The more specific your objective, the more likely you are to achieve success. Let’s go back to the dart board for a moment. If you threw the 3 darts on the board without any further instructions, you would have achieved what you set out to do, right? Well, yeah, but simply hitting the board with all 3 darts is not exactly brilliant.
Let’s switch over to the squash court and I now say hit the ball to the back. Chances are you will do it. Next, if I say hit the ball to the back, within the width of the service box and to bounce behind the service box, that becomes a little harder. But now you have a “challenge”. That slightly focused objective has your interest.
Let’s bring it into focus even more. Now I want you to hit the ball to the back, within half a service box width and I want the ball to take its second bounce below half the height of the back wall. Getting harder, right? Especially if you have to hit more than 2 consecutively.
Right, it’s time to get really serious! I want you to hit the front wall at any height and speed, so the ball takes its second bounce on the back wall at less than the height of a squash racket, and within 3 squash ball width’s of the side wall! Ohhh! Things just got real, baby! Even just typing that objective required concentration.
You Won’t Believe Me
Too often people hit the ball simply because it’s their turn to hit. It sounds stupid, right? I mean, technically it’s true. But hitting the ball because it’s your turn to hit and hitting the ball because you are trying to do something very specific is the same as throwing three darts anywhere at the dart board because its your turn or aiming for treble 20.
So, as the title says, when it’s your turn to hit the ball, hit the ball with intention. Have a very specific objective in mind, even if it’s beyond your ability, at least you are clear on what you are trying to do. Let me clarify that point. When I am soloing drilling, I occasionally place a broken squash ball on the floor where I want my ball to land. Do I hit it very often? Heck, no! Hardly ever. But the fact I am aiming for it means I get closer than if I didn’t have that target.
So that leads us onto the next obvious question: What is my intention? Well, in the tried and trusted response of all educators: it depends! I can’t really give you a list of precise intentions for each shot, but even if I could, seeing them listed here wouldn’t really get you to understand why the intention is that, at least not without a longer explanation.
Let me give you a specific example. In one of the previous paragraphs, I described a target intention for hitting the ball to the back. Without looking back, can you remember it? If you can, do you know why I described it that way? Well, the answer is in the video below. I’m not trying to trick you to watch one of my videos, it’s just some formats are better for explaining concepts that text.
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I’d like to leave you with some self-learning. If you don’t know what your intention should be for most shots, find out. Read articles, books, magazines, watch videos and matches, have coaching lessons. Start your self-learning journey with this.