The object of the game of squash is to make your opponent cover the most distance, in the least amount of time during the course of a match. To achieve this objective, every shot you play needs to be accurate but that’s not all; depending on the type of shot, it needs to be struck with one or more of the following: early, with deception, hard or soft. If the shot follows this criteria, it’s guaranteed to create maximum pressure; your opponent will be stretched and arrive late to the ball.
So I can emphasise the main point I want to get across, I’m going to focus on accuracy alone.
Ok let’s take a step back. Imagine, I’m about to demonstrate various shots on the squash court. Your vantage point is directly above so you have a bird’s eye view of the proceedings. Pretty cool huh? Having said that, I may get a stiff neck and you may well suffer from vertigo… not good!
Now, at this point, I want you to be aware of the objective of every shot that I’m going to demonstrate – to stretch your opponent as much as possible. The shot needs to force your opponent to play the ball before it ‘dies away’ into a wall whether it be the back and/or side wall. Note, that I use the words ‘dies away’ and not ‘rebounds off’ a wall – this is very important! This causes your opponent to move faster to the point of strike even though he has to cover the same distance. It also limits the shots he can play because the ball is fading away into a wall. It’s much easier to hit all four corners of the court when the ball rebounds off a wall. Make the ball fade away, it’s much more effective.
This is what the professional squash player tries to accomplish with every shot – a ball that fades away into a wall, limiting his opponent’s shots and stretching them fully.
Ok let’s get back to the lesson and your bird’s eye view of the squash court. I’m going to demonstrate a few shots; the perfect straight drive, straight drop and boast.
The ball hits the front wall, rebounds and travels in a direct line towards the back corner. On it’s journey, the ball bounces towards the back of the service box, reaches the top of the bounce and then dips into the back wall whilst being tight to the side wall. Your opponent is forced to strike the ball before the back wall, otherwise, it will be dead.
The ball hits the front wall softly just above the tin, rebounds, bounces on the floor, top of the bounce and then dips tight onto the side wall. Your opponent has to play the ball before it hits the side wall.
The ball hits the side wall, front wall, bounces on the floor, top of the bounce and then dips into the side wall. Your opponent is forced to play the ball before the side wall.
Notice, the key point for all the above shots is to force your opponent to move quickly and play the ball before it dies into a wall thus limiting the number of shots he can play. Let the alarm bells ring in your head if you over-hit causing the ball to rebound of a wall – it’s a BAD shot!
Learn to play your shots with this idea firmly fixed in your mind – you will stretch your opponent by stretching the squash court.