“Power is nothing without control”. What a great quote and so profoundly true in a game of squash.
I’ve never been a consistent big hitter of the squash ball probably because of my skinny physique but that doesn’t mean I can’t hit the ball hard. I just choose not too most of the time because lessening the power creates more control and ‘feel’. This helps me to increase the likelihood of executing a more accurate shot.
In fact, I don’t believe any shot should be stuck with 100% power. Well maybe there’s only one occasion and that is when your opponent stretches into the front corner, plays a drop shot and moves towards the side wall to avoid the stroke. The ball sits up and is screaming for you to pounce on it and strike it on the very top of the bounce as hard as possible cross court. The cross court doesn’t need to be too accurate. The fact that you have hit the ball early with lots of pace should be enough to win the point providing it dies before hitting the back wall.
Generally, when I’m hitting a drive I would hit the ball with approx. 80%-85% power. This enables me to still execute an accurate drive. More power and my control would start to radically drop.
This kind of power will help you to play yourself into a match when your ‘feel’ isn’t quite there from the outset. Your control and ‘feel’ should improve as the match progresses because you are not thrashing at the ball.
Another benefit when hitting drives at 80%-85% power is that it improves economy on two counts. Firstly, you will use less energy when striking the shot and secondly, you will be more accurate which will reduce your court coverage. These are very important factors when playing someone of a similar standard. It could be the difference between winning and losing.
So remember the next time you play, hit the drive firmly with control. You may just find that it’s your opponent, and not you, slumped in the corner after a punishing match.