matches: trying to win. Sometimes that’s perfect, but many times you should be looking to improve.

What Is The Working Boast In Squash?

Many years ago, when I played tennis in a little Tennis and Squash Club in north west London, a new player joined the tennis section. He was pretty good and soon started to beat some of the better players. One Sunday afternoon, he faced the club number one and beat him. The number one, was relaxed about the whole thing and simply said he had been working on some aspects of his game. The new player said that he should just accept that he lost and not make excuses. That was the only time he beat the number 1. He never beat him in the club tournament or club nights. I asked him if it were true that he was working on his game and he told me that practice matches only matter for people’s egos. Sure, we all like to win, but he said he would rather improve during practice matches than “win”. The only time it’s important to win is in real matches. Whether that was bullshit or true, I don’t know, but the lesson has stayed with me these last 35 or so years. You Either Win Or You Learn The above phrase is definitely bullshit! Yes, you probably learn more from losing, but you can still learn a lot from winning. The point is that when you are training, you are trying to improve. You can’t “win” drills unless they are scored and not every drill should be scored. When you perform solo drills, you are not trying to “win” rallies. You are focusing on improving your technique, which in turn improves your shots. Take that same attitude into practice matches, club nights etc. Before you even walk onto court, you should know exactly what you are trying to improve, what you are going to work on and what you hope to achieve at the end of the session, whether that’s with a coach, a partner…

A few days ago I posted an article about my 80-80 philosophy and I was asked how I know that many players hit the ball too hard.

The first answer is that they have a reduction in control. The harder you try to hit the ball, the less control you have over it. The same is true of very soft shots, but that’s another article. Notice that it’s “The harder you TRY to hit the ball”. Players can hit the ball harder than you, but with less effort. In those cases they can still control the ball. I’m not saying you lose all control. It’s a linear scale: the harder you try, the less control. The second reason, and the focus of this article is the combination of hitting speed and moving speed. I haven’t been on court in many many months, and when I did, it was just to record a video, so in the last 2 years I’ve been on court a handful of times. But I bet I could still hit the ball quite hard. Certainly not as hard as I did in my twenties, but almost as hard as most good club players. And here lies the problem. I’m slow. The good news is that I know I’m slow. The bad news is that you might not know you are slow! Now, you might not be objectively slow, but you will almost certainly be slower than you need to be if you hit the ball very hard. Let’s look at why it’s important. I suspect he is about to hit the ball quite hard, although he could equally play a trickle boast or even a drop! Getting Out Of The Way A lot, and I mean a lot of club players hit crosscourt way too often because they know they would be in the way of their opponent if they hit straight. This is evident from all my years of coaching, as well as the video analysis that I’ve done with club players in the last few years. it’s especially prevalent on the…