Having a solid technique has got to be one of the most sought-after assets in the game of squash.
It is a great sight to observe a player who gets their racket up early in a good position, is able to give the ball space, seems to have endless time, has the adaptability in the hands when it comes to strike the ball, who is able to let the follow through release so naturally and then glide effortlessly back to the T and repeat the process over again for the whole match. Amr Shabana and James Willstrop are two players that come to mind who were classed as some of the best technicians in the game. Try and watch them when you can and take note.
Here are some reasons as to why having a good technique is so important in your game.
This is one of the most elusive words in all of squash. You will tend to find the player who exhibits the most consistency over a period of time tends to come out the victor. Working on becoming a good technical player lends itself to increased consistency over the course of a match. If you are able to set up in a way that allows you to repeat the same shot time and again you will create this consistency. Being aware of where your racket starts, your contact point and your follow-through are three key areas to try and get nailed down early to improve on your overall consistency. If you can make these three areas consistent, you give yourself a good chance of playing consistent shots.
Being good technically will give you more time on your shots. Getting your racket up early and in a good position and being ready before you need to strike buys you precious milliseconds. This is sometimes all you need in squash in order to apply a lot of pressure to your opponent or alternatively to get yourself out of trouble. Linked to this is the ability to take time AWAY from your opponent. When you feel good in your technique you will be more likely to get on the volley, take the ball earlier and inject pace into the game, therefore, rushing your opponent.
When you approach a ball and your set up is very similar each time due to a good technical grounding, you will give yourself a lot of options before you hit. Having options is a nightmare for your opponent as they will be observing you but not have any real idea where you may play your shot. They then have to take up such a neutral and central court position in order to try and cover everything and will then have to wait to see what you hit before moving. It massively takes away their ability to predict and anticipate your shots.
Being able to hit the ball harder as well as hit the ball softer is about having a good technique. Often players complain about not getting enough power on their shots or alternatively not being confident in their soft game of drops and lobs. This is often down to technical flaws and with some work and tweaking the ability to hit harder and softer will improve. Similar to this, being able to play an execute a range of shots from a low kill to a 2-wall boast plus more, being good within your technique offers this. It is lovely to play against a player who has a limitation in the range of shot they are able to play due to not being technically good enough. So, in your game think about your limitations in your range and maybe there is a technical flaw in there somewhere that needs looking at?
Having a target in mind and being able to hit the target you want can only happen consistently when your technique has been worked on and feels right. It can be one of the most frustrating things to have your opponent fully out of position, know exactly where you want to hit it but miss the target areas by a foot or more and then become exposed and lose the rally. There is likely some form of technical issue if this keeps happening time and again. Alternatively, once you feel your technique is solid, the ability to hit the target you have picked accurately becomes easier and more consistent and gives you a real sense of confidence in your overall abilities
Linked closely to all the above points, when you are able to exhibit consistency in your swing, have time on the ball, give yourself options, hit the ball hard and soft, employ a higher level of accuracy, your overall confidence should increase. When you have this feeling of confidence and being assured your whole mindset and tactics towards the game will change. You will not feel as desperate to go for winners, not look to get cheap points and enjoy keeping your opponent under pressure for sustained periods due to the confidence you have gained
There is a slight caveat which I want to insert here, being overly focused on and being too detailed with your technical improvements can cause you to become a little stiff and robotic and you may lose your natural way to play the game. My suggestion would be to make a list of the key areas that you are weak in and work slowly on these parts bits by bit. Don’t look to do a massively technical overhaul immediately as this will likely stop you enjoying the game and can become hugely frustrating. Take baby steps. The ‘paralysis by analysis’ concept comes into play when you overly focus on technique so be wary of this.
Be sure to check out the SquashSkills Training Club: Technique Focus programme which will be focusing on a lot of the above points and has a technique focus at its core for you to work and improve on, and to be part of a great squash group and community!
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