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Hit to the Open Space

Published: 06 Feb 2006 - 21:05 by rippa rit

Updated: 27 Oct 2008 - 18:17

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Rippa Rita`s championship squash tip

It feels so good to hit the ball with authority into the "open space" having the opponent travelling head-long to attempt to retrieve the ball.

If there is never an "open space" it could be that the choice of shots is not appropriate, and therefore not moving the opponent from corner to corner.

  • Remember, it is harder to continually run from front to back of the court chasing the ball, than from side to side.

Read more about shot selection.

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From rippa rit - 27 Oct 2008 - 18:07   -   Updated: 27 Oct 2008 - 18:17

jim - there are two questions you asked:

1.  Predictable (or sending a message to your opponent).  I will give a few answers and then you will realise during play what is going on and be able to adjust your tactics, eg

Playing the same shot off the same return/ball too many times in succession. How to train to keep the opponent guessing?

  • Play restricted games, eg  in reply to a short shot is a lob, drop or drive.
  • PairRoutines, eg drive/boast/drop/drive; drive/boast/lob
  • Learn to play the alternatives from the front, eg length (drive or lob); short (straight drop or cross court drop, boast or reverse boast)

Never play the same shot from the same position twice and definitely not three times in close succession.  Try to shape the same for all shots to keep the opponent guessing as long as possible.

2. Footwork/body positioning moving forward (realising where you opponent is) eg

  • Address the shots/returns side on so you can mostly always get a sense of where your opponent is on court (can see a bit of movement, feet, noise);your peripheral vision should generally pick up three corners of the court unless you are so "strapped" to get the ball back, then length is probably the safest bet.
  • Ghosting is an ideal way to practice movement by having a solo rally (ghost) and moving into position and watching the ball, eg run up the front and drive down the wall, move back into position through the centre, and move to return the ball as a boast, move into the centre again watching for a boast which will land in the opposite corner, do a tickly boast, then drive to length, moving through the T as you chase it.

Solo ghost just as if you were playing yourself and call the shots as you hit/swing at the ball is a good idea.  Track the flight path of the ball at all times to make the movement relative to the shot hit.   Take your time and do a few slow ghosting movements and then when you get the idea increase the pace. 

Never turn your back on the ball/opponent.  Move with a sideways glide and not a back-pedal.


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From jimbob1965 - 27 Oct 2008 - 09:23

Rippa, your choice of Championship Tip is timely for me as it prompts me to ask something that I have been meaning to post about for a while which is critical to the success of the 'hit into the open space' strategy.  This is: what is the best way of training yourself to watch your opponent constantly and generally be more aware of their court position?  I find that I tend to concentrate so much on the execution of my own shot that I do not take enough account of my opponent's position.  I am sure that as a result, my game can become too predicable.  For example, more often than not, I will reply to a shot that draws me to the front with a lob to the back, when perhaps a short shot may have been the better option as the opponent is hanging at the back of the court.  Are there routines to train yourself to be more observant and able to compute the information quickly so that you can make the shot selection at the latest moment possible?



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From rippa rit - 14 Jun 2008 - 09:12

Adz you have had too much rest!  That is what an injury can do, make you fiesty!

Anyway, the topic was "hit to the open space".

But your suggestion about deception, delay, catch 'em going the wrong way, is also a good thing to do if you have enough squash nouse.

Hey, how many times do you see the player run up to the front (both players at the front of the court doing short stuff) and them try to drive the ball down the wall tight, delays the shot to be sure it is going to be accurate (give the opponent time to partial recovery) and the drive bounces off the side wall and lands half court.  Bad idea.

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From mike - 13 Jun 2008 - 19:41

I know what you mean Adz. It can be very satisfying to hit to where the opponent just was a second ago if they have their momentum going the other way, but requires a bit more perception as  you have to judge both their position and direction.

If they move early, and you have time to swap your shot it can certainly work. Probably a higher risk shot than hitting into space to apply pressure.

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From Adz - 13 Jun 2008 - 18:01

Just to be the argumentative me............


I'd like to throw my hat in the ring and suggest that an alternative strategy would be to play the shot AWAY from where the opponent is moving.


There's a subtle difference in that if you keep hitting into space, but that's where the opponent is heading, then they tend to get there a lot easier than if you keep them having to twist and turn to keep up with your shots.


Just an alternative and open to criticism if people think I'm wrong...........


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From mike - 13 Jun 2008 - 13:19

Yeah that is a situation where the choice of shot (and playing it early as you mentioned) is far more important than the execution. I do however like to play this shot with a bit of topspin to ensure it stays low and skips away out of the reach of a fast opponent.

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From rippa rit - 13 Jun 2008 - 09:28

When there is an open space, that is the time to hit the ball early, with speed (do not deliberate about the accuracy of the shot, just get the ball above the "tin").  Often these shots will be cross courts which do not require the same finite skill as the down the line, and execution of the shot is the vital thing asap.

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