One of the the first things taught when starting out on the road to potential squash mastery is to get back to the ‘T’ after every shot. In actual fact, it’s a position about a metre behind the ‘T’. It’s what every text book tries to instil. It’s true location is quite often revealed by the worn red tape on the floorboards of your local squash court.
This basic fundamental is important to engrain as a beginner, however, as you improve it’s best to throw that limiting text book out of the window. Don’t always move back to the ‘T’; learn to move to a location on the court which offers the best chance of exploiting a trap whilst not totally committing yourself.
So what do I mean by a trap?
A trap is set when you play a really good, tight, pressuring shot; your opponent will be under extreme pressure and as a consequence will be restricted by the number of shots available to him. Take note – he won’t be able to hit all four corners of the court effectively. This should be an alarm for you NOT to move back to the ‘T’. An opportunity to attack your exposed opponent could well present itself, if you position yourself correctly.
Ok let me describe the two most common traps and where to position yourself on the court to maximise your chances of exploiting the situation.
Trap 1 – imagine you’re involved in a rally down the backhand wall. Both you and your opponent hit deep and reasonably tight returning to the ‘T’ after every straight backhand drive. Eventually, you manage to take the initiative and hit a tighter more penetrating drive. You sense your opponent scrambling to the back. You’ve set the trap! You know he’s unable to generate any pace on a cross-court shot. This is a call for you to position yourself to the left of the ‘T’, nearer the backhand wall, so you have a greater chance to cut out the potential loose straight drive because you know you can cover the cross-court.
Trap 2 – you’re jostling with your opponent for the central area. An opportunity presents itself; you take full advantage and cut a short straight shot that fades away into the side way. Trap set! Again, your opponent is at full throttle; chasing the ball down, lunging in. From experience, you know that more often that not, his only option is to hit a lame cross-court because he’s unable to get side-on to play a good straight ball. It’s essential for you to move literally right up on the ‘T’, cut the angle down so if the cross-court comes, you can attack early with a potentially winning deep straight volley.
Try visualising the above scenarios to help make it an instinctive predatory habit then you’ll be able to set the trap and pounce like a tiger without any conscious thought.