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.
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.
I was watching Ramy Ashour play Adrian Grant this morning on www.psasquashtv.com and was amazed at how deceptive he was in particular when the ball was played in short on the forehand side. His racquet preparation looks identical between a drive and a drop which makes reading what he is going to hit nearly impossible. There was a terrific video on squashskills.com featuring Jonathon Power where Jonathon went over that very subject.
I am watching the Grasshopper Cup 2014 on www.psasquashtv.com currently and am having a good look at Shabana's forehand. It really is a thing of beauty. He has my favourite forehand on tour. There are several components of it that I really like. His racquet preparation, his hold, how deceptive it is and how consistent it is are what make it so good.
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.