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Recreational

These articles are suitable for players who just play squash occasionally and for fun. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious, it just means your primary objective is to enjoy playing rather than being competitive.

Most times this is because one player believes that the ball feels dead. That is, the ball doesn’t bounce with the same responsiveness as it did at the beginning. But there might be other reasons too.

Before we look at the first reason properly and talk about the other two (visibility and mind games) let’s check the actual rules. Now remember, this is for PSA and official tournaments. If you are playing with your friends, then these rules don’t apply and you can do pretty much what you want. The Official Rules Regarding Changing The Ball. Section 11 relates to the ball and I want to highlight two points: 11.5 and 11.10, although i do recommend you look through the rules if you have tike, it’s quite fun to see them try to cover all possibilities! If both players agree, then a ball must be changed, with or without the referee’s approval, or if one player wants it and the ref agrees. I don’t watch enough pro squash anymore but I have only once seen a player say that they didn’t want the ball changed. I don’t remember the details, and can’t even remember the outcome of the request, but nowadays it seems that there’s little problem. Let me know if I am wrong. THE BALL11.5. The ball must be changed if both players agree or if the Referee agrees with oneplayer’s request.11.10. No let is allowed for any unusual bounce. The Dead Ball This is the reason I gave in the introduction and in my experience it was the reasons for nearly every request I have seen. A dead ball is basically a ball that has lost its bounce. When you have hit as many squash balls as pros have, you get a gut-feeling about the ball and some balls just don’t feel right. They might even have a slightly inconsistent bounce, although you nor I might notice it, well I might but only because of my coaching, not because of my skill! At the same time, a split might have appeared in the ball and it’s clear that the ball will break soon. Rule…

Here’s another short article that for most players will seem obvious, but not for everybody. Over the years, I have been asked this question a handful of times.

Yes, you can play squash all year round. The problem is that squash developed this reputation for being a “winter sport”. I mean, technically it is because the professional circuit happens over the autumn, winter and spring seasons, with a break in the summer. But for amateur plaeyrs, playign sport should be on their own terms, not strictly following the professionals. Here are some phrases I have heard: “The ball gets too bouncy”, “You sweat too much”, “The ball is supposed to be cold” and “In the summer, the rallies go on for too long”. And probably many more I have forgotten. Let me be very clear: YOU CAN PLAY SQUASH ALL YERAR ROUND IF YOU WANT TO. Taking a break is a good thing though, but take that break when *you* want to. Benefits Of Playing In The Summer A bouncy ball is normal in squash. If you play and the ball doesn’t get bouncy, then you are using the wrong ball. Playing in summer, especially for beginners, means less effort to get the ball hot. A bouncy ball produces longer rallies because players can’t simply “dink” (hit softly) on almost every shot. Longer rallies means your fitness increases and the chances of some great rallies also increases. Yes, it’s true you might sweat more, but as long as you drink plenty of water; before, during and after, then there’s no problem. Basically, all the things people complained about are good things. Another point is that your body is warmer and people tend to get less injuries during the summer. I should stress that is just my experience and is not backed up by empirical evidence. Bouncy ball and some style! Australia, Egypt, Pakistan It was always my contention that players from Australia, Egypt and Pakistan were more creative and adventurous than players from colder countries. Yes, the are exceptions, but I felt that playing in those countries gave…

The simple, direct and honest answer is: When it breaks. But players’ equipment is a delicate topic for some.

Should You Use 2 Squash Rackets The Same Or 2 Different?

There have been some major changes in squash racket technology over the years. Between hand made wooden rackets to factory production, from factory production wooden rackets to early graphite, from early graphite to teardrop shaped frames and beyond. Let’s ignore steel- or ceramic-shafted, and aluminium frames as they didn’t really result in better rackets. There was a time, when every couple of years the difference between rackets was big enough to justify buying or at least consider buying a new racket. I don’t believe that is still true. So nowadays, if you are happy with your racket I suggest you consider buying another one just like it, as the likelihood is that in a year or so, you won’t be able to. Manufacturers Have To Update Their Range Often Squash rackets (and probably other racket sports too) are not too dissimilar to mobile phones. They went through a massive change and we have reached the point where each year the changes are smaller. Manufacturers need you to buy their rackets as often as possible. In the past you had little choice because they broke much easier than nowadays, but I find that in general modern rackets are pretty strong. Unbreakable rackets would be BAD for business – at least from a manufacturer’s point of view. That’s why every year or so, brands need to update their range and try to sell you the latest technology and design. I don’t blame them but we need to realise that not everything they say is completely true. Would You Really Notice An Improvement? Unless a racket has a distinctive feature, e.g. the Prince PowerRing, if I were to take , say 10 rackets made between 2012 and 2022. Remove all the paintwork and any other distinguishing marks and had the average club player test them, I highly doubt they would be able to notice a clear improvement. Yes, they would notice a difference…

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…

A professional squash match is filled with hundreds of shots. Some spectacular, some brilliant and some seemingly boring. But which ones really matter? And which ones can you learn from?

When you watch professional squash, it’s easy to focus on the kills, the nicks, the flashy, unusual shots. And while it is fun to do that, there’s more to be learnt from other shots. Sure, the shots that I will be taking about in this series of articles and videos will never win “Shot Of The Month”, but for club players they might bring more benefit. As you have seen from the title, the very first one in this series is a simple crosscourt from Joel Makin. But simple, doesn’t mean easy, neither for the striker nor for the opponent. It comes from the Qatar Classic 2021 Quarter Final game one, between Joel Makin and Mazen Hesham. See the game on the PSA Squash TV YouTube Channel. I highly recommend you watch it. The Crosscourt I’ve already written an article about crosscourts called 3 Crosscourts Every Club Player Should Know, and if you haven’t read, maybe now is the time. Joel’s crosscourt is one of those 3. Oh, BTW, there are other types of crosscourts, but those are important ones. When you hit a crosscourt, you are trying to move your opponent off the T, the same for most shots really. You hit it to stop them stepping across and volleying your straight drive. It adds variety to your game and makes it harder for your opponent to guess or anticipate your next shot. Hit it too wide and the ball will hit the side wall near the service box and be easily volleyable (new word?), hit it too directly into the corner and it will come too close you your opponent and again be easy to volley. The sweetspot is a crosscourt that hits the side wall just behind the service box. Let’s call it the Goldilocks Crosscourt Angle. All this assumes that you are rallying from the back and your opponent is on the T. But it can’t…

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…