I recently switched to the Harrow Spark after several years using the Black Knight Magnum Corona. The primary difference between these racquets is the lightness of the Spark. The Corona is, in my opinion, a fairly standard racquet in terms of weight and balance. The head is almost completely circular while the Spark is more oblong.
There is, of course, a trade-off with a lighter racquet. The Spark is a very “maneuverable” racquet, meaning you can hit the ball with a compromised or improvised swing and don’t necessarily need a full backswing to make good contact. However, to generate power you need ample racquet head speed. It took me a few weeks to adjust to this difference; the Corona was heavier and thus more powerful. Overall I prefer the freedom afforded by the Spark. It is much easier to dig the ball out of the back corners, and to hit the ball when it’s behind you (or otherwise non-ideal positions). Having to generate racquet head speed is also a good thing for shot consistency and accuracy. I would recommend it for players who feel their current racquet is sluggish or difficult to control.
Few activities (healthy ones, at least) are as captivating as squash. People who have never seen it played in their lives suddenly become fascinated by the sport and play every day. It has endless new challenges and skills to master, and there is always someone better than you. In this post, I am going to detail some of the reasons I personally find squash such an amazing game. Ultimately, I think these observations can help simplify the game and make you a better player.
Perhaps the coolest thing about squash is its approximate, indefinite nature. Even the best players in the world rarely play perfect shots or points. This is why there are so many different successful styles and approaches. There is no single way to win at squash. Unlike “closed skill” sports such as swimming and running, where the same task is executed ad nauseum, there are literally thousands of decisions and actions being made every second that determine the outcome of a point. Closed skill sports tend to follow a simple equation: talent + hard work = success. However, “open skill” games like squash have no guaranteed formula for success. There are infinite combinations of movements and angles that can’t all be mastered. We all know someone who is annoyingly talented and hits the ball straight and clean despite playing once a week. Likewise, there are players who train excessively hard for minimal gains. Talented players seem to have an innate understanding of the angles and how to put the ball in the most difficult place. Without athleticism and coordination superior to their opponent, they manage to make people run laps just to stay in the rally! Jonathon Power is a classic example of a player who understands the game. I think this is why he can still challenge the best in the world despite being retired for six years and not training.
Another cool facet of the game is the psychology of winning. Mental toughness and determination are big reasons why less talented people often end up beating the naturals mentioned above. I can’t count the number of times I have seen a seemingly inferior player frustrate their opponent by running down every ball and forcing error upon error. Eventually, the talented player runs out of ideas and folds.
Both of these approaches are completely valid strategies for winning at squash. As the saying goes, people ask “How Many, not How”. How you win matches isn’t what counts when the dust has settled…how many matches you won does. So don’t obsess yourself with learning a certain style or playing perfect squash. In fact, the term perfect squash is really an oxymoron. Find a style you are comfortable with, and play each match on your own terms. Having a clear plan and sticking to your strengths is one thing I always do when I am playing well. Part of the beauty of the game is the ability to express yourself through your playing style. It is always surprising how much easier it all seems when you rid yourself of preconceived ideas about how it should be played, and do what feels natural.
I am watching a match between Jonathon Power and Peter Nicol on www.psasquashtv.com and am inspired by Jonathon’s play. He uses all 4 corners of the court beautifully to stretch his opponent out. What I find truly incredible to watch though is his use of deception in the front corners. Even watching the match on the computer it is difficult to figure out what shot he is going to play. There are really three things I believe that made him so hard to read at the front court. His body position, racquet preparation and how good he was at hitting the various shots.
Your body position in the front corners is critical as it gives you the ability to hit the drop, the straight length or the cross court. In particular leaving yourself the straight shot is critical and what Jonathon did so well. It is a hard shot to play and most players don’t even leave themselves the option with their approach to the ball in the front corner. Jonathon on both the forehand and backhand would setup the same for a drop, a straight drive or the cross court drive.
Racquet preparation is equally critical to your body position. Jonathon’s racquet preparation when he was in the front corner looked the same for the drop or either drive. It is very important to have your racquet in a position that will allow you to drive or drop. Many players when they are going to drop have already extended their racquet out in such a manner that prevents them from driving the ball. Likewise they will only have their racquet back when they go in to the front corner when they are going to drive. Focus on being able to hit a drop, or the straight or cross court drive every time you go in to the front corners. Work on making your racquet preparation look the same for every choice.
The ability to hit a quality drop, a quality straight drive or a quality cross court drive front corners is the key. Jonathon Power was great at all three shots. He had an amazing drop. He could kill it in to the nick given the angle or if the angle did not present itself he would keep it hugging the side wall. His cross court drive had the width to get by his opponent at the ‘T’. The straight drive from Jonathon was lethal. It is a very tough shot as your can’t pull it at all, you can’t catch the side wall it has to be very straight. Jonathon hit the straight drive from the front corner beautifully.
Jonathon Power was terrific in the front corners and his opponents rarely knew what shot was coming. His body position, racquet preparation and the fact that he could play any shot with such quality from the front corners left his opponents guessing as to what shot he was going to play.
CONTROL THE ‘T’ SPORTS IS PROUD TO NOW OFFER HARROW SPORTS SQUASH GEAR
Control the ‘T’ Sports is very proud to now be carrying Harrow Sports terrific line of squash gear. With their recent signing of Jonathon Power, their partnership with Squash Canada and their involvement with the National Squash Academy in Canada Harrow Sports has great momentum in the squash market.
Our mission at Control the ‘T’ Sports is to offer the best products and service to our customers. Offering Harrow Sports line of squash gear is definitely consistent with this mission.
To see our current lineup of Harrow Sports squash gear please visit us on the web atwww.controlthet.com or visit our Pro Shop at the Elora Racquets club.
For more information please contact Jeff Warren by email at email@example.com or by calling 1.877.370.4661.
Received a Tweet from @NationalSquash about the status of the National Squash Academy. The North American Junior Squash Championship just completed there and the video footage below is from the morning of the first day of the tournament. This great new facility is a fair ways from finished but it is well under way. It is great to see this progress from an announcement I read on www.squashtm.com to now having finished courts!
Jonathon Power is giving back to the Canadian Squash Community. He along with Jamie Nichols and Gary Waite are in the process of creating the National Squash Academy at Downsview Park in Toronto. I am lucky enough to be in the area and am definitely looking forward to visiting the facility.
Having such a facility in the city of Toronto is great for the local squash community. There are definitely other good clubs in the city of course but this is geared towards being a high performance center. To quote the information below it is a “center of squash excellence, combining all of the necessary elements of Long Term Athlete Development to grow the game and it’s athletes from playground to the podium” Clearly the focus is on training competitive athletes.