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General squash tips for 4.0 - C+ players

Keep it straight

The most important concept in squash it to keep it straight and keep it tight. If you watch the pros play, 90% of their game is just exchanging these tight straight drives, volleys and straight drops. Why? Because the tight straight shot is the safest shot to play in squash. It is the only shot that can not be attacked

Your hope is for the opponent to return it loosely so that the court will open up, allowing you to play a variety of shots that put your opponent under pressure. Either you will force a mistake from them or they will finally put up an extreamly loose ball that you can kill or put away.

Hit the ball hard or soft?

I had the chance to play an A player who played in England. He told me he took some lessons from Jahanghir's coach who told him to whack the ball as hard as he can! Now this seems to contradict the advice I have been receiving, i.e hit the ball higher and softer (service line and above) to get good length.

I would say that any good player's game MUST include both techniques at different times. It would be silly not to use both. For one thing, switching speeds keeps your opponent from establishing his rythm as easily. For another, the two types of shots can work in different situations. If your opponent hits a very hard, somewhat loose rail, for example, which comes well off the back wall, you should probably give it a wack. You could, of course, try playing a soft, high, tight ball for good length, but it is not as good of a choice, for to put pressure on your opponent, you will have to hit the shot nearly perfectly. Since he will not be rushed for time, he will only have dificulty if the shot is EXTREMELY well-placed. In that case, therefore, i would suggest a hard shot, to try to put a more modest amount of pressure on your opponent; he will probably return your shot, but hopefully he will at least be a little rushed.

The soft high shot, however, is very useful when you are under pressure--when you are on the defensive. IF you boast, for example, and your opponent then hits a hard cross-court from the front of the court, the soft high shot is a good idea. It is good because lifting the ball high and soft gives you time to recover and get back to the T. Although your opponent will also have ample time, if you are on the defensive, getting back to even--meaning he goes back to the corner and you take the T--is an improvement. I hope this is helpful. In a word, mix and match hard and soft shots; use them to compliment each other.

I'm a Spanish player who loves the game. Played for 15 years and I've been in the international spectrum. All I can tell you is: The one who hits harder wins. It's just a matter of being able to keep your own pace. But I've played guys with wonderful shots who never beat me and players who just volleyed and hit great back lenghts kicked my butt!

Anyways, it's good to have shots which make you able to improvise sometimes, but if you hit a good hard length, your opponent will have to run back for it, and you will be in the T.

Squash deception

One good way to practice deception is with the two person boast/drive drill. The person in the front shows one shot and then hits another. For example, show the drop and then lob, or show a line and then hit cross. This helps you to develop deception and helps you remember to use it when you have time.

One thing I try to do is when I am up front I take the ball as early as I can - This does a couple of things - for one when the ball is slightly in front of me and I am up front, my opponent will be on the 'T' so he will not be able to see my racquet hit the ball (this is why the stupid head fake rarely works). Hitting the ball early is ok for cross courts, lobs and drops it is a little more difficult to hit the rail but you just bend your wrist more. You will see this will greatly slow your oppenents reaction time. Hold the shot and slide your hips into the shot giving the illusion you can hit any type of shot this will keep your opponent from making a good guess as to where you will hit.

ps - And actually keeping your head still through a shot is also decieving if every shot you hit your head is still it will never be a tell tale sign

Best time to play wrist shot is in closed stance position when back is to opponent

Becoming an "A" squash player

Pro Nathan Dugan in Chicago (former world top 50) has the following advice for becoming an "A" player:

Keep working hard on movement drills as that needs to be second nature and when you practice your swing, practice hitting different paces of shot into the same target area. "A" players have a command of various paces of ball control at all times, even when under pressure. There is always more than one way to hit a ball into the same corner.

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