How to play squash - by Robert Forde
Sundry Squash Tips K to U
(k) There is never anything wrong with playing a good hard straight
drive that dies away into the back corner.
(l) Put your tactical plan into action as soon as you can. If your
opponent gives you a weak serve, play a straight drop immediately
- on the first point if possible. You then have the serve and you
have started the doubt. Also, most players are not warmed up enough
at the beginning and are initially slower to the front.
(m) Warm up well yourself. You should be just beginning to break
sweat as the match starts.
(n) If your opponent guesses where you are going to hit the ball
(even if he guesses right), this is a good sign. He is desperate
and the end is in sight. Keep to your game.
(o) The same if your opponent gets very tired or injured. Keep
to your game. Don't try to finish it too soon.
(p) The fitter you are, the longer in a match you will be able
to concentrate on and implement the tactical side of your game.
(q) If you and your opponent are involved in a horribly hard rally
- with oxygen to the brain fading fast - the temptation is to "Go
for it". Don't. The first player to hit a good deep drive will
normally win it.
(r) Use the lob more than you think. It is an excellent way to
turn defence into attack and it is also an underused attacking shot
in its own right. Most players are weak and predictable high in
the air, particularly on the backhand.
(s) For goodness sake play a decent serve - your one chance to
dominate immediately. So many players waste this opportunity, with
many actually being immediately on the defensive instead of the
offensive. From the right court, play mostly lob or step across
to play a backhand sliding down the wall as tight as you can. (Obviously,
the further you step across, the tighter you can be). From the left
court, step across and play mainly a forehand tight down the wall.
Serves should also not come easily off the back wall.
(t) Return of serve. Mostly straight, particularly on the backhand.
Some variety creates doubt. If you receive a very good lob serve
(putting you 80/20 down potentially) just content yourself with
a simple straight reply (don't worry about power) to get back to
at least 50/50 for the next shot. Anything else is suicidal.
(u) Be particularly careful about playing a drop shot off an (even
slightly) awkward ball - even if it is from a (nearly very easy)
central position. This situation will often arise when the opponent
has hit a badly directed shot that you can therefore take early
- often a volley - but not in total control.
The opponent will generally expect you to play short off such an
apparently easy and early ball (particularly if he is out of position
- probably stranded deep) so he will immediately be moving forward
anyway to cover it.
If you can in fact play a good short ball from this postion, it
is often right to do so but if you cannot play it with 100% control
then the risk/reward cost benefit analysis dictates that you should
actually play it deep to await other more controlled opportunities.
To play it to the obvious place (short) and badly is the worst case
scenario. His body weight is already moving in the right direction
and you will immediately lose the "half-opening" advantage
and go from attack to defence in an instant.
(v) Front corners (normally following your opponent's boast or
drop). If the ball is loose then, as discussed above, a drop/cross-court/straight
drive combination is normally appropriate. However, as the ball
becomes tighter to the side wall, then the cross-court element should
be played less and the straight element more.
There is, however, still scope for adding value to the straight
shot by holding for the boast but playing straight and, of course,
if you play the drop shot off a fairly tight ball, then the angle
allows you to play it tighter than if you play it off a looser and
wider ball. Indeed, it is often correct off a tighter ball to simply
play a good tight drop - even though it is obvious. This gives your
opponent a really difficult escape route.
If, however, you are not totally in control, it is generally too
risky to play the tight ball as a drop and you should (depending
on the time available) dummy the drop and either play straight drive
or cross-court/straight lob.