Squash /  Full series: Coaches' Eyes with Jethro Binns and Jesse Engelbrecht

  • IH

    Ian Hau, 00:57, Saturday 6th October 2018

    I can relate to JT's question. If there is a actionable clue "to be more alert", that would be tremendously useful. I personally translate it to "watch the ball off the string" and the few moments before to make the earliest possible judgement on which areas of court (left or right, front or back) the ball is going to be. Is that a useful clue "to be more alert?" I see movement pattern back to the T is critical, but is another aspect of the game that is not part of "to be more alert". Is that right? I have been puzzled like JT for awhile on how "to be more alert".

  • JT

    Jordan Torbiak, 03:17, Thursday 9th August 2018

    How did Jamie react to the "be more alert" tip? Personally, I'd have trouble taking a cue like that positively, as I'd have trouble translating it to actions. Just hearing it makes me defensive and angry, actually. I'm not surprised by my opponents shots because I'm falling asleep on the court---clearly there's things I can improve, but I think the advice needs to be more specific, and I doubt the value of grouping the more specific advice that Jesse gives under the "be more alert" cue. Maybe there's some British English connotations for "alert" that I'm missing as a Canadian.

    • JE

      J Engelbrecht, 08:49, Friday 10th August 2018

      I'm sorry you found the statement 'be more alert' an insult. If you watch a pro player, as soon as they have played a shot, say a length from the back, they are moving with purpose, through the shot and using the follow through back to the T. They would have a bit of a spring and a skip in their movement using their knees to drive forwards. Once they are there they slow down a tad and start to engage the 'alertness' for the next shot. Signs that someone is being alert would be: 1) really staring and watching their opponent intently 2) if really watching the player on the T would be leaning towards the action and their centre mass would be balanced and favouring one leg, this would give a look and a feeling of lightness on the T 3) the players racket would be neutral and relaxed so the player has very little tension in their body and ready to engage as soon as the cues have been read as to when and where the opponent will hit the ball 4) during their opponents swing an alert player would start to move and engage the first part of the split step, the activating phase 5) linked immediately to this, and when the split step happens, there is a trigger movement in the hand and wrist to get the racket head up and a ready for any shot. When done well the volley is massively available and can be taken with ease. If you see Jamie, and he is open to the feedback of this nature, and you watch how late his racket rises when the ball is loose, he ultimately sprays the ball out to the middle all too often. Also linked to this, he is a bit reactive to the situation too often once the ball has reached the front wall and this is too late and sometimes he is unable to scramble himself back into the rally. Players should ideally be reacting to the stimulus of the opponents swing and just prior to them striking the ball. Moving once the ball has hit the front wall takes away a very valuable few nano-seconds of time from your ability to read the game and have momentum in your movement. Jamie was able to get into the match a little more as it progressed but in summary, I believe Jamie needs to be more alert.

    • JT

      J Torbiak, 03:29, Sunday 12th August 2018

      I wasn't able to communicate my point well, and I'm unhappy with my (unshared) attempts to clarify. Thanks for the explanation, though.