We are very excited to announce that Mike McCue, an up and coming PSA Tour player will be blogging for Control the 'T' Sports. Mike has been playing squash since the age of 10 and is currently 18-years old. He finished his junior career as the #2 ranked player in Canada. His current ranking on the PSA Tour is #234. Mike trains under Jamie Hickox and Jamie Nichols at the National Squash Academy in Toronto.
Many I am sure have seen this video from www.squashskills.com featuring the great Peter Nicol discussing moving back to the 'T'. Here is the video:
In the last post we talked about deception. In particular using a hold to add deception to your shot selection. Another very important method to keep your opponent guessing and off balance is varying your pace of play. Varying your pace of play can be an effective method to keep or change momentum in a match when needed. Changing the pace of your shots is also effective at keeping your opponent guessing. Squash is a very physical game as any squash player can attest to but it is also very mental. Varying your pace of play is a good strategical method to help control a match.
When should we play at a fast pace or at a slow pace? One of the best times to vary the pace of play is when you need to change momentum in a game. If your opponent is pressing hard and has gained the momentum trying to slow down the pace of play can often help. You can do this playing slower paced length shots using height to get the ball past your opponent. Lobs will work very well in this situation too.
One of the biggest differences between low to mid level players and higher level players is how fast they recover to the 'T' after playing their shot. One the most noticeable areas I see this on court is at the front corners.
It is extremely common to see a player rush up to get a boast or drop that their opponent has played to one of the front corners, hit a drop and then get stuck in the front corner. If their opponent gets to the ball earlier enough they can often end the point with a cross court drive as they have not been able to get back to 'T' to take that shot away.
This is just a quick tip that I received while taking a lesson a few years ago. I was working with a much more advanced player than myself and was having problems getting drives on the backhand side past him and found myself stuck in a losing pattern. The objective of the drill was simple, hit a good enough shot to get the ball past him so that I could take the 'T' position away from him and then try to keep him behind me by taking the ball on the volley. I was trying to play a hard drive down the wall all of the time and I was not able to keep it tight enough to force him to let it pass. I found myself stuck in the back court and not succeeding at all with the drill. He stopped the drill and asked me what I was trying to do. I said that I was trying to drive the ball hard down the wall past him. His reponse was simple. It is not working. You need to try something different. You are not getting the ball past me with pace so why not use height to get the ball past me. Hit it high enough that I can't volley it and will have to let it pass me.