How to play squash - by Robert Forde
TITAN Squash Secrets 1 to 5
There is no such thing as a "winner" (apart, of
course, from the elusive big cross-court nick. Generally - if we
are honest - a phyrric victory achieved at a substanial net cost,
not benefit, over time). Look to play "good shot", "good
shot", "good shot" and then - as the gaps get bigger
- one of these "good shots" will become a winner. You
cannot go from nothing to a winning shot over-quickly. It doesn't
matter if the rally continues, as long as you are not doing the
running. Rallies will get shorter as you impose your tactical superiority.
If there is a huge gap, hit the ball into it - even if it
is the obvious shot. A typical scenario is where you have played
perhaps a good drop or boast and the opponent has hit the reply
very wide cross-court off the side wall (or side and back walls)
and it has come back to around the middle or middle-deep of the
The important point here is your early movement. As soon as you
see where the ball is going to finish, start moving back (and with
an early full backswing) to completely establish your dominant position
on the court. (Some "experienced" players may even back
off into the dominant position more than necessary and move in to
play the ball only at the last moment, thereby gaining even more
positional advantage.) Your opponent is now stranded behind you
in a very weak position with nowhere to go, you have room to play
the shot (if you have not moved into position early you may end
up playing it a bit cramped, or having to play a let when you had
a clear winning position) and you have a huge gap to play into.
The secret is to actually play into this gap. Forget delay and deception,
the hard work has been done. Even though your opponent knows where
the ball is going, you know that he knows where it is going and
everybody watching knows where it is going, it is still the right
shot, virtually every time.
You can hit it short or long (as long as the narrow angle is right).
A hard lowish drive is normally best. It should be the final "good
shot" of the rally. This rule does not apply where the ball
is around the middle of the court but in front of the centre line.
In this more forward position, the opponent can come around the
back of you to a more central and tenable position.
In this case, more deception is appropriate - probably dummy drop/but
drive or dummy straight/but cross-court drive. (A drop from central
court positions is dangerous because the angle is very wide, not
allowing the ball to be tight at any stage - except for the unlikely
nick. Too many of these wide-angle drops, or played too soon, can
turn a position of being 80/20 up to being 80/20 down in a second.
The risk is not worth the reward).
Hit more deep drives than you think. On the backhand hit
more straight than cross-court. On the forehand hit about 50/50.
Obviously, when the ball is tighter, the proportion of straight
shots should go up. Playing deep (particularly straight) is not
negative: it is the crucial basis of the whole game. All other shots
derive from - and depend upon - good deep drives. Low risk high
The lower the standard of player, the more boasts are played.
It is a loose attacking shot and must be played relatively sparingly.
A good boast will certainly damage your opponent but a bad boast
- or even a good one played too often or too obviously - will damage
The Key Shot - The best safe attacking shot - after the drive
- is the straight drop. This is a very, very important shot. It
can and should be played not only from the front but - more importantly
- from deep and mid court. As long as it is played at the correct
angles it is a safe attack and will force a loose reply enabling
you to easily play another good shot, probably deep. This drop shot
is particularly important when you are on the backhand side towards
the back, where much of the rally action takes place. Good risk
and reward. More difficult and risky to play on the forehand.