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What is the Pro's strategy?

Since 1990 the game of squash has changed considerably where rallies had many drops, lobs, boasts, and volleys. Perhaps the two developments that loom the largest are improved racquet technology and fitness.

In 1990, a 170 gm. racquet would have been considered light, and anything that was lighter was relatively imbalanced, unresponsive, and had a considerably smaller sweet spot. Advances in material technology have allowed players to develop radically different racquet skills than their predicessors. An indication of this is the importance that deception has in the modern game. Another indicator is the resulting preeminence of volleying in today's game.

Certainly, Jansher was one of the fittest players of all-time, but today there are literally scores players with incredibly high levels of fitness, whereas Jansher had few peers, if any, in that catagory.

On the professional tour, the first game means nothing if the players are reasonably close in level. It is a period of feeling each other out. That's why the rallies are so long and cautious.

Nicol plays a patient game (which some find boring) because he knows no one can compete with his pace and tightness. Even Power says that Nicol's pace will break him in the 3rd or 4th game if he's not in perfect shape.

Even shot makers like Lincou, Kneipp, Power play cautious in the first game, sense the opponents weakness, tire him out, and exploit it later. Even Janhagir did this. He would routinely win matches 9-7, 9-2, 9-0.

While you and I don't need to be cautious, professionals do. They have the anticipation and fitness to track down nearly every ball played. Thus, squash at that level becomes an attritional game. The attritional game was popularized by many players in the 70's, but was brought to a new level by Jahangir Khan. That is why the PSA switched from 9 point to PAR scoring. Only when a shotmaker as talented as Jansher Khan came along was this total attrition even slightly replaced.

Watch a professional match in person and you'll be amazed by their court awareness, anticipation, and fitness. Their pace is mind boggling and they must play cautious. If they didn't, they'd hit some grat ones, but also some weak shots that would allow the other player not to end the point on the spot, but get them running around on the diagonals like a chicken with their head cut off. Power is the best at this. He plays cautious for a few rails and then, when he senses weakness, explodes, throws in a trickle boast, gets them running, and then can end the rally. Pro squash is an attritional game until one player becomes confident he can seize control. Pace, fitness, and breaking your opponent win matches at that level-- not the odd great shot here and there.

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