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 that is about to be played. To recap: amateurs change the way they hit the ball when hitting reverse angle boasts.
In contrast, professional players generally hit it less often, but way more importantly disguise their preparation and contact point/position. They use their “wrist” to hit the ball, not a different swing. This means that when professional players play the reverse angle against anybody less than another professional it is incredibly effective. I have been caught out many times.
Oh Dear, So Where Does That Leave Us?
It leaves us with professional squash players using it and being quite effective. It leaves us with recreational players using it and often being effective. SO WHY THE HELL CAN’T I PLAY IT?! you ask? Because if you want to get better, you need to play it less often and with better disguise. As a coach, I want to instill long-term and effective habits into my pupils and playing the reverse angle is not a good habit to develop.
If you improve, you will play against players who will literally thank you every time you play it. You will naturally forget the 5 points you lost on it, but definitely remember the glory of the one winning point you hit from it, and probably the first shot too. If it works, keep playing it, but if you hit 5 a match and you don’t win 4 points from it, then stop and develop a much more effective crosscourt drop. THEN, on the tenth drop, play the reverse angle and watch in pleasure as it wins you the point.
Just like the fast tennis-style serve, a reverse angle become less effective when you play better players. Play it with care.
If you want to defend the reverse angle boast, feel free to comment.