[Updated on 1 June 2020] Picking the perfect partner when you’re one-half of a doubles squash team isn’t difficult, but neither is it a piece of cake. You can’t just choose somebody you know and like – it takes much more than that to produce a winning team. Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase the odds that the partner you end up with is the one that will produce wins on the court.
Communication and a shared sense of wanting to win are two of the most important things to remember, but they are not the only things you need to know when picking a squash partner.
Why Is it Sometimes Difficult?
There’s a saying that claims the best way to ruin a friendship is to live with that person. Choosing the wrong partner for doubles squash is similar, because you have to choose a person that is more than just a casual acquaintance. There are numerous “rules” that people claim will help you choose this person, and one of the most important rules is to make certain you can commit to this person and accept your share of the responsibility.
Think of it like this: this is a team effort in many ways. You are not playing on your own, you’re playing as a team, and you have to act like a team. This is going to define your relationship, and it is indeed a relationship. So commitment to that person is a must.
You also need to make sure you have a complimentary relationship with that person. This means not thinking of him or her as a competitor. Yes, you do need to be competitive on the court, but while you’re playing and practicing, compete against yourself only and remember to work as a team with your partner. You aren’t there to outdo them, but to work alongside them to create a cohesive team that will accomplish one goal only: to win games.
On this note, you should also remember that just because a person is good at singles squash doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be good at doubles. The two don’t always go together.
Your doubles partner team dynamics should also include one common thread: you both always want to improve and challenge yourselves to do better every time you get out on the court. Remember that saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”? This is an important tactic to take in doubles squash as well. In other words, don’t just work on your strengths, work on your weaknesses as well so that when you practice together, the combination will produce amazing results.
This means not choosing a partner that you feel you have to be there to make up for his or her weaknesses. You should both aim to not have any weaknesses at all in the end.
Now, all of this sounds very technical and professional so far, doesn’t it? But technical ability and the desire to improve your skills isn’t all there is to finding the right doubles squash partner. You also have to consider that partner’s personality. After all, being partners on the court is kind of like a romantic relationship.
Instead of thinking of the relationship as you playing squash and your partner playing squash, you have to think of yourselves as a team – all the time. You have to learn to work together all the time, complimenting one another, but also always keeping in mind that you are always, always playing “together.” It’s this type of mindset that will help you play together on the court, and maybe even off the court as well.
Do it Like the Pros
Finally, regardless of the type of tournament or competition you’re set to participate in, you both have to think like you’re pros at the game. Together, you should study the professionals every chance you get because you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll be able to copy and emulate the more you watch them play.
Watching the pros play together is so much easier now than it used to be, thanks to the Internet. You can go online at any time and find thousands of videos of real-life matches that you can watch and learn from. The more you watch, the more you’ll learn, especially if you immediately go out on the court and practice what you just saw.
How Do You Get Started?
Okay, all of this is fine and dandy if you already have a few possibilities when it comes to choosing your doubles squash partner, but what if you’ve just decided you want a partner and you have no clue whom to choose? Not to worry, because there are still things you can do to find the right partner.
First of all, you should treat your search like a job hunt, because in essence that’s exactly what it is. Network if you can, ask coaches, and visit squash clubs to get an idea of who your partner should be. Remember that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person yet; in fact, sometimes these are the best people to choose!
You can check online if you’re not sure where to start, but the important thing to remember is that when it comes to deciding the ultimate doubles partner strategy, you have to take it seriously and treat it like you would any other important undertaking.
Practicing with your partner for doubles squash is as important as hiring the right employee or making sure you get the right job. It takes a little work on your part and needs to be taken seriously and like it matters – because it does. Fortunately, once you get the right mindset the task becomes a lot easier, and there’s no time like the present to get started.
Also, the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to work together like a well-oiled machine, anticipating each other’s next actions and learning how to read each other’s nonverbal clues. This way, you’ll be totally prepared for your next game and the chances of winning will be much higher.