Most players would have come across that really tall opponent that feels like they take up all the court space, dominate the middle, volley everything and just take one step to reach any ball you play. This can feel one of the most frustrating opponents to play against as you feel that whatever shot you play or how much you want to get him or her moving they nullify everything. It can almost feel like you are running around like crazy, doing all the work, trying all the shots and they are just casually reaching for each ball you play treating it like a Sunday stroll. So how to combat this opponent who has the feel of Go-Go Gadget arms and legs (80s reference there for the kids)?
Often you will come across an opponent who is what is described as a retriever. This type of player is generally very fit, relatively quick, strong legs and has the lung capacity of a blue whale. These assets tend to favour a more attritional and retriever style of play meaning that they are happy to scurry around the court, getting balls back again and again and generally not really looking to attack as they know the longevity of the match will give them a greater chance of wearing down their opponent and winning.
I’ve just finished playing the Legends Tour events in Aberdeen and Bermuda. Having started on the tour 4 years ago, I honestly thought by now I would have retired a second time but the enjoyment of getting on court with the other players is still too strong to go fully out to pasture! Don’t get me wrong, it’s harder and physically more demanding every time but I still love the challenge and I am now learning as a coach rather than a player.
We’ve looked in depth on SquashSkills before at patterns of play in squash. Lee Drew has been going through some common patterns in his recent playlist to help you understand the likely outcome of certain shots to either take advantage of a situation or recover from a difficult position.