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Cutting edge squash technique - who to follow ?

Published: 27 Mar 2006 - 14:12 by Viper

Updated: 31 Mar 2006 - 09:40

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Is it Power leading the way, if so how ?

Or is Palmer forging the new dawn ?

What is the current cutting edge style and who is leading pack ?

At a guess I would say Power is the one who has changed the game most, but how I am not quite sure.

Can someone explain where squash technique is at the moment and where is it heading ?

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From raystrach - 31 Mar 2006 - 09:40   -   Updated: 31 Mar 2006 - 09:40

hi viper

you may have misunderstood me. I didn't say that the game had not progressed. what i said was that there was not a linear progression - it is more of an expansion.

different equipment, differerent ideas, different personalities, the next generation learning from the generation before and building on what they have done etc etc.

re hunt v power. they come from different eras, but you must remember that in hunt's era there were some extremely skillful players. Qamar Zaman is one who comes to mind. Hunt had quite a few losses to him, but never in the big matches like the british open.  he used to run them into the ground! (now all players are fitter, but hunt was also very skillful when he chose to be)

Just remember the professional tour was not as it is today, in fact professionalism was just starting in those times. dfferent eras are very diffcult to compare (see our poll)

in closing, can I draw a line...

pre 1997  Aussie Rod Eyles was number two in the world, but could not get close to Jansher, the number 1 (he never beat him, not once. Brett Martin told me that the only way to beat him was to break his legs!)
1997 Jansher gets injured. Rod Eyles defeats Peter Nicol in the World Open Final in 3 games (to about 10 points if I recall although don't quote me)
post 1997 Nicol(aong with Power)  is considered by many as one of the greats

in short, who knows?

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From Viper - 31 Mar 2006 - 08:39

I value your opinion well above mine, but I find it hard to believe that the game has not progressed in the last 10 years (progressed is different from improved BTW) I tend to agree with Rita in that manic speed has meant a reduction in traditional racket skills. ie very tight length, but then players like Power argue that a "new" form of racket skills has just superseeded the old, different and maybe better. 


"i really don't think there is any linear progression that we can chart. "


I know it is impossible to be sure, but what would be your best assessment :

Can I put this question:

Would the manic speed and ability to take the ball so early prevail over tightness and length of say Hunt at his absolute prime ?

Both at the top of their game - Who would win out of Power v Hunt ?

I think Power would win.

The question is would the accuracy/length of Hunt negate Powers abilities.


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From raystrach - 31 Mar 2006 - 01:21

hi viper

i think the thing is that all players play to their strengths. different strokes for different blokes.  with each new player comes a different set of strokes - if we are lucky! my best squash was played in the era when we had a lot of very good young players all of whom made the world top ten.

they were all different. the problem was, was that they had jahingir and jansher to deal with. i remember watching a video of jansher playing brett martin (no 2 in the world for yonks). brett had played an incredible boast from the front of the court. I have played brett heaps of times and never seen him play it. chris robinson who was commentating had never seen it - he just invented it there and then!

deception can be a natural gift - a girl i coached  was the most deceptive player that i ever played, but she had no idea what she was doing - it was all instinctive. deception can also be coached and/or developed.  the aim of deception is to decieve - it doesn't really matter if the moves have been about for a while, as long as the opponent does not see it coming.

racket technology is helping to create more options which individuals will explore more or less depending on ther abilities and their persistence. others will copy.  i really don't think there is any linear progression that we can chart. it is up to each one of us to use what we can and practice like crazy to achieve our aims.

read the guru's two articles. you may need to re read them a few times t make any sense of it!

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From Viper - 30 Mar 2006 - 14:37

This does not show the many other more complex deception shots he uses but if you play the first deception video it gives you some idea, trouble is this video is demonstrating deception skills that have been around a long time I would guess :


Have you by any chance watched this power dvd in full Ray and Rita ?

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From Viper - 29 Mar 2006 - 07:53

I am not dissagreeing with you at all, I play by the notion of length and tight.

What I am exploring is whether squash is changing at all. I will get back to you re the deception moves, busy, busy....

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From rippa rit - 28 Mar 2006 - 21:29   -   Updated: 28 Mar 2006 - 21:44

Viper  - go down to the squash courts when you have a chance, and hit a ball as hard as you can 1m from the side wall and see how tricky it is for  your opponent, and also report on any difficulty there is in getting the ball back into play?

Also, play a game using the same style of play hitting it as hard as you can and as deep as you can and see how consistently accurate your shots are?  I have tried it, and never won a match.  That may not apply to every player though as they may be able to hit it hard and fast with accuracy for ten shots as well...if they are maybe Heather Mackay. 

Viper if the shots are that good, and that accurate how come the rallies are so long?

We can agree to disagree - that is ok with me.  It is patently clear from the comments in the last post that skill is diminishing out of the game.
If a player does not like to practice skills and prefers to hit and run that is ok too.  Whatever suits.
Personally I liked to play squash and did not enjoy the running oval and gym.

Viper I have just looked at your reply again.  Please tell me about the deception moves?

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From Viper - 28 Mar 2006 - 16:11   -   Updated: 28 Mar 2006 - 16:15


"I still cannot figure out, what the use of power and speed is if the ball is 1m from the side wall, and is being returned ten times"

Quite right except when the power and speed is such that it passes your opponent and becomes a winner.

What do you think about some of the new deception moves ?

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From rippa rit - 28 Mar 2006 - 15:42   -   Updated: 28 Mar 2006 - 15:46

Well I think the pros are setting the fashion at the present time and that is fitness and speed of the hit.
  • So it is run fast, hit hard, rally long.
  • I have not heard too much reinforcement of the long rallies and excess speed.
  • From non- players who saw the TV replays said "I could not see the ball, one minute it was up there and the next minute it was down there, and I could not see the shot - boring".  Another said I went to the Games and watched the squash as my son in-law plays squash  "I did not enjoy it as I did not know the rules, and the ball was going so fast it was hard to see".
  • Then ten minutes ago, just by chance, an ex world ranked woman called in who asked "did you see the CG on TV?". I said "a bit of the singles".  I said "what did you reckon?" She said "I saw the doubles and the ball was this far from the wall (as she put her arms wide open); oh, and when she did hit one on the wall, the English girl could not return it." I said "really, it was pretty loose".  She replied "Yeah, and you don't have to run around the block a thousand times to be able to do that, and one hit along the wall won the point, ha ha
These are interesting but sad comments again, about our tactical game, we all like.  But, these comments are consistent ones!
I still cannot figure out, what the use of power and speed is if the ball is 1m from the side wall, and is being returned ten times.  Maybe all of the above is shooting our game in the foot too.

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From Viper - 28 Mar 2006 - 08:19

Like in golf, and skiing, two other sports I am interested in the techniques/equipment are changing/evolving on a regular basis. Golf to such an extent that many courses are now redundant and skiing to a point where beginners can be doing reasonable turns in a couple of days where as in the past it would have taken weeks.

From watching squash more closely in recent times it to seems to going through a small evolution.

I am asking the question, in conjunction with advances in rackets which players are driving a "new" game and what techniques are they employing to advance the sport.

As I said it seems to me Power has introduced new things to the sport that have never been used before, like :

- Deception via new racket strokes

- Deception using just the head and upper body movements.

- Deception via false stroke actual stroke

- Unheard of shots like using the back side of the racket

- Generating unheard of power from the shortest of backswings.

- And Rita has said make the first thought always to take the ball early and in the front half of the court.

That seems to be Power are any other of the pro's trying different tricks ?

I am interested in understanding better  the progression of squash from say Hunts era onwards and as I said from an untrained eye Power and his era seem to be taking squash in another new direction. The core elements are the same but like when the game moved on from the long long down the wall rallies of Hunt it again seems to evolving in subtle ways.



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From rippa rit - 28 Mar 2006 - 07:52   -   Updated: 28 Mar 2006 - 07:54

Viper - don't beat around the bush with the questions please, if possible. .  I would prefer to know what you are getting at otherwise it feels like you are just throwing a "cat among the pidgeons."

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From Viper - 27 Mar 2006 - 20:35

Thanks Ray and Rita, that is exactly what I was interested in.

I have plenty of questions but no time as we speak, I will get back to you on this subject.

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From rippa rit - 27 Mar 2006 - 17:48

Viper - you actually had a sneak preview of a post I was trying to tune up, and I was sort of told that was not in answer to your question, so I just went dumb for a secondconfused, think so.
This is what you wanted I think? Looks like while I have been doing my homework Ray has had his 10 cents too.
Viper - with a bit of help, I have tuned up my reply. 
  • You mentioned Barrington and Hunt, so they were the first of the fitness machines.
  •  It is hard to compare, but style has nothing much to do with it.
  • So Barrington was very fit (he did sit ups until he had blisters on his bum if that gives you some idea), though he was not a shot maker. (Incidentally Hunt & Barrington have both had hip surgery).
  • Hunt could play the shots, but he seldom did, though he would attack on "hand in".
  • Basically, Hunt had to change and get super fit too to wear Barrington down.
  • Hunt had an unbelievable working boast. 
  • That fitness machine era was the start of the incredibly long and boring rallies.
  • The next thing that has changed things is the technology in the equipment, so the speed has increased causing a change in footwork, and lack of time to get into position,thus losing the shot making abilities.
  • So, once it was put your front foot forward - now it is equal balance on both feet and the body parallel to the side wall and lots more weight transfer using any foot forward, and BANG.
Now, the question is, why are we all at a loss wondering what is going on with the game of squash now. I will summarise what I believe, and a few others have voiced:-
  • The current bunch have no slow boast.
  • No moving the ball around.
  • The standard of play has dropped because of the loss of racket ability partially due to the increased speed.
  • The AIS are having difficulty in recruiting skillful players and lots of those will not make it because of that lack of tech ability.
  • The style is basically the same, the swing, the stroke, the key phrases, but the speed and power have increased at the pro level.
A thought - if you are not as fit as them, and as fast as them, and as strong as the pros how the hell can you expect to play the game like them and win.....dunno..

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From raystrach - 27 Mar 2006 - 17:14

actually viper, i think the thing that has changed most is the power game due to the change in equipment. unfortunately, arguably the most attacking players of the past 20 years, rodney martin, only lasted a few years at the top due to injury. he was the only player ever to beat both the khans in the one tournament when he won the 91 world open.

i played and practiced with him a quite often before he went full time on the circuit. he could hit the nick with a wooden racket or an aluminium racket or a graphite racket - it did not matter. (changes in rackets happened at the time he was coming out of juniors into seniors - mid/late eighties)

the style has not changed that much but the pace of shot  has. Power hits with a very quick swing and a very open face, that is why he is so deadly. palmer also hits open face. the majority of top pros do.  the timing they get is also beyond most club players as they can produce power from almost nothing.

their individual swings are just that - individual. i don't think there is any technique revolutions on the drawing board.

ps the other thing that has changed is footwork. there is no such thing as right and wrong foot any more. it is all about balance and stability.

i am sure there will be heaps of people that disagree wit me.

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From Viper - 27 Mar 2006 - 17:04

Sorry, you have me confused ?

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From rippa rit - 27 Mar 2006 - 16:50

Viper - you tell me the reply you want?

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From Viper - 27 Mar 2006 - 16:37

Totally   Confused with that reply Rita ?

The game has gone through a number of style changes over the years, does anyone still play like Barrington or Hunt ?

I am enquiring about the current squash style, have not the likes of Power changed the game quite a lot in recent times ?

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From rippa rit - 27 Mar 2006 - 16:11   -   Updated: 27 Mar 2006 - 16:30

 Viper - it is not rocket science.
It is their individual talents. 
They are ordinary juniors who became professionals.

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