Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Benefits of a Head Light Squash Racquet

I have been playing with Black Knight Ion Element PSX Squash Racquet this season and must say I love it. It is not the normal type of racquet I have played with for the past few years though. I had been playing with tear drop racquets with a more even or head heavy balance. I like the more natural power they create. I originally tried the Element PSX to get my opinion on it and write a review of it. I liked the feel on contact of it. I really like the thin beam and have come to like the smaller head and sweet spot of the racquet. What I have really come to like is the relatively light weight of it and its head light balance. It is very quick to play with. I find that has really benefited my game. It has helped me to volley more, it has helped me be more deception with my shot selection and I am still able to generate good power. Continue reading

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Squash – Get the ball back to the front wall

Squash is fundamentally a simple game. All you need to do is hit the ball before it bounces on the floor twice and get it back to the front wall without it going out. Sometimes it really pays to remember that. I was playing a good friend of mine, who I play pretty regularly and I had a plan on how I was going to win the match against him. I wanted to play nice tight squash up and down the side wall to prevent him from being able to attack. My friend given an open ball is very good at hitting a low hard drive that puts me under a lot of pressure. I did not want to give him that opportunity this time around. My strategy though while sound was just not working for me. I was doing a fairly good job of limiting his attacking play but he was being patient too. Ultimately more often than not he was winning the rallies. The rallies were generally long with good shots up and down the wall but I was being forced to cough up a weak ball sooner than he was too often. I ended up going down two games to none. Going on to court for the third game I realized I needed to change things up or risk going down in three straight games. I decided to do three things different. I was going to volley more often, I was going to be more aggressive but more importantly I was going to out work my friend and do everything I could possibly do to get every ball back to the front wall.

The first part of my plan did help a bit. I was volleying more and that helped keep my friend off of the ‘T’. I was taking the ball early, before he could recover to the ‘T’ as much as possible and doing a good job of mixing up a few short balls with the rest of the balls going to a back corner. I was starting to control a bit more of the play and was working him around the court more. I was slowly starting to the turn the tide in my favour with this part of the new game plan.
Not only was I volleying more but I was being much more aggressive with my hitting. Rather than hitting mostly slower paced balls that I was hoping to keep tight I was increasing the pace on my drives and hitting them lower. I was doing a pretty good job of keeping them tight and was making it hard for my friend to get some of the balls back. I won some points outright and setup other points by forcing weak returns that put me in a good attacking position.

Ramy Ashour lunging for a ball at the MWT Mullhouse

Photo credit to SquashSite

The last part of my strategy though is what really won me the match. I was utterly determined to get every ball back no matter how much I had to run to do it and how weak my return might end up being. I got back a bunch of balls that I had no business getting back and worked extremely hard to get myself back in position to cover my friend’s next shot. I will confess that some of the shots were just too weak and I could not cover his next shot but some of them I got back, covered the next shot and was able to reset the rally to a neutral position. I even picked up a few points on errors. Technically they were unforced errors on my friend’s part but by working hard you can put some doubt in your opponents mind. Doubt that they can end the rally and often they will start trying to hit too good of a shot and errors will slowly start to creep in to their game. One particular point I remember I was up 9-7 in the fifth game and utterly losing the rally. I got two or three very difficult balls back. On the last one was I sent from the front corner deep in to the back corner on my backhand side. All I had was a side wall boast to a waiting opponent who was going to drop the ball. A good drop would win. A just okay drop though he knew I would get back as while I was out of position I was scrambling back to cover the short ball. He ended up catching tin trying to hit too good of a drop. That set up match ball for me which I ended up winning.

Adjusting my play in the third game ended up winning me the match. Volleying gave me more control of the ‘T’ which helped. It helped me put some more work in to my friend’s legs. Being more aggressive won me some points and setup some others. Ultimately though it was the third part of the change in plans that won me the match. I worked extremely hard to get the ball back to the front wall no matter how hard it was to do so. I got myself back in to a lot of points and ended up winning my fair share of those. I also won a few outright when my friend made an “unforced” error. My goal going in to most matches is to control play and win on skill but sometimes that will just not work. In times like those it often pays to remember to just get the ball back to the front wall no matter what it takes. It is surprising how often that will end up winning you a match.

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Squash – Movement to and from the ball

Movement in squash is probably the most important aspect of the game. It is also one the things that really separates different levels of players. When moving to the ball there are a few key elements to consider. Most of the time if you can you need to get on the ball quickly to have the option of putting time pressure on your opponent. You also need to approach the ball in a manner that leaves you options as to where you hit the ball. One of the most critical points of moving to the ball though is leaving yourself in a good position to move off of the ball. I believe this is probably the biggest differences between high level players and lower level players. Continue reading

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