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How to become more deceptive

Published: 25 Aug 2004 - 18:30 by rippa rit

Updated: 15 Aug 2006 - 22:41

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Rippa Rita`s championship squash tip
Deception has various meanings to different players at different levels of play.
When thoughts like, I am not sure where the ball is going, I don't know what shot to expect from my opponent, and so on, makes it difficult to prepare for the return 'cos you could be moving the wrong way and having to change direction and speed unexpectedly.

It is uncanny stuff. Here are a few suggestions on how to practice deception:
    • Get to the ball early, racket ready, W-A-I-T and then hit the ball. Why do you need to wait? This will give you a chance to think about the position of your opponent on the court and give a better clue what shot to play.
    • Practice routines that have a variety of shots so returns of the ball are not repetitive, eg drive/boast/cross court lob.
    • Practice routines that have a change of pace, eg rally down the wall playing one hard drive, followed by one lob to length.
    • Shape as if to drive the ball hard, but play a drop shot as a surprise
  • Tip: It makes shots more difficult to "read" if the racket preparation is the same for all shots.
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From dmennie - 15 Sep 2005 - 13:53

Hi Rita/Ray,
The ultimate goal is deception without trying to make it happen.If your swing is grooved (repeats consistently)then this becomes easier as your opponent will find it hard to "read" your shot or in tech speak your cues(see clues to what you are going to hit).
Deception can be classed as sending your opponent the wrong way; or catching them under the ball with a lob etc.
A point I would like to make is
The answer to this is very simple....dont commit early.(guess)Practice movement skills to flow about the court not run from shot to shot. The movement is always to the T with deceleration to the ball from the move quickest to the T after playing your shot. If you control the T it is harder to be decieved because your opponent is always doing the chasing under pressure.
All the best
David M.

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From rippa rit - 29 Mar 2005 - 14:26

Welcome Graeme to the forum.
I agreee don't be too tricky. Deceptive shots have to be good shots too.

Trickery does not work well if the Striker gets to the centre of the court before the opponent hits the return ball, and that should be at all times,if possible, provided the correct return has been played!!

Deception works better on a player who is always on the move, and does not focus on the centre court, but, rather runs from point to point.

Top players pick up the cues early, and deception is more subtle, and sometimes missed by the "average eye".

As opposed to the fast players, ever tried deception on an "old warrior"? They are sure to be still there ..... mostly, oh, but not always! That must be where the word "fox" comes from too.

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From Graeme - 28 Mar 2005 - 00:09

Hi Rita,
I've been studying and coaching squash for about 20 years now and the one thing about deception that I have found to be certain of is to try and not be "TOO TRICKY" with your shots. On reaching the ball (if not stretched out) you should have a choice of at least 3 well controlled shots to choose from and all with the same preparation.

If you already know where and how your opponent is moving then you can take the ball early to give them little time to change direction.

Otherwise you must hold your shot and check your opponents movement/position. Then chose the appropriate. shot from the 3 good shots you have at your disposal. If your opponent starts to move as if they are anticipating a shot, then play a different shot. ie. moving in to cover a drop, then lob it over them and into the back corner.

Don't play the "Very Tricky" fourth or fifth shot that you are not well in position to play. As it is usually a loose shot and a very quick opponent will pick it up easily to put you under extreme pressure or make it their winner.
These "Clever" shots work at mediocre levels of competition, but at world championship level they are sheer suicide to use.
This was the problem with some matches that I had the misfortune to watch. One of these "trick" players was Paul Price making a bid for world glory, but not quite getting there. Often he would be in position to play a great drive or drop to put his opponent under the hammer, but instead he would try a tricky sliced tickle boast or reverse boast that he was not in correct position for, then his opponents would pounce on it and put away a winner. Being "Tricky" probably won points in his local pennant, but would always give him grief in his bid for the world champion position.

Now it has become just another bad habit.

So forget those shots that you are not in a good position to execute accurately or tightly, just pick the best from those shots that you are certain of.


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From drop-shot - 28 Feb 2005 - 02:09

Hey, Ray,
Beware or I'll ask you to pay for using my words :-)

PS. Actually, squash should not be the running ;-D

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From raystrach - 27 Feb 2005 - 22:41

"....then run to the glass, prepare yourself to the boast and then run again to catch the ball in the opposite corner to hit drop... A lot of running and thinking."

yes slavi, that is what squash is all about!

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From drop-shot - 27 Feb 2005 - 21:39

Good afternoon, your student from Europe's speaking here.
What comes from my personal experience about the deception:
If you constantly play against the group of the same people they tend to know your tricks and it is such a great feeling when you grow older and learn new things ... They're so sure to receive counter drop shot and you strike loose crosscourt. Or they wait for your volley and you flip the racket to kill the ball in the tin. Agreed, Ray, they hate me for that. But, in all earnest, I am still far from perfection with deceptive shots. Last week I've started to practice boasts from the glass wall. Rita should be proud to read it as she remembers my opinion about boast. Anyway, it goes quite well, although it is not easy to hit over driven straight volley, then run to the glass, prepare yourself to the boast and then run againt to catch the ball in the opposite corner to hit drop... A lot of running and thinking.

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From raystrach - 13 Jan 2005 - 19:06


the w-a-i-t part that you mentioned also has the effect of upsetting the rythymn of the opponent. instead of flowing to the next shot, they have to stop, wait until you decide what to do, then start again.

the only thing you have to watch is becoming like a statue during the w-a-i-t period. make sure you have your racket prepared and make fine adjustments to your position to ensure an effective shot. i try to get very open to the ball - that way i have a big choice of shots from which to choose. sometimes you might even hit the ball early in the same situation. that also helps to confuse the opponent.

opponents hate all these things!

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