Tag Archives: squash

Review of the Dunlop Force Evolution 130 Squash Racquet

Recently I took out the Dunlop Evolution 130 for a hit and I found it to be a very interesting racquet. It features a tear drop design with a small bridge, a dense string pattern (14×18), 130 frame weight, and an even head balance. I played a couple matches with this racquet as I tried to figure out how it played best. A racquet that doesn’t fail to deliver in either control or power and with an even balance, the EVO 130 is great for players who tend to be more patient on court. It also a great feel on contact when hitting the ball as it provides great stability due to its string pattern.

At first, I tried an aggressive approach: volleying on the midcourt, using my wrist more, increasing the pace, and hitting hard and low shots. I found out that this was more challenging to do with this racquet. This is due to its weight of 130 grams and even balance which in reality, in my personal opinion, felt slightly head heavy. Volleying on the midcourt was not an easy task since I was not able to maneuver the racquet very easily and using my wrist put extra stress on my arm. Also, increasing the pace was harder once again due to maneuverability (it was harder to get the racquet ready on time). However, my main focus in squash is speed and accuracy rather than arm strength and power (I get the power from the racquet I normally use) so it is fair to say that this is why the EVO 130 didn’t suit my aggressive play. Having said this, if you are an aggressive player with good arm strength, you won’t find it a problem to maneuver this racquet easily.

Dunlop Force Evolution 130

Dunlop Force Evolution 130

Since aggressive play didn’t work for me using the EVO 130, I tried a more patient approach to the match. I started making more fluid swings and keeping the ball at the back of the court. This worked perfectly since the balance and weight of the racquet allowed me to go through the ball easily without much effort but providing me enough power to get the ball to the back of the court. This was also a more pleasant experience in terms of comfort as I felt great when hitting the ball; the racquet is very forgiving mainly due to its stability but also to its dense string pattern. It also provided me with great feel and control when dropping the ball whether it was from the midcourt or the front court. Another nice thing about this racquet is its head design, which is reminiscent of the Black Knight Quicksilver nXs (tear drop with small bridge), since it helps with power generation. Although I have made it sound like this is a racquet not suitable for aggressive play, this racquet didn’t fail to deliver when I wanted to put the ball away; whether it was a loose shot from my opponent giving me time to hit a hard and low shot or a nice and easy drop shot, the EVO 130 gave me all I needed. The reason for this is the racquet’s stability and string pattern which helped me control the ball much easier than with my usual racquet.

In conclusion, this racquet can be amazing in the right hands. Even though it is hard to use aggressively, it is not an impossible task to do. But, if you plan on using it for long and fluid rallies where you want to create opportunities to put the ball away, this racquet will fit you very well. With an interesting design which allows it to have a bigger sweet spot and better stability, this racquet will feel amazing when hitting any type of shot!

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How to Take Full Advantage of Squash Drills

When training, many players do drills without any concise objective in mind. Players tend to “rinse and repeat” a drill without focusing on important things such as footwork or shot accuracy. Whenever a player is about to start a drill, they should always have an objective in mind, concentrate on it, and works towards as they do the exercise. This is very important since it will help the player develop better muscle memory as well as improve their game more significantly.

During any drill a player should always be aware of where they are situated on court, as well as where they want to hit the ball. If a drill requires to move between different areas of the court, the player currently doing it should always rotate back to the ‘T’. Many players ignore this since they know where the ball is going to go during the drill; for example, if two players are doing a boast-drive drill, both players might move from corner to corner (front and back, respectively) instead of going back to the ‘T’ after every shot. Furthermore, on any drill that focuses on rotation around the court, e.g. boast-drive, players should also concentrate on hitting good shots and not just hitting the ball back. Both of these things are important for various reasons, such as: improving muscle memory, accuracy, position awareness, and rotation to the ‘T’. But most importantly, applying this will help much more in real match situations since the players are essentially simulating the shots and movements they want to perform on court.

Another good example of a very common drill where players tend to forget what the real objective is, is the length rotation drill on one side of the court. Many players, including me, stand at the back and on the side where the ball is being hit at or they rotate back to the ‘T’ but not enough. Basically they wait for the ball to come to them since the drill is happening on one single quadrant of the court. On such a drill, players should again concentrate on rotating to the ‘T’ properly as well as hitting accurate shots. Going back to the ‘T’ correctly after every shot will help develop speed and agility which will be necessary when playing a real match. This is an advantage since a big part of the game is keeping the ball deep and being patient, so good rotation is essential. Furthermore, players should focus on hitting the ball tight as well as where they want the ball to bounce first. Personally, I believe that a player should try to hit the ball on the same spot every time for about 3-5 consecutive shots, then choose a different spot and repeat the same process throughout the duration of the drill. This will aid muscle memory and accuracy which will lead to better shots in a real match.

Before doing any type of drill, every player should always keep something in mind to work towards to. Drills are designed to improve a player’s game but this can only be achieved by how the player decides to approach the drill. Taking full advantage of the drill is the one thing that will help a player improve their game; there are always different things that can be worked on at the same time on any given drill!

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Review of the Head Xenon TB 120 Squash Racquet

Recently I took the Head Graphene XT Xenon 120 Slimbody for a hit and I have to say I’m happy with the results. This racquet weighs 120g, has an even head balance, has a smaller head size, and features a very thin beam. Overall a very nice racquet to play with as it is very maneuverable and provides great control due to its bridged design and small head. However, you need to hit all your shots on the sweet spot in order to avoid movement and vibration through the racquet.

Head Graphene XT Xenon Slimbody 120 Squash Racquet

The first thing I noticed is how easy it is to generate head speed with this racquet. I was able to make quick swings easily which allowed me to maintain power which is a nice thing since I had to generate most of it myself without the aid of the racquet (due to its light weight and head balance). I was able to attack more on the mid court and, because of its bridged design, I could take full advantage of my attack with better accuracy. Furthermore, even if I couldn’t attack right on the midcourt, I was still able to retrieve shots before they reached the back court since the racquet’s light weight and thin beam allowed me to be more flexible with my wrist; this was also a great thing when I needed to ‘dig’ shots off the back wall. The racquet’s thin beam is a feature I found interesting as it aids racquet speed; but, before using it, I thought this would impact control negatively which ended up not being the case.

The control this racquet provides is good. Not only could I hit better and more accurate drop shots, but I was also able to control the ball better on harder shots. I like to think that this is due to the racquet’s amazing sweet spot. Whenever I would hit the ball on the sweet spot it felt like I wasn’t even hitting it since all vibrations were completely damped; this is where I found I would hit my best shots as the racquet would let me whit my shots wherever I wanted to hit them with amazing accuracy. However, if I hit the ball off the sweet spot the racquet was not too stable which is a minor setback but not really a big problem at all. Having said this, I would recommend using this racquet if you are the type of player who tends to hit the ball on the middle of the racquet more often than not. I also found that even though it is a very light racquet with an even head balance, it was not hard to take the racquet through the ball unlike other similar racquets where the player needs to make a greater effort to achieve this. The only time I found I had to do this was when hitting drop shots but this is expected from such a light and thin racquet.

Overall a great racquet with great control, maneuverability, and head speed. This was the first time I tried out Head’s Xenon series and I am very happy with the results I got with the Head Graphene XT Xenon 120 Slimbody. Being able to attack shots on the mid court with increased accuracy was a nice advantage as well as being able to use my wrist more on harder to retrieve shots. My favourite thing about this racquet is its sweet spot since the feeling I would get when I hit the ball there was amazing: barely feeling anything and knowing my shot was going to go wherever I wanted it to go. I highly recommend this racquet for an overall type of player who likes to be aggressive but needs reliability on accuracy. Also, I would very much recommend this racquet to any advanced player who will be able to most of their shots right in the middle of the racquet. Give it a try, find its sweet spot, and enjoy playing great squash!

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Review of the Prince Pro Shark 650

I have never played with a Prince racquet before and I am very happy I got to try out the Prince Pro Shark 650. This racquet is very light yet very powerful with an amazing amount of grip. I play with a slightly heavier racquet with very similar balance to the Pro Shark (should be able to generate more power with mine) and I found out that I could generate the same amount of power with the Prince racquet. Featuring a more open string pattern, 14 x 15, I was also able to get tons of cut on the ball. This racquet not only looks great, it plays amazingly.

Prince Pro Shark 650 Squash Racquet

Prince Pro Shark 650

Weighting 129 grams when unstrung and with a balance of 35.3mm this racquet has a great combination between light weight and power. This is a great advantage as there is increased maneuverability without a significant loss of power. The racquet’s maneuverability comes from its light weight which helps with aggressive play when volleying on the middle of the court. The power is generated by both the head balance and the string pattern; the head heavy balance keeps the head stable and lets the racquet go through the ball more easily while the open string pattern provides a higher trampoline effect.  Also, due to its weight, it was easier to prepare the racquet thus giving me more time to hit my shot as well as letting me use a shorter swing without compromising power. In addition to this, I noticed that hitting the ball on the racquet’s sweet spot felt amazing and created a larger amount of power; however, racquet stability is decreased on off-centre shots but this shouldn’t be a big problem. These are not the only great features of this racquet since its more open string pattern provides something really important: cut.

When trying to hit hard and low shots or drop shots, it is essential to create a good amount of cut or ‘bite’ on the ball. For the Pro Shark 650 this is no problem at all. Its open string pattern lets the strings ‘grab’ the ball more and thus creates more grip between the ball and the strings. I was able to hit better low shots since the strings gave me the extra cut needed to reduce the distance between the ball and the tin; I found these shots to be the most effective ones when using this racquet. Furthermore, my drop shots improved as well as I was able to put more backspin on my shots which led the ball to a shorter bounce making things more difficult for my opponent. Not only did the increased cut help me in the front court, it also helped in the back court. The cut on the ball also reduced the ball’s bounce when coming off the back wall making it harder to retrieve the shot.

The Prince Pro Shark 650 caught me by surprise. At a first glance I didn’t expect much from a light racquet with such an open string pattern. But, once I took out for a hit, I remembered not to judge a book by its cover. I was impressed by how fast I could swing the racquet and how much power I could generate on short swings. I am usually not an aggressive player but with this racquet I felt I had to be since all its features are great tools for aggressive play. Being able to hit quick volleys, powerful shots just above the tin, and very short drop shots gave me a great advantage over my opponent. I would recommend this racquet to the more aggressive type of player who likes to combine great power with fast and short swings. I know it could be an odd looking racquet but give it a try and you will not regret it!

To learn more, or purchase the Prince Pro Shark Powerbite Squash Racquet click on the “View in store” button below.

Prince Pro Shark Powerbite 650 Squash Racquet

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Squash at the 2015 Pan Am Games

With the Pan Am games coming to Toronto from July 7th to July 26th and with squash running from July 11th to July 17th, we are excited to see the great level of squash that will be displayed from both men and women. With a top ten player on each category, there are clear favorites but it won’t be too easy for them as there are potential dark-horses that can come out on top. Here are the favorites for both the men and women as well as the other top contenders:

Women

Favorite: Amanda Sobhy – USA, World Ranking: 10

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Women’s Favorite Amanda Sobhy

The 22 year-old from New York has been turning heads since she was just a teenager. Having claimed three Tour titles at the age of 16, she is a record breaker in the game of squash. In 2010, she became the first player from the USA to win the World Junior Championship. Breaking into the top ten in September 2014 and named PSA Women’s Young Player of the Year in May 2015, she is the favorite to go all the way during this year’s Pan Am games.

But, Sobhy will not have an easy time getting there. With compatriot Olivia Blatchford (World Ranking 37) as well as Canadian Samantha Cornett (World Ranking 33) and Mexican Samantha Teran (World Ranking 30) in the mix, Sobhy will have very strong contenders that could upset her chances at the title. With 24 women aiming for gold, we are guaranteed and intense and action-packed tournament between the best players in the Americas.

Speaking of Samantha Cornett we will definitely be cheering for her being a Canadian company and also one of her sponsors.  Good luck Sam!

Men

Favorite: Miguel Angel Rodriguez – Colombia, World Ranking: 4

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Men’s Favorite Miguel Angel Rodriguez

The first South American to reach the top ten in the world, “The Colombian Cannonball” will try to defend his title after winning gold at the previous games in 2011. Breaking into the top ten in January 2015 and reaching the semi-finals in two major championships in 2015, the Colombian is having his strongest season and will be the men’s favorite to win the event. Arguably the fastest and fittest player on tour, he is always fun to watch and will bring tons of excitement and jaw opening moments on court with his outrageous gets and dives. He will be a very tough one to beat!

However, there are some other very strong players competing for victory. With Canadian Shawn Delierre (World Ranking: 58) and Peruvian Diego Elias (World Ranking: 43) on the main draw, the Colombian will have to work hard to get past these players. After defeating compatriot Andrew Schnell (World Ranking: 92) in the final of the 2015 Canadian National Singles Squash Championships in May 2015, Delierre comes to this tournament in strong form. Elias comes in strong as well after recently winning the Costa Rica Tennis Club Open last month; the 6’2’’, 18 year-old will make some noise as he aims for the top spot at the tournament.

On the men’s side we are hoping for a strong showing by the Canadian men. We would also like to wish Chris Hanson good luck as well as one of our sponsored athletes.

Squash at the Pan Am games will be a must watch for everyone since it brings the best players in the Americas against each other. There will be world class squash and if you live in or near Toronto, you shouldn’t miss this event. Hopefully the world can see how beautiful and competitive squash is, and how much talent the Americas bring to the sport.

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Easy Drill to Improve Your Front Court Shots

This week I was training one-on-one with my coach, and we decided to improve my game at the front court by working on: taking my time, starting my swing from the same position every time, making a shorter swing, and using my wrist more. The reason he told me I needed to do this was to incorporate deception on every shot, as well as increase my accuracy while retaining the same amount of power as before. Surprisingly enough, by the end of practice I was hitting better shots at the front with a shorter swing that always started from the same spot. It was very helpful and I believe it’s worth discussing so that other players can try it out as well.

The first thing we worked on was quicker racquet preparation. I stood on the ‘T’ while he fed me the ball on the front court. The idea was to have the racquet ready before getting to the ball; as soon as he fed the ball I would first get my racquet up and then I would get to hitting a shot. A lot of players start their swing as they are close to the ball and this is not a bad thing; but, on quick shots and under pressure, this will take too much time from the swing, possibly leading to hitting a loose shot. If however you have your racquet prepared before reaching the ball, once you get to it you will have more time to think where to return the shot. This is the first step, and if you wish to do this, you should concentrate solely on having your racquet ready before moving to the ball.

Once I was able to get to every ball with my racquet ready beforehand, we moved on to hitting every shot from the same position with a shorter swing. The first thing we worked on was to have a shorter swing. The reason for this was to be able to hold the shot for as long as possible so that the opponent has less time to read it. The idea here is to concentrate on using the forearm and wrist instead of the whole arm to generate power; the same amount of power can be generated using a shorter swing by generating more racquet speed in increasing the velocity on the forearm and wrist movements. Then, I would concentrate on getting my racquet back on the exact spot every single time in order to create uncertainty on what type of shot I would hit next. Try having someone feed you easy to return shots so that you can concentrate on your racquet preparation, footwork, and making a shorter swing. From the same position you can hit: a drop or cross court drop, a low and hard length or cross court shot, a boast, or a length or cross court shot to the back of the court. All of these shots are possible due to the shorter and faster swing and I believe any player can see the advantage of being able to hit multiple shots from the exact same racquet position!

Towards the end, we worked on including the wrist more to improve accuracy. This is a bit harder to explain as it depends on how every player feels about using their wrist. The main thing we concentrated on was hitting the crease or ‘nick’ with both drop and kill shots. Also, we concentrated on stopping the swing almost immediately after hitting the ball, i.e. having a much shorter follow through. Having a full follow through when trying to hit accurate shots is not ideal since there is more racquet movement and therefore more influence on where the ball is going. A shorter follow through will keep the ball in line as the effect of the racquet going through it is minimum. If you want to improve accuracy on the front court you should concentrate on using just the wrist to give direction to the ball. However, there is no ‘textbook’ wrist movement so you should find your own comfort zone with wrist shots. A great way to practice this is having someone feed easy, loose shots at the very front of the court and hitting the ball using the wrist only, i.e. no forearm or upper arm movements, and always having accuracy as a top priority. Always keep the crease in mind, trying to hit the ball about 2-3 inches above the tin. This way you can become comfortable with your own wrist movement that gets you the best shots. Furthermore, you should always keep in mind your balance as it is essential for accuracy and better shots; you can read more on this here.

Finally, we practiced hitting different shots from different places on the front court while applying everything we learned at the same time. Always keep in mind your body and racquet position, keeping your head down, and your wrist movement. Having said this, if you are looking to improve your front court game you can try out this very helpful drill. The best way to do it is to take it step by step while concentrating on each step’s main goal to finally include everything in one single movement. It is always good to try new drills to improve any aspect of your game, so give it a try and see how your game can improve.

Please feel free to leave your ideas, opinions, thoughts, and/or questions on the comment section below and we will be more than happy to help you!

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Head Heavy, Head Light, or Even Balanced: What Should I Use?

When planning on buying a squash racquet there are many things to take into consideration: how it will fit your game, the weight of the racquet, the type of throat, the balance, etc. The choice of balance in a squash racquet depends on the type of player and I believe that many players have a hard time knowing which balance fits their game best. I will talk about the balance of squash racquets and how each type fits different types of players.

Head light racquets, as the name indicates, have lighter heads and thus the weight is balanced towards the handle of the racquet. Here, maneuverability is the key element of the racquet and thus it is excellent for aggressive players who like to attack with volleys, players who have short swings, and players who are yet to develop more wrist strength. If a player likes to volley a lot, a head light racquet will be beneficial due to the fact that it has increased maneuverability. A player will be able to bring the racquet up faster which is the most essential movement when it comes to attacking with a volley. For players with short swings, fast racquet speed is a must and a head light balance will help greatly with this as it is easier to swing. However, this type of player has to be sure that they can generate enough power by themselves (i.e. without the help of the racquet) to ensure enough ball speed. If a player doesn’t have a strong wrist yet, they should consider a more head light racquet as it will be easier to maneuver with less strength. Head light racquets will often be heavier in order to help generate power; but, if increased power with decreased overall weight is what a player is looking for, a head heavy racquet is the best choice.

A head heavy racquet will have most of its weight towards the head. Having a head heavy balance will help the racquet move through the ball easier and thus it best suits more patient players who like to play a solid length game, players with more fluid swings, and players that have a hard time generating power by themselves. A patient, length game is a great game strategy and players who like to implement it should consider a head heavy racquet. The reason is that, since it helps to generate power, less effort is needed to get the ball to the back of the court hence saving the player more energy which is needed to keep up the longer rallies that arise from such strategy. For the same reason, a player with a more fluid swing will find this balance helpful. A player that can’t generate enough power by themselves can swing slower but still generate enough power; this is common among young players who are yet to develop more strength. Head heavy racquets are great for players who like to have a more patient and fluid game, and/or young players who need aid in generating power. If a player is looking for a combination of the previous two types of balances, they should consider even balanced racquets.

An even balanced racquet will have a relatively equal weight distribution. This type of balance is considered to be more flexible and will fit players who like to volley while generating a decent amount of power. A player who likes to ‘switch’ up their strategy mid-rally will find this type of racquet helpful. It is maneuverable enough to be able to provide good racquet preparation speed as well as good swing speed and powerful enough to generate good power on more fluid swings. This balance I believe is helpful when a player likes to change the pace in the middle of the point.

Any player who is considering getting a new racquet should look well into the balance of the racquet and which type fits them better. However, the choice of balance should not be dictated solely on a player’s type of game; personal preference is top priority here. Having said this I strongly encourage players to try out all three types of balances before acquiring a new racquet. Here at Control the ‘T’ Sports we have a wide variety of squash racquets that you can take a look at.

Please feel free to use the comment section below if you have any questions and we will be more than happy to help you! If you would like to read more about how to choose a squash racquet please download our guide to buying a squash racquet by following the link below.

Control the 'T' Sports Guide to Buying a Squash Racquet

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Good Balance Leads to Great Shots

Balance is a very important part of the game when it comes to hitting good shots. You need good balance in order to get a solid hit on the ball, and to be able to stay quick on your feet for the next one. Recently I have concentrated on this and I have found that the results are great. I am finding myself hitting more accurate and more powerful shots thus helping me win more points. Here are ways that good balance will help you hit better shots and be quicker when getting back to the ‘T’.

I play varsity squash and the other day I was playing a match against one of my teammates. Our coach was watching and after the first game he gave me some tips on how to hit better shots. He told me that whenever I had time to hit a good shot I was rushing to the ball and thus hitting it when I was off balance. He said I had to take my time, make sure I was balanced and well positioned, and then go on to hit the shot. So I jumped on court for the second game and concentrated on what he told me. So whenever I had time to I made sure I had good footwork in order to position myself with good balance in front of the ball. I placed myself on my normal hitting position but I made sure that my feet were planted solid on the ground; I made sure I used good strength to keep my legs and torso still through my shot. Having done this I was able to hit much more solid and accurate shots. It worked really well for me.

The reason for good balance leading to good shots is the fact that you are able to hit your shots on the racquet’s ‘sweet spot’ more often. If you are off balance previous to hitting a shot, your torso will move around and hence your shoulder as well; all this affects your swing and where you hit the ball. For example, on one shot when playing against my teammate, I tried to hit a straight length as my torso was moving backwards and I ended pulling the ball across resulting a shot right down the middle. So, if you manage to stay balanced leading to the shot, your torso is stable thus giving your arm all the strength and accuracy needed to hit a solid shot. You will also be able to control your shots better since there is no ‘extra’ movement from your body being off balance. In other words, your whole movement will be concentrated solely on your swing leading to more ‘sweet spot’ shots.

Good balance is also an advantage when it comes to the aftermath of the shot; you need it in order to get back to the ‘T’ quick. If you are off balance there is a need for extra movement to get your body back into balance so you can get back into a good position on the ‘T’. For example, after hitting a shot at the front of the court you will use your back foot to propel yourself back to the ‘T’ but, if you drag it too much as you are hitting the shot, you will need to position that foot on the back again to be able to start your movement to the ‘T’; this will cost you around one second which doesn’t seem like much, but when it comes to this game this is very valuable time. Therefore, if you keep your balance through your shot and your legs are stuck on the ground, you can put all the strength on that back foot to get you back on the ‘T’ ready for the next shot.

Good shots are built upon many different things and balance is one of the most important ones. Having good balance will help you hit better shots regardless of what shot it is or where on the court you are. It will also give you the benefit of getting back on the ‘T’ faster thus giving you more time to react against your opponent’s next shot. Get your feet on the ground and get ready to hit great shots!

Also, here is a video of a rally between Mohamed El Shorbagy and Ramy Ashour. Notice how on every shot,even under pressure, they are able to plant their feet and keep their balance concentrating only on their swing and what shot they want to make:

 

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Easy Drill to Improve Lengths and Volleys

No player can deny that having a strong length and volley game is a great advantage on court. Being able to keep your opponent on the back of the court by using solid lengths is a very important part of the game as it keeps the rally under control and can lead to attacking opportunities. One of such opportunities is being able to volley on the mid-court if your opponent leaves an open shot. But in order to do this you need to practice. So I will talk about a fun and easy, three part drill that any player can do with a friend and that will help them strengthen both their length and volley games.

The first part consists of rotating drives on one side of the court while returning to the ‘T’ after every shot. The first player will start at the back of the court as if they were going to receive a normal serve. The second player will start by standing on the ‘T’ with the ball; this player will be the one starting the drill. Once the drill has started after the second player has ‘served’, both players will take turns returning just straight lengths to the back of the court while returning to the ‘T’ after every shot is hit. It is crucial that both players come back to the ‘T’ after every shot since this is what will happen during a real match. The idea is to try different types of lengths (hard and low, lob, etc.) and to get the other player out of position. Both players should concentrate on accuracy and good rotation; tight shots and clearing the ball are essential. This should be done until the players are able to have a fluid, long rally with minimum mistakes. The first part of this drill will help players gain the muscle memory necessary to hit straight, tight shots with good consistency. The first 30 seconds of this video shows how this first part works:

Now, the second part of the drill can be introduced to speed things up a little bit.

The second part consists of one simple thing: volleys. The drill will stay the same. Both players will start the drill in the same way as in the first part, but now volleys come into play. Either player is allowed to hit a straight volley to the back of the court (and only to the back of the court) whenever they wish to. So now two very important factors come into play: keeping the ball tight, and taking advantage of the volley. When one of the players is able to keep the ball tight, whether it is a high or low shot, they will prevent the other player of hitting a good volley or of volleying at all. But, whenever a player doesn’t keep the ball tight, their opponent can start adding pressure with volleys. The key elements here are to concentrate on keeping the ball tight, rotate fast, get into a volleying position, and to add pressure when hitting a volley. Players should get back to the ‘T’ fast and pay close attention to whether they will be able to hit a volley or not. If the possibility of hitting a volley presents itself, they should try to add pressure by hitting a hard and low shot to the back which will cause the other player to be out of position generating more opportunities to volley. The second part of this drill will help players recognize good volleying opportunities and to act quickly once these opportunities are present as well as to gain muscle memory as in the first part. The third and last part will add even more speed to the drill as well as more variety of shots.

The final part is the most fun. Now, players are allowed to hit volley drops. This new addition makes this drill very dynamic and explosive, putting to test both the players’ stamina and technique. If a player is presented with the opportunity to volley they now have multiple options on which shot to play and how to play it; now deception plays a very important role.  For example, if a player knows they will be able to volley their next shot, they should try to hold their racquet in position for as long as possible in order to surprise their opponent once they hit the ball. For example, a player can fool their opponent to think they are going to hit a volley to the back of the court to then continue to hit a volley drop. This part should be done as fluidly as possible concentrating on rotation, deception, and good accuracy. This last part will help players improve their physical endurance, shot accuracy, and to get used to a more dynamic and fast game. Also, players can feel free to change things a bit too if they wish too; instead of volley drops, volley cross courts to the back can be used and then the same drill will continue on the other side of the court. So, many different things are happening during this great drill where players can improve their technique, strategies, and endurance.

Drills are the best way for a player to improve their game and this drill will hopefully help many players accomplish part of that. It is always very important to have strong lengths in order to keep the game under control, as well as strong volleys to attack and add pressure. The combination of these two in a single drill will help simulate the dynamics of a real match thus providing players with a great tool to improve their games.

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Squash: A Deception Game

To deceive someone is to cause them to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage. In the game of squash this becomes a vital thing. Being able to deceive your opponent becomes a key element in squash as it is fundamentally one of the best ways to win a rally. Deceptive shots, either by accident or by choice, create an element of surprise that will throw off any opponent. Deception is an art; a great strategy in the game of squash that highly rewards those who are able to master it.

Squash is a deception game. The ability to play with your opponent’s mind becomes a great advantage when playing squash. It is arguably the hardest strategy to develop; but, when successfully developed, it is the most rewarding one. Whether it is a head fake or a surprise cross from the front, any shot that eventually deceives the opponent will create more opportunities to keep adding pressure in the rally.

Most deceptive shots involve identical racquet preparation on every shot and good wrist strength combined with a fast racquet movement. The ‘hold’ on open shots will reduce the chances of an opponent being able to read the next shot. A player would ideally hold the racquet in the same position for as long as possible before hitting the ball hence increasing the chances of misleading the opponent. Also, a player can ‘fake’ the racquet movement involving a certain type of shot and then continue to hit a completely different shot. For example, a player could make it look as if they were going to hit a drop shot by lowering their shoulder, but then go on to hit a hard cross court by quickly snapping the racquet using their wrist. These combination of deceptive plays will create surprise in a player’s game giving them a big advantage against their opponent.

The element of surprise plays a big role in a squash match. When able to surprise an opponent during a match, players will find themselves with various opportunities to win the point. If a point is not won straight away after a deceptive shot, the opponent will have to use extra energy to return the shot. If the latter occurs the opponent will most likely return an open since they will be out of position due to the unexpectedness of the player’s shot. For example, if an opponent is expecting a drop shot and is then surprised by a cross towards the back, they will have to change direction and run towards the back of the court in order to return the ball. In this case they will be out of position when hitting the ball thus increasing the possibility of returning a shot than can be easily attacked by the player. These are great gains in a match since the opponent’s physical energy is depleted while putting them under heavy pressure. This has been seen throughout the sport’s history where some great players have shown incredible deceptive skills that have left their opponents baffled.

A great example of deceptive play comes from a Canadian squash legend and former World Number 1: Jonathon Power. Considered to be one of the greatest shot makers in the history of the game, ‘The Magician’ kept fans on their toes every time he played demonstrating an amazing display of deceptive shots. Here is a video of his most famous deceptive shot where he does a perfect backhand fake on the back of the court to then hit an amazing drop shot that leaves his opponent completely static (0:13-0:31):

Another example of a great deceptive shot is James Willstrop’s famous double fake against Ramy Ashour:

Deception pays off very well in squash. Any player who is able to develop a strong deception game will have a great advantage against any type of opponent. This is one of the most powerful tools in the game of squash and it is widely used in many different ways by the best players in the world. Creating an element of surprise on court is essential whenever an opportunity to attack arises. The art of deception is one to be acquired by any player who aims for a much better squash game!

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