The game of squash is so easy from outside the glass ...
Sometimes when I am watching people play I wish I had a joystick (yes I am dating myself – I think they call them “controllers” now). The point is I would like to have the option to press a button to get them to drop it, or drive it, or execute whatever shot is clearly the winning shot from behind the glass. When playing the game some of us tend to get caught up in the adrenaline. Instead of thinking about game strategy and the proper shot, we simply become retrieving and hitting machines. Others tend to over think the strategy and or try to out manoeuvre or trick their opponents by playing irregular shots instead of basic predictable, high percentage shots.
If a player sticks to the basic strategy of the game, there is a much higher rate of victory. It is pretty straightforward. From the back of the court, play high and deep. From the front of the court, attacking and low. Squash isn’t necessarily about “winning shots” as much as it is about setting yourself up for an attack in a low risk situation. Its about working your opponent both mentally and physically so they make the errors and start playing loose. Letting a loose ball go by without attacking is a lost opportunity, and potentially a lost point.
So how do we work our opponents and create the openings for the attack? Stick to the basics. High and deep from the back. Consistent tight shots. Attack from the front. Who cares if it is predictable to drop off of a defensive boast? You are putting the work into your opponents legs.
Is there more to the game of squash than this? Absolutely! Strategy can be built based on your best and favourite shots (what combinations provide you the openings to play those). It can be tailored to offset your opponents best shots and strengths. It can modified in each game to adjust to court play, ball play and environment. So yes, things do get more advanced and complicated as we build skill and confidence. That said, even at the top levels of this game, the basic strategy is what sets up the most effective and successful situations.
My challenge to you is to get out there and try to stick to this game plan. It is harder than you think not to get swept away in the game. In your next match, remind yourself between every serve of the game plan, and seriously focus on: High and deep from the back – Low and attacking from the front. Working for the opening and taking advantage of any loose balls. You will see a difference!
Good luck and Keep it Simple!
SQUASH PRO & PROGRAM DIRECTOR
BRANTFORD MOVATI ATHLETIC