Everyone has a slightly different preference when it comes to court temperature, and finding a squash court that's the perfect temperature for you is pretty rare.
Squash courts often get hot, humid, and sweaty, this has a number of effects on match play and can make for some frustrating rallies!
I thought it would be good to go through the best way to play on a hot squash court, as, in comparison to a cold squash court, you have to play a wildly different style of game...
If you're a regular player, chances are you'll have played on a hot squash court.
The most well-known effect of a hot court is that it makes the ball incredibly bouncy and lively every time it makes contact with the wall or floor, but, it also makes a lot of other less noticeable elements of squash more difficult.
A hot court can make matches very long, very unpredictable, and very difficult to play at a pace your comfortable with. It can also make you incredibly sweaty meaning that you might become dehydrated and you may lose grip on your racquet.
You also might find that you get tired quicker depending on the intensity of the match.
There are a few things you can and should do to make playing on a hot court easier for yourself and hopefully also more difficult for your opponent.
Unfortunately, on a warm squash court, playing a winning shot is much more difficult.
You could hit a very accurate drop shot, go for a crash nick, or play a deceptive trickle boast, however, due to the high level of bounce on the hot squash ball, your opponent is going to have a pretty long time to get to your shot.
What's even worse, is that even hitting an accurate shot in the first place is much more difficult. The ball often bounces up in an unpredictable way any time you try to add pace or take pace off of your shots, so you've got to be very careful.
The best strategy on a very hot squash court is to play a safe and long game.
First off, there are going to be a lot of lengths. Neither you nor your opponent is going to want to go short for a winner, as that often just gives the other player an opportunity to counterattack.
The best advice for straight lengths on a hot squash court is to add some slice (which helps your shot cling to the side wall), take off some pace (so you don't have to scramble to get back to the T, and aim a little lower on the front wall (so it doesn't bounce up very high off of the back wall).
My other advice when it comes to your shots is if you do decide to go short, avoid small margins. As I mentioned above, it's going to be very hard to play a winner, so don't aim too close to the tin. Better safe than sorry.
Keep your game slow and steady, and you should eventually get into a rhythm. Be careful any time you want to up the pace. If you start going for volleys, it's easy to miss your targets, and, on a hot squash court, the risk of conceding a stroke is considerably higher!
The best approach is to grind it out, play the long game, and try to either outwork your opponent physically or get them to make a mistake.
Image from One Manhattan Square website
I thought it'd be a good idea to quickly mention movement. Since the pace is usually higher on a hot squash court, it's easy to get sucked into a frantic movement pattern which can tire you out fast and force mistakes.
However, if you've slowed the pace down successfully as I mentioned above, you should be able to move much more steadily and slowly, since the ball will still be bouncing high off the back wall.
If you've watched pros play on a very hot squash court, you can see that they move at almost walking pace into the back corners just to conserve energy.
If you can maintain this controlled movement style, you'll be able to play the long game for much longer!
Finally, just a quick word about hydration. Obviously, you'll be sweating more on a hot squash court. The longer the game goes on, the more water you're going to need to drink between games.
I find hydration tricky to get right if you've had a particularly sweaty squash match. There have been times where I've come off court between games and had the urge to just glug down as much water as possible. Then, when I've headed back on court, I was able to feel it sloshing around in my stomach which doesn't feel great!
My best advice for this is to take lots of small sips of water bit by bit, rather than drinking lots at once. Try to make sure you get as much as you need, but don't overdo it. This might take some trial and error testing!
Also, another tip, if you can find somewhere a little cooler in the squash club to cool down between games, this can be very helpful in bringing your temperature and heart rate down.
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