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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.

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…

The pandemic has been the catalyst for squash to fight its way out of the dark and dingy corners of sports centres or private, often elite, clubs and into the sunshine (and rain!)

Squash Plus

One of squash’s problems is that many courts are never seen by potential players. They are often in private clubs, that are either very expensive or in not well-maintained. In the public sector, i.e. sports centres, squash courts are nearly always in the corner of the building you never walk past them to get somewhere else. It means people don’t see them. Just think about tennis for a moment. When Lawn Tennis was first created, it was because a King of France wanted to play Real Tennis outside. At least that’s how the story goes! The point is that once something is visible to more people, more people want to try it. At least that’s how the theory goes! Not only that, but many outdoor tennis courts are free to use. So if those two principles could be used in squash, that would help, right? yeah, probably. Squash+ is a company that was specifically created with the intention of building and promoting outdoor squash courts. They are focusing on two approaches. The first is almost an “off-the-shelf” solution. The image above comes from a padel club in Cáceres, Spain. Where they are continually developing new materials and construction techniques to ensure that this type of court is as effective as possible. That includes cost, maintenance and the ability to even move it. The second approach is for custom designed courts and surroundings. The image above is a render of a proposed facility with two courts. This type of specifically designed facility would obviously be more expensive than the other approach, but clearly has advantages. What’s crucial is that more people get to see squash in locations that they wouldn’t normally. Professional tournaments have been erecting squash courts in all sorts of unusual locations; train stations, airports, tops of skyscrapers and possibly the most icon, near the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. I am sure we all wish Squash+ success and can…

Overall, this is a well-performing racket, if a little too powerful for my liking. In this review, I talk about what it does well and what it doesn’t do so well, as well as three types of players it will suit.

Grays Illusion 110 Squash Racket

Techs and Specs As supplied this racket weighs 144grams and has a balance point of 370mm, making it quite head heavy. Once I put a grip on top of the one supplied, which is always too thin for me, it become 156 grams and has a 350mm balance point. Don’t worry too much about the difference in the name “110” and the actual weight “144” because manufacturers always use the base frame wight, i.e. no string,s grip, grommets etc. The frame is quite wide giving it a very solid feel and making the racket quite stiff. The strings are “Graytech” and seem acceptable. The tension was a little higher than I like, but that is expected and is the right thing to do – that way they can loosen over time. Visuals You certainly couldn’t miss this racket if it were in a pile of other rackets. Some will like the bold colourway and design, whiles others won’t. I do like the yellow myself. I’m a little unclear on the addition of the spade symbol, but perhaps I am missing something?! I suppose it’s simple a love it or hate it design. Power Baby! Of all the rackets I have tested recently, this one has the most power. That’s not an important aspect for me, as my game is bsed on control, but for some that could make the difference. Unlike some other powerful rackets, the Grays Illusion 110 never felt over-powerful, as in I could still control the ball. It impresses you the moment you first start to hit the ball Touch and Kills This racket plays best when hit with a lot of slice or flat. Anything in between doesn’t seem to get the best from the frame. if you style of game is attacking the ball, then this racket should suit you. Forgiveability Forgiveability describes a racket’s ability to respond when the ball is hit outside of…

It’s so easy to see other popular racket sports and almost blame them for squash’s decline. padel and pickle ball are popular at the moment and perhaps some squash players have moved across, but the chances are they weren’t happy with squash anyway.

Other Rackets Sports Are Not Squash's Enemy!

I’m using the term “racket sports” and I define a racket as something with strings. If it doesn’t have strings, then it’s a bat in my mind, but that’s not an industry standard. Many people in table tennis call their bats “rackets”, so just be aware that basically I am talking about sports where you hold something and hit a ball and then your opponent hits the ball with their something, normally on a court. Phew. So with the definition out of the way, let’s address the title. It seems to me that too many people view other rackets sports as competitors to squash and I can understand why people would think that. We have all heard of people trying squash and having fun, but then preferring tennis or badminton for example. The problem with this thinking is that the logical conclusion would be to ban all other racket sports except squash! Clearly that’s a stupid conclusion. Why would we want to stop people from enjoying other sports? In some ways, they are right. squash does compete with other rackets sports in terms of budget at local sports centres. Many places have limited budgets and need to allocate that budget to a variety of different sports and racket sports get bundled into one category, in the same way that invasion team sports do too. Do we say that rugby is the enemy of football or hockey? I don’t think so. people who play hockey, would not play rugby if hockey was not available to them. Just because they are similar in some aspects, doesn’t mean that the people who play them would switch if they couldn’t play their chosen sport. You don’t play ice hockey if hockey is not available, do you? What we need to do, and it seems to be happening more and more, is accept that people like different racket sports, but also recognize that a lot…

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…

Watch any professional match and you will always see lots of shots to the back of the court. Pro players seem to hit the ball to the back so much! Buy why? Read on to find out.

The Shot Budget

Money Versus Risk The first thing to understand is that pros play squash for a living. That might sound obvious, and it is, but that means winning is not just about pride and glory, it’s about money. The more matches you win, the more money you win. So losing is bad, really bad. You don’t want to take many risks, and that’s why the ball is hit to the back more than amateur games. They take fewer risks. If the attacking or probing shot is not really on, just wait until it is. Nobody won a tournament by going for nicks at every slightly lose ball. Well, maybe Ramy did, but he was special. Fitness It’s very easy for me to sit here and type the above paragraph, but you need the fitness to be able to wait for the right shot, and of course professional squash players are much, and I really do mean much, fitter than amateurs. Not just “fitter” in the general sense, but faster, stronger, more able to endure long, hard matches, more flexible and more mentally strong, which will lead us onto the next point in a moment. The tempo that they play at might seem quite fast on TV or even when you watch live, but actually on court it’s unbelievable. But even pros can be made tired by hard rallying. The threat of hitting short makes each deep shot all the more effective. Boast, drop , deep drive? Who knows until the last possible moment. The Waves Hitting The Shore It’s not uncommon for a few pro matches to start quite close in the first and maybe even the second game, but then the constant pressure becomes too much for the weaker player and suddenly the match is over. Amateurs often think matches are won with nicks, and it’s true that those shots are the dramatic visual end of a rally, but the…

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…