Squash is a dynamic game, and the process of having a better squash game is complex. There is stroke technique, movement, shot-making, strategy and competitive mindset, to name a few of the basic facets of the game. And they are all intertwined. It is a complex game and when you focus on improving one thing, often another aspect suffers.
Playing a better squash game
The steps to playing a better squash game is generally one step back, two forward, over and over. But it is continuous. There are a few things that you can do that are only positive and will make you a better player, and they are some of the most common mistakes that squash players make. Here are my top 3 things that you can do now to improve your squash game:
1) Hit your rails and cross courts higher and deeper.
The most common mistake that beginner and intermediate players make is to not get their rails and cross courts deep in the court. By leaving the ball in the middle of the court you actually force your opponent to retain strategically superior positioning and the result is to be constantly on the defensive.
By lifting up rails and cross courts on the front wall the ball will go deeper in the court without hitting the ball harder. Now the T is open to you and you can take advantage of superior court positioning.
2) Stop hitting boasts from the back court.
It is almost a reflex reaction for beginning and intermediate players to chase a ball to the back court and smack the ball into the wall for a boast. Inevitably your opponent is camped out at the T and is in great position to attack off of your “defensive” boast, and now you are running the diagonal to retrieve the ball. Players often think the boast is their only option and think in terms of hard and low boasts vs. high and soft boasts. But the right answer is to not hit the boast in the first place.
While there is a technical component to being able to hit a straight drive instead of a boast, namely: cock the wrist, keep your back foot away from the ball, and rotate your forearm, the even more important thing to do is to remove the boast in your mind as an acceptable option. It is impossible to get better at hitting the drive instead of the boast if you keep hitting the boast.
Force yourself to try to hit the front wall first, follow the technical steps mentioned above, and you will get better and better at it. The result will be that instead of giving your opponent a golden opportunity to run you the diagonal, you retain superior positioning and you will be the one looking to attack.
3) Don’t let the ball bounce deep in the court.
Take the shot on the volley! Letting an easy volley pass by only becomes a more difficult shot in the back corner. Often it is on the return of serve, and the player starts out the point with a very defensive shot with their opponent in great position. When a volley looks easy, that assumes the shot will remain easy and so it doesn’t matter if the ball is taken early or not. But the easy volley quickly turns difficult as it moves to the back of the court. Volley those easy shots and you will eliminate an unnecessary trip to terrible positioning.