No I am not talking about a lemonade. I am talking about Squash the game. It is an excellent game, giving you fitness, stamina, quick thinking, judgement and best of all an exhilarating feeling. If you are a beginner or someone thinking about starting this game, read on, for some tips on how make the best out of squash.
Have Passion For The Game
Well no marriage lasts without passion. And that holds true for the game of squash as well. In an ideal squash game, more often than once, you would be required to push the limits, and if you don't have that passion, you won't find that push. The good thing about human mind and heart is that it can produce passion for anything. If you are still having trouble, consider the below
a. Watch international players and games. (You can do so at psasquashtv.com. You don't have to watch the full game some highlights might do)
b. Watch the senior players in your club in action.
c. Target certain players that you wish to beat.
If you develop passion for squash and make it a part of your life style, very soon you will see that squash starts paying you back. Don't let squash be another spike in your life, which you start with a bang and end with a whimper.
Success through a plan is much more pleasing, than success through a fluke. If you are not planning your game, you are opting for 'Random Squash' (going to the court, hit a few balls and come back), which will make you lose interest in squash very quickly.
Your Squash Plan, doesn't have to be grand. It can be something which you come out with while driving to your club, browsing through Squash websites or watching a game of Pros. It might include.
a. Which days of the week you will play and which days you will rest.
b. Which days you want to practice alone, and which days you want to play games with your partners.
c. Which shots you plan to incorporate in your game, in this week/month (e.g. I dedicated one full week to developing my fore hand, and one full week to developing my back hand)
e.g. I once saw Nick Matthews (current World # 1) take a big lunge to his right, from the T position, take the ball on the volley and hit a nick. This shot gave no time to the then world # 1 Ramy Ashour to even think about going for the ball, although it wasn't even a good nick/drop. The moment I saw that shot, I included that in my practice plan.
You will get a lot of good videos on the internet, telling you how your grip should be. Over here I just want to tell you that, (a) make sure you are not holding the racquet too tight or too lose. During the game, you might need to change the way you are holding your racquet to pick up some impossible shots, which you cannot pick up through your regular grip. e.g. you might want to pick a drop shot by placing your racquet below the ball like a shovel. To pick a ball which is further away from your body or to hit a power shot, you might want to hold the racquet from the end, to get more control, you might want to hold the racquet from the top etc.
Watch The Racket
Most squash sites will tell you 'Keep your eyes on the ball'. But I found that, this is not enough. The game of squash has become much faster, the reaction time is lesser, the Rackets are more powerful etc, so if your plan is to 'just' watch the ball, that plan will fail more often than it will succeed. So you can start squash by watching the ball, but keep in mind, that you have to upgrade/train yourself in observing watching the opponent's racket. You will win a lot of points by doing that.
Then upgrade yourself by watching his body position which will tell you where the ball is going to end up, before your opponent has even hit the ball, this will give you a good time to reach that location, and most importantly you don't have to run towards it, you can walk towards the ball and conserve your precious energy.
But obviously the final level, would be to know your opponent so well, that you would know what shot he will hit, as soon as you have hit the ball towards him! I know that requires a lot of intuition. At club level, most of your opponents would only have a selected range of shots, so this trick, once you reach to that level, would win a lot of points for you.
Learn To Observe
Or rather have 'patience' to observe. Most players want to get in a court, stay in the court, and then leave for home. You will be surprised to know how much you can train yourself by just observing.
You should and might already be having a good warm up routine. There are plenty of tutorials available for the same. Make sure all your joints and blades are rotated etc.
But one essential part of the body you need to warm up, which might not be included in those videos, are your eyes. Yes you need to warm up your eyes as well. No, not by watching girls. But while you and your opponent are warming up the ball, make sure that your eyes are on the ball at all times. This will train your eyes, to follow the ball, to find the ball in case of a powerful shot etc.
You might also want to observe your opponents hand, holding the racquet. How he moves his wrist, what is the position of his racquet in different scenarios etc. All of this might give you some points into his game.
As I delve deeper into the world of squash, I might add some more tips here, so stay tuned!