I have been playing squash all summer which is nice. I am in good match shape at this point and am ready to get more serious about match play.
Squash in the summer for me is about working on things. I try to go on court with the mindset that while I want to win the match that is not necessarily the most important part of the game. I try to come up with a part of the game I want to work on and focus on that. It might be movement in to the front corner. To work on this I might choose to play more boasts and drops then normal in an attempt to get counter drops out of my opponent. This gives me a chance to work on my movement in and out of the front corners. I might choose to work on my length game from the back court. To do this I might let balls pass that I would otherwise volley because I want to work on getting the ball past my opponent when I am stuck in the back corner.
When squash season starts it is time to start focusing more on things that make you successful on the court. For me that is very simple. I need to focus on being aggressive. I have to be aggressive to and from ‘T’. I need to have an aggressive mindset of wanting to really beat my opponent and to play the best possible point I can on each and every point. It also means for me that I need to focus on volleying. I play my best when I am very quick back to the ‘T’ and try really hard to never give it up by taking the ball on the volley whenever it is possible. It is a simple strategy but that is what works for me. Hopefully the work I have done throughout the summer on the other aspects of the game will pay off when it is needed but my focus is very clear that I want to dominate the ‘T’ and keep my opponent off of it.
What works for you? It is time to figure that out as squash season is starting and it is time to start winning your matches!
One of the biggest differences between low to mid level players and higher level players is how fast they recover to the ‘T’ after playing their shot. One the most noticeable areas I see this on court is at the front corners.
It is extremely common to see a player rush up to get a boast or drop that their opponent has played to one of the front corners, hit a drop and then get stuck in the front corner. If their opponent gets to the ball earlier enough they can often end the point with a cross court drive as they have not been able to get back to ‘T’ to take that shot away.
I am watching a replay of the PSA World Open 2010 final between James Willstrop and Nick Matthew on PSA Squash TV and impressed with Nick Matthew’s position on the ‘T’. He is playing such a high ‘T’ position and putting so much pressure on James. Willstrop won the first game with some absolutely astounding accurancy but had to work so hard to do it. The second game was close to about 5 but after that Nick opened up a huge lead mostly because of the work James has had to do to that point.
The high ‘T’ position really allows Nick to attack short when he chooses, especially on his forehand side. The width that James has to get on a crosscourt drive to prevent Nick from volleying it is unbelievable. He is having to nearly catch the side wall at the centre of the court to get it behind Nick. Even when he does attain that width Nick only has to take a couple of steps back because of the angle and still play it without really having to give up too much ground.
Nick is also using a great hold on his drives while being so high on the ‘T’. This is forcing James to have to recover so quickly to the centre of the court, because he has to respect the drop before being sent to the backcourt to retrieve Nick’s drive.
Nick’s use of the high ‘T’ position really put so much time presure on James Willstrop that it really broke him down by mid match. James did have a much harder time getting through to the final than Nick did which definitely contributed to the fatigue but Nick’s play truly exposed it. A brilliant display of good tactical squash. Definitely shows that value of recovery to the ‘T’ quickly to dictate play.