Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

Technique

These articles have something related to technique in them.

It’s a natural question. It’s hard to do at first and seems to make watching the ball after you hit it really hard. So why even do it? Read on to find out more.

Why Do I have To Watch The Ball Hit My Strings?

Let me start by explaining the process of what to watch and then I will explain the benefits. When the ball is coming towards you, you should keep watching it until the moment it hits your racket. At that moment, keep your head still, don’t try to follow the ball after it leaves your racket. When you keep your head still, you will see the blur of the racket head and the blur of the ball, but the blur of the ball will stop at the point of contact. Keep you head still for a moment longer and then look up to where the ball went. Remember, you can’t watch the ball hit your strings and immediately move your head to follow it. Not only is it impossible, but it will give you a headache pretty quickly. Your first thought might be, “but don’t I need to see it hit the front wall? How will I know where it has gone otherwise?”. No, you don’t need to watch the ball hit the front wall. Look at the photo below. In it, you can see Gregory Gaultier watching the ball hit his strings. After you have hit the ball you can then direct your attention to your opponent. You will get more information about where they intend to hit the ball from watching their body and timing than you will from staring at the ball. Once they hit the ball, you can then direct your attention at that. What Are The Benefits Of Watching The Ball Hit My Strings? The first benefit is better contact. You will hit the ball with more control and accuracy. It’s hard to believe until you try it. For some it’s easy to do, for others it takes a little more work. But it is simply a matter of developing the habit. The need to look up to see where the ball is going is less…

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…

What is the reverse angle shot? Why is it also called the Leisure Centre boast? Is that an insult or a compliment? Read on to find out.

The Reverse Angle AKA The Leisure Centre Boast

Yesterday, David Holmes commented on the post about creativity and standard. He talked about snobbery regarding this shot and whether there really was a good reason not to play it. I talk a lot about ball snobbery and how too many players force other players to use a double yellow dot because they believe it to be the only ball worth playing with and all other balls are just precursors to reaching the “Double Yellow Dot Level”! By the way, please read my Use The Right Squash Ball guide for more details about which squash ball to use. A reverse angle is a shot that is played first against the opposite side wall of your side. WOT! Okay, so imagine you are right handed and standing in front of the T, slightly to the right of the court, and in good position and ready to hit the ball. You could do a lot of things; straight, crosscourt, high, low, hard, soft etc. A reverse angle is a shot, which in this case, hits the left hand side wall first, then the front wall, coming back into the same corner that the player is standing. I want to state, as I did yesterday, that this shot can be very successful at lower levels. But just like other things that are successful at lower levels, once you start playing better players it becomes a bad choice. But why then do the pros still play it, you rightly ask? Well, the answer lies in two aspects. Firstly, recreational players telegraph that they are about to play it. They do this because they have to make contact with the ball much further in front of their usual contact point and they generally twist their body in preparation. Any player who is paying attention to watching their opponent and not the ball (which by the way gives you zero information) will immediately see the shot…

This drill is also called “The Butterfly”, but I prefer the name “infinity” as the shape the ball-path makes is more like the infinity symbol than an eight
(∞ vs 8), also the idea that you could do the drill for infinity if you were good enough!

The Figure Of Eight

This is one of the most common solo drills seen performed by professional squash players. In many ways it’s like the speed ball used by boxers. It doesn’t have any direct relation to what you do in a real match, but it does improve your timing, control, concentration and believe it or not, your core strength. Start With The Bounce Version The first version you should try is on the bounce. This allows you more time and space to make adjustments if your shot is not very accurate. Hit a forehand into the left corner (assuming you are right handed), aim the ball to hit the front wall quite close to the side wall, it will then come back towards you on your left side. You then hit a backhand into the right corner, aiming to hit the front wall near the side wall. It will then come back to your forehand side, and so on. Start with a rd dot or single yellow dot, it’s better to make sure the ball is quite warm before you start, but it’s not necessary. Don’t hit it hard to begin with or too low. You objective is to build a rhythm that feels comfortable for you. The temptation is to begin to hit harder and lower, try to resist that urge at first. Play the video below to see me performing the bounce version. Highlight: Figure of Eight with a bounce Move Onto The Volley Once you feel comfortable with the bounce version you can move onto the volley version, although you don’t have to have mastered it to try. It’s exactly the same, except you volley the ball. Volley means to hit the ball before it bounces (that’s why volleyball is called volleyball!). Volleys in squash are generally more difficult than shots that bounce because you have less time to prepare to get into the correct position, less time means a…

The better you get, the less important the serve is, but the more important the return. At lower levels, both are incredibly important, yet generally neglected. Change that today!

Practice Your Serve And Service Return

As I said in the introduction, the better you get, the less important your serve becomes. The chances of hitting a winning serve get smaller and smaller, the better you get because your ability to volley or make split-second decisions improves. That’s why you don’t see many, if any, winning serves. Professionals, are simply trying to stop their opponent from having an advantage. It’s also why every now and again, a pro squash player hits a weak serve – they have got into the wrong frame of mind. At lower levels, especially at beginner and improver levels, the serve is a HUGE weapon because returning a good serve is quite hard for new players. The variety of successful serves is also important as new players find it hard to adapt to different serves. Move up the level in skill and this ability to adapt is much better trained. So Let’s Practice Those Serves! The first thing you can do is agree to play a 20serve game with your partner. This will allow you to try for a really high lob-type serve and if it goes out, it doesn’t matter because you have another one. Another option is to have 5 extra serves per game. That adds a new dimension to the idea, because you have to chose when to attempt a great serve. The next thing you can do is actually practice serves. Place a target on the wall as high up as you can reach, a long balloon is my favourite but a folded piece of A4 paper stuck on the masking/painters tape is good too. Then using a red dot, hit 10 serves, remembering to move to the T afterwards. Alternate this with some other hitting if you are doing a solo drill. Alternatively you can agree with your playing partner to practice serves at the end of each game. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your…

Yesterday, I explained why playing against different players can be better than playing against better players. Today, I want to explain how conditioned games against weaker players can improve your squash.

Switching From Narrow To Broad Focus In Squash

The gentleman in the featured image is Jahangir khan. Considered by some to be the greatest male squash player to ever have played. And if he had followed the advice that many people blindly repeat: “You should only ever play with people better than you” he would never have played anybody! Of course it’s not that simple and he did lose to people occasionally. Yesterday, in the article entitled Play Different Players Not Just Better Players – Part 1, I talked about how playing different players can be more valuable than only playing better players. Today, I want to talk about getting the most out of the time you play weaker players. Let’s first of all assume, that you are good enough to win 8/9 times out of 10. If you only win 6 or 7 times out of 10, then I would suggest setting a goal of 6 wins in a row and use those matches as practice for matchplay and concentration. Conditioned games are a form of practice where one or both players limit what shots they are allowed to play. With careful use of the type of game, stronger and weaker players can both get an enjoyable and valuable training sessions completed. Are they playing or training? Hard to tell. More Limitations The bigger the difference between the players, the greater the limit of the better player. I was lucky enough to spend quite a few hours practicing with Jahangir and for a lot of that time, although not all of it, he was only allowed to hit straight drives to the back. I was allowed to hit anywhere. It might seem like I would win easily, but you would be wrong. Very rarely did I win a game playing this system. You need to be safe, just because you know that they have to hit straight, doesn’t mean you can boasts the ball, walk to the…

The simple answer is NOW! There is no reason to wait. Well, there might be, for example don’t start coaching if you know you have to miss the next month or more’s worth of lessons!

When Should You Get Squash Coaching?

The ideal time to have lessons from a squash coach is when you first start playing, I mean BEFORE you start playing, but that’s not easy or possible for a lot of people. But I am guessing that you already have started playing, right? That’s fine, and the sooner you get coaching, the better. The longer you leave it the more bad habits you will develop. We all know that it’s harder to stop bad habits than it is to start good ones. How Often? Right, so we have established that the sooner you get squash coaching, the better. So how often should you have lessons? Well, a lot depends on how much you play. If you only played once a week, then a lessons every 2/3/4 weeks would be fine. If you played three times a week, then a lesson a week would be great. It’s about getting the right balance between practice/games and coaching. You need time in real matches and games to put into practice what you learned from the coach. If you don’t play enough in-between the lessons, there little time to improve. But, if you want to just visit the coach and not play other people that’s fine too. Only Coaching?! In the past, I have had pupils who only came to me – that’s right, they didn’t play with anybody else – ever! That’s clearly not the best way to improve, but there could be valid reasons for that. In one of my cases, it was because they just wanted to have some exercise and try to improve. They weren’t a competitive person and the thought of playing against other people didn’t interest them, even for fun. The reality is that improvement is much, much slower if you only go to the coach. I’m Too Old! Are you? Are you older than 84? Because that’s the oldest pupil I have ever had and YES!,…