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These articles are for advanced players, who almost certainly plays tournaments and other competitive matches.

Let me get straight to the point.
The moment before your opponent hits the ball, you should do a little jump, with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. This movement, gives you the “bounce” effect that means you can move faster to the ball.

Let’s All Do The T Jump

The moment before your opponent hits the ball, you should do a little jump, with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. This movement, gives you the “bounce” effect that means you can move faster to the ball. In fact, it is a form of plyometrics, which is the idea of compressing the muscles in one movement to allow them to release at greater power than from a static position. That’s why plyometrics is so good for you and what is the most common plyometrics training? Yes, that’s right, skipping. Perfect for boxers and squash players. Once your heels touch the ground, it takes more time to get moving than if you were bouncing. The timing of the jump is crucial because if you do it too early all benefit is lost and you will probably be slower. If you do it too late, you will be in the air when the ball is moving and by the time you land, you will be a little late. The key is to start to jump JUST before you think the ball is about to be hit BUT don’t jump too high. You are just doing a little bounce to make sure you are ready to pounce once you know where the ball is going. Like everything worth working for, you will need to practice until it feels comfortable. If you can, watch some professionals matches on YouTube and focus on this aspect of their movement. Especially, Nicole David, who moves so beautifully. Lastly, notice what happens when a player hits the ball off the back wall and the opponent at the front. He or she often waits….and waits….and waits before hitting the ball. This waiting make it hard for you to guess the moment to jump and you often see players become static, making that much harder to get moving. https://youtu.be/-kctlZ8KYk8

One of the great things about playing club team matches or tournaments is having to adapt to new circumstances and situations. Obviously, the biggest of those is the opponent but also the court and surroundings are very important too.

Learn To Adapt To Different Court Conditions ASAP

Obviously, the biggest of those is the opponent but also the court and surroundings are very important too. The more often you have to adapt, the better your chances of learning to do it faster. I’ve often heard players complain that by the time they felt comfortable on court, it was too late. This can even more important when both players are new to a venue as in a tournament. Getting to a new venue as early as possible helps reduce the feeling of strangeness but that’s only part of the story. Some players are less affected by different courts than others. I believe that one of the reasons is that they have put themselves in those sorts of situations as often as possible. There is also the idea of actively adapting. When you get on court, feel the walls. Do they feel hot, cold or even damp? Is there a difference between the each sidewall or parts of the frontwall? Looks for these differences during the warm up. Play a few boasts and move forward to hit a straight drive back to your opponent. Not only will this help you physically warm up but it will also allow you to test the walls and floor. Don’t forget the height of the court. Play a few lobs to get a feel for the lights and any obstructions. Lastly, don’t forget the back wall. Make sure you play a few longer drives to see the bounce on the backwall. What I am trying to explain is that every time you go on court you should be learning about your opponent AND the court. Of course, if you are playing on courts you know very well, then this is not so important but playing on courts new to you can change the course of matches. Again, obviously, the opponent is the biggest challenge, but do not neglect to consider the court too.…

I like my pupils to have a shot selection system that they easily understand and can be used in matches. It’s called the traffic light system. You have probably guessed how it works already. Each moment has three potential states: Attack (green), Choose (amber/yellow) and Defend (red).

Traffic Light System of Shot Selection

Over various coaching and training sessions, the student begins to clearly identify the Attack and Defend situations. The Choose situations are by far the most difficult to get right because they often depend on more elements and minor elements than the other two. For example, if your opponent plays a weak shot and you are in good position, then that is a potential Attack shot. Whether you decide to attack or not is another matter but identifying the Attack position is easy. Same goes for the Defend shot. If you are under pressure and need time then it is clearly a Defend shot. Now imagine that the ball is a couple of ball widths away from the wall, it’s not moving too quickly and you are on the T. What is this? Different levels of players call it different things. In fact, the less-able players often call it Attack more than the better players, which is incredibly interesting. The use of the exact words of Attack, Choose and Defend is also open to a lot of interpretation. There is also the point that the majority of drives down the wall are actually Attack shots disguised as Defend. You have little chance of losing the point directly from these shots but you might also be fortunate and get a weak return. In essence, the higher the level the more polarized the shots come: they are either Attack or Defend. https://youtu.be/xZA0AY-ZuF4

Foam rollers have become quite fashionable over the last few years and for good reason. Foam rollers allow you to massage yourself easily and cheaply. You can carry them in your bag and use them on almost any surface, including the wall.

Foam Rollers

They come in two types: solid foam, with various surface treads and ones with a plastic inner core and an outer foam surface. They are easy to carry and use and provide a perfect post-match/training cool down. I highly recommend you try one a few times, you should notice the difference in a few days. No for my confession: I don’t like them. I find them awkward to use, although I do see and feel the benefit. I have an alternative which I will tell you about another time, but just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean you won’t. Essentially, you roll your body over and around them and your body weight provides the pressure for the massage. They can work the legs, back, shoulders and arms. I’m pretty sure you local gym already uses them, so try and check them out. https://youtu.be/hTXG-0tugUU

The second bounce is often used in squash to talk about where you want the ball to land but why is it so important? Let’s start with some questions.

Why Is The Second Bounce In Squash So Important?

Where do you need to be before the ball bounces?No where. You don’t need to be anywhere at that point. Where do you need to be on the first bounce?No where. You don’t need to be anywhere at that point. Where do you need to be just after the first bounce?No where. You don’t need to be anywhere at that point. Where do you need to be just before the second bounce?You NEED to be near the ball. This is your last chance to hit. If you miss this chance, you have lost the rally and therefore the point. Okay, I may have laboured the point, but the second bounce gives the player the maximum time to get to the ball. Players general leave the ball until the last moment to hit. “Why rush when I can take my time, right?” With regard to a straight drive, you are generally trying to make the second bounce in the back wall nick (the join between the floor and the wall). If the second bounce is too, short you could be giving your opponent an easy shot. If the second bounce is too deep, you could be making it easy for your opponent. Remember, deep second bounces just come back off the back wall. Of course, this is all quite hypothetical because it is very rare that we see a perfect second bounce land in the nick. But why is that? Well, because your opponent knows that if they leave it, it will be harder to retrieve, so that hit it before it gets there. Ideally, you would be hitting it a little longer so that the opponent wants to leave it come off the back wall but then realizes that is going to be harder and has to rush. What all this is doing is putting minute amounts of pressure on your opponent. Over time, this pressure gets too much and…

Just a quick idea today. Slight changes in demeanor can affect how people respond to you and how you feel within yourself.

Head Up and Shoulders Back

Don’t lean over with your arms on your knees. This shows your opponent you are tired. No matter how tired you get, keep your head up and your shoulders back. This will give the impression of strength, both mental and physical. There is also the metaphorical meaning of letting your head drop or having your head down, signifying acceptance of defeat. Keeping your head up displays a willingness to face your troubles. Show strength – feel strong. https://youtu.be/xZA0AY-ZuF4

I hate generalizations but like most people, especially educators, I often use them. Today, I am going to present an idea that in general is true but obviously not always. I need to you to read this with an open mind.

Move Back To The T Faster Than To The Ball

How fast do you need to get to the ball?  My answer is as SLOW as possible. How fast should you get back to the T?  My answer is as FAST as possible. Let’s look at the first one. How can it be possible to say as slow as possible? Well, the idea is that you never want to get to the ball too early. You will waste energy getting there without any benefit to you. In some situations you might be able to play the ball earlier but that’s not always preferable. The idea is to get there when you NEED to but not before. With regard to the second point, the faster you are back on the T or the right place for the situation, the less options your opponent has. Most club players do it the other way around: get to the ball as fast as possible and then move back slowly to the T. Watch a few professional matches on the Internet and see how they move. You will be surprised at how quickly they get back to the T. Try it for yourself. You will probably find it hard to move to the ball at the right speed and quite hard to rush back, but it’s worth it. https://youtu.be/-1EeNriiRN0