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These articles are suitable for players who belongs to a club and plays regularly. That is quite a wide description though, so if you have been playing a few years, even though you might not belong to a club, these articles could still be of interest to you.

Does anybody else feel that shouting “SQUASH IS THE HEALTHIEST SPORT!” from the rooftops is a little silly?

I don't care if squash is the healthiest sport!

I understand that when a major publication ranks squash at the top, that’s good news and should be used to promote the game, but have you ever met a person who said “I play squash because it’s the healthiest sport”? No, I don’t think you have and neither have I. My issue with our sport using that data is that firstly we expect people to suddenly say “Oh my goodness! Why the heck am I not playing squash? I better find my local court and get healthy.” Plenty of sports and activities are very healthy, but we don’t suddenly start doing those. It is the same “data versus emotion” argument that appears all the time. People are presented with facts, but ignore them because it doesn’t fit with their world view or because they don’t care about facts! Secondly, I worry that in the past governing bodies, both specific (squash) and more general (government sports/health departments) have relied on that data to promote the game – see point one. if the only selling point we can think of is that then people are not going to play in enough numbers to keep squash growing or even surviving. We Need To Promote Fun! Squash can be so much fun. Running around and hitting the ball is in itself a fun activity. Couple it with a competitive element and add the social side and squash becomes the whole package. It’s not too difficult to learn, assuming we promote the use of the right ball!1 It can be played all year round, all around the world. It’s true that in some places the price is a little on the expensive side – at least I think so – and that has to be addressed by creating easy-to-build courts or by putting them outside2. If I were still in the UK and working within squash, one of the things I would do is try…

There are a few different types of boasts in squash, each one with a different reason to be played and a different outcome desired.

What Is The Working Boast In Squash?

The first thing I should explain though is what is a boast. A boast is a shot that has been purposefully hit against one of the side walls first. Its general objective is to place the ball at the front of the court, and move the opponent forward, but not always. Boasts can be both attacking and defending shots. I used the word “purposefully” just now because if you hit a straight shot that accidentally hits the side wall first instead of the front wall, that’s not a boast, that’s just a bad straight drive! A working boast is a shot played from between the service box and back corner. A boast is generally an attacking shot and should be played when the striker is well-balanced and able to reach any return shot their opponent would make. It hits the side wall near the service box, about a racket’s height from the floor and should hit the front wall near the middle of the court’s width, about a racket’s head above the tin. The ball then takes its first bounce on the floor, followed by the most important bounce; the second bounce, near the floor and the opposite side wall. This ball is probably too tight to hit a great working boast from this position. What’s So Important About That Second Bounce? To answer that question, let’s look at things from your opponent’s perspective. Ideally, they would like to hit the ball straight most often. They want to do this because you are on the other side of the court, so that’s the maximum amount of movement for you. I’m not saying you can’t hit crosscourt if your opponent hits a boast, I’m saying the best percentage shot is probably a straight shot. To hit a really good straight shot, you want the contact point to be near the side wall. But if the point when it is closest to…

I am a traditionalist when it comes to movement. I believe that both over-running and diving are not the right way to move. However, when professionals players do something, I have to at least re-assess my assumptions because they are the pinnacle of the sport.

Over-Running And Diving In Professional Squash

It’s easy to not accept new fashion and trends, especially as you get older. I try hard top remain open-minded to as many things as possible. Just because something was done one way in the past and has always been done that way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it now. For example, I believe that the heavier wooden and early graphite rackets required a more strict swing technique than modern lighter rackets. That’s not to say that players can swing any way they want to, just that the range of acceptable technique has broadened. With that openness in mind, I’d like to look at one aspects of movement that have appeared in the last 10 years or so in the modern professional game. In a future article I will talk about diving. What Is Over-Running I was always taught that the last step towards the ball should be a longer lunge. This would allow you to transfer your weight into the ball, allow you more space to swing, and then facilitate the backward movement using your leg strength which would get you out of the way of your opponent and back towards the T in the fastest and most efficient way possible. I learnt this from Rahmat Khan, coach of the great Jahangir Khan. It’s not easy to do and does require very strong legs. Notice how Jahangir is about to place his foot on the floor and transfer his weight into the ball. No over-running here! The temptation is to bring the back leg forward to ease the work. There probably is a perfect compromise between keeping your back leg completely still and bringing it forward a little to make the movement backward faster, but too often amateur players bring that back leg right up to the lead leg and that’s a waste of two hole steps: one to bring it up, and one to move…

Let me start by saying this article was prompted by a dream. I don’t know about you, but I often get ideas when dreaming – some good, some bad. Let’s hope you agree this is one of the good ones!

Synchronised Group Squash Drills!

Honestly, I really don’t know if these ideas are crazy or cool. You decide. Below is a video taken from Twitter. It shows a group of children in China performing a synchronised bouncing drill with basket balls. It’s both impressive and scary, like a lot of these types of videos. But it got me thinking about whether it would be useful and fun for children to do this on a squash court. Bouncing a ball is a staple drill for getting children and sometimes adults to feel comfortable with a racket and ball. When you first start to play squash, the simple control of racket and ball needs to be developed. Just as driving a car is about control the car itself and then using that ability on a street with other traffic and changing situations. Getting children to be able to clap at the same time can be hard, so bouncing the ball in time to a leader or with others in the group might be too difficult for younger children, but there are so many variations of the “bounce the ball” theme; bounce and catch, bounce in the air (to variety of heights), bounce on the floor, bounce against a wall etc. All these take a fair degree of skill and doing them with precise repeatable results is even harder, couple that with doing it in a synchronised group, and hopefully you can see that this quickly develops into a highly skilful activity. A National Synchronised Routine Competition I couldn’t help myself and wonder whether if it proved popular if a national competition could be set up. A sponsor could be found who would help promote the event and the winning group (could be multiple groups from the same club/facility) would receive some sort of prize (maybe tickets to a pro tournament. Coaches would start their choreography planning 6 months before the submission time and the groups could…

“Get Fit To Play Squash Or Play Squash To Get Fit?” was more or less a slogan used by the Squash Rackets Association (England) back in the 1980 or there abouts.

Get Fit To Play Squash Or Play Squash To Get Fit?

I believe its objective was to encourage people to do extra fitness work and take squash more seriously, in the hope that they would play more. It’s one of those phrases that sounds cool the first time you hear it and is a great sound bite, but what does it really mean and is it useful? One problem is that it forces people to decide which group they are in, and that might limit them. Get Fit To Play Squash So if you would describe yourself as part of this group, then the chances are you take squash seriously. You have separate fitness sessions, probably multiple times per week. You realise that the fitter you are, the better you play. That’s true for everybody, but you have the motivation AND the discipline to wake up early and go for a run, or spend time on stretching core strength work and even lifting weights in the gym. All with the hope of playing better squash. Now, if it sounds like I am being a little negative towards this type of player, that’s not my intention. I used to be one of these people. I relished the sweat pouring down my face and stinging my eyes. Seeing a t-shirt that looked like it had just come out of the washing machine soaking wet, was part of the enjoyment. I knew that my hard work now would pay off in the future. And that I think is the key. For people who “Get fit to play squash”, the fitness work now is for your future squash performance, and will hopefully be worth all the extra hard work. Fitness is not one of the end results for you, it’s part of the process of being a better squash player. Play Squash To Get Fit Your objective if you are in this group is to get fit and squash is one way to do that.…

Just because you can perform a shot in practice, doesn’t mean you can do it in matches. In this article, I talk about the progressive process of turning practice skill into match skill.

Squash Tips: Turn Practice Skill Into Competitive Success

What I am about to introduce you to is just one way of acquiring a new skill (skill acquisition) and being able to use it in a real match situation. It’s not suitable for every type of shot or for every person, but as a starting guide it can be useful. Bear in mind that it doesn’t have to be strictly followed. Feel free too skip steps, jump forward or backward, and even introduce new steps based on your experience. At the end, I will also detail how you can adapt this concept into a practical training routine to ensure you don’t become too complacent in your drills. Step One: Technique/Skill Acquisition The first thing you need to ensure is that you have the correct technique! There’s no point in performing the following steps if your technique is faulty. The best way to do this is via coaching. A coach will explain the technique and its reasons, and then work you through a series of increasingly difficult drills. This happens over a period of weeks or even months, and its aim, as well as the steps below, is to achieve what is commonly referred to as “muscle memory”, i.e. the ability to play a shot from a variety of situations without consciously thinking. An example of this increasing difficulty would be the coach feeds the ball to exactly the same place each feed, at exactly the same speed. When you are able to perform the shot well most times, the coach would adjust one aspect of the feed, most probably the location of the bounce, then the speed. Each change forces the pupil, you, to adapt and develop that “muscle memory”. over time, the coach feeds the ball with more variety and will also include a second or third shot to introduce decision making into the learning process. This is the basis for what is called Skill Acquisition: learning new…

We all have players who we never seem to play well against. Why is that? Is it because they are better than you? Generally no. In many cases you beat everybody that beats them.

Why Don't I Play Well Against Some Players?

When you play squash against somebody, you are comparing your strengths and weaknesses against their strengths and weaknesses. But not just that, you are comparing those things “on the day”, meaning if you played the same person every day for a week, the result might be different. The closer you are in standard, the more likely the result will be different. If you play against somebody that you are either much better than or much worse than, then the result will be the same. A tricky squash player is one whose strengths and weaknesses cause you the most problems. We like to think that “tricky” means playing unusual or deceptive shots, and that can be true, but it’s not the only valid definition. Tricky in this context simply means something that you find difficult to respond to. Older, more experienced squash players are often called tricky by their younger opponents because those older players know what works and what doesn’t work against many types of player. Let me give you tell you a squash story. On Monday, you are feeling fresh after a nice relaxing weekend at the beach or garden. Your body has had time to recover from a hard previous week. You play your opponent, who by the way has a great working boast, and do quite well. Normally, you find it hard to reach those boasts, but now that you are fresh, those boasts are a little easier to reach. Your drops are a little bit better because you are in a slightly better position. Today, the problem of his boasts are diminished due to your freshness. You agree to play again on Friday, but as I am sure you have guessed, by then you are tired compared to Monday, but because you did so well against your opponent’s boasts on Monday they decide to not play them so often. You might have thought that I was…