From a tactical perspective I have always believed the volley to be the most powerful way of controlling a game.
There are so many nuances within squash that you need to learn but here is a basic fact: the player in front and on the T wins most of the time, and this player is also generally volleying more in order to keep this position.
If I picture playing Shabana or Palmer, the pressure comes from many different areas but mainly from the fact they will constantly be looking to volley. They look to take advantage of a slip up and this puts me on edge and almost definitely makes my shot selection tougher and most likely poorer.
Obviously this is not only about volleying as the players mentioned above hit wonderful shots from all over the court putting pressure on their opponent.
However, in essence a volley is about taking the ball earlier, putting pressure on your opponent and taking advantage of a situation.
You need the ability to execute the volley but most of the time an average volley is better than a good shot hit later. This is my opinion and as I said earlier, I am a huge proponent of players volleying more in general.
As a coach I get very frustrated watching players allow the ball to come past them in the air to the back wall when they could have volleyed.
It’s a lack of focus, confidence and energy that stops them from taking the volley.
The lack of focus I’m talking about here is a mental challenge to overcome, not physical. Looking to volley takes a lot of concentration as you need to see the situation, be prepared, move and execute the shot way earlier than letting the ball go past, move back and hit off the ground. Playing conditioned games are great in pointing out which balls you let go past and also where tactically to hit the ball to give yourself the most chance of being able to volley from that area.
Lack of confidence comes from the fact that the volley is harder to execute well due to the lack of time. To gain confidence, practice volleys in solo, move up to practices that include volleys, conditioned games with benefits to volleying and then finally you should be able to integrate the volley more regularly into your game.
Lack of energy is ill–perceived. It takes more energy to move backwards off the T, hit, and then hustle to return, and in addition your points are most likely longer and more tiring without volleying. Try to consider focus and confidence before considering energy as an excuse.
Before I could effectively hit the ball short in the court I would use the volley as my number one tool to play aggressive, attacking squash.
Once I was able to also take the ball in short, the fact I volleyed as a matter of routine, then opened up the court and allowed me to play simple, easy volley winners – both long and short.
Go practice and persevere, it will be worth it!
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