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habits and patterns

Published: 16 Mar 2007 - 15:55 by rskting

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:30

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Do you have someone you play all the time? Eventually you figure out each other's tendencies- like you know he's going to drop forhand side before he does it, or he knows you're going to boast that backhand drive. Anyone have similar experience? What do you do about it?

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From SuperSage666 - 21 Mar 2007 - 22:54   -   Updated: 21 Mar 2007 - 22:57

Hi rskting,

I have been playing the same opponent for the past 25 years and now he is getting the edge on me due to his reach, but occasionally I still win a game or two.

We would often play for three or even four hours of a Sunday when the Mooroopna Squash Centre existed. The centre owner would just hand us the keys and tell us to lock up when we finished.  

 We both know eachother's game extremely well, but I have had to develop a more tactical game as I have to take two steps to every one of his (I call him 'Inspector Gadget') as with age, reach becomes a bigger advantage, since the legs get harder to move.  He knows every shot I play and I know his, but I find that holding onto my shot longer can catch him anticipating my normal shot from that position and allow me to change it to counter his movement. 

Some of our rallies would last for over thirty strokes, especially with the bouncy balls or mid summer. 

We still enjoy playing eachother, even though our courts closed and we are at a less friendly venue.  We sneak onto a court together whenever the manager isn't looking.



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From raystrach - 21 Mar 2007 - 08:58   -   Updated: 21 Mar 2007 - 09:00

hi rskting

expanding on rita's comments...
  • most players like to play to a rythym
  • knowing when to hit early or late must be instinctive at least to some extent
  • unfortunately when you upset the other players rythym, you also upset your own!
  • you must be aware of what your opponent is doing and where they are positioned
  • eg if they have boasted from the back and are slow to recover, you must get to the ball quickly and drop  usually before the ball has reached the top of the bounce - get it over with fast
  • if they are quick, you may get there early and, after a drop or two, you let them move to what they think is a drop, then maybe hold the shot, then steer it deep cross court
  • early racket prep is essential and it should be pretty much the same for all shots
a team mate of mine who has excellent technique, is very fast and fit and who is a good player all round has found it reasonably difficult to achieve this -(although he is making progress). it is a lot harder than it sounds

ps when players know each others habits, they usually move early to the next shot. this makes it easier to hold and play the change up.

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From rippa rit - 18 Mar 2007 - 21:00

This stuff all depends on the opponent, eg fast, slow, skillful, runs from back to front, comes to the T after their strokes - plays touch, variety, hits 95% length, etc.
To play the correct shot it is important to always know where the opponent is on court.
How many times do we see players running around like a marathon runner hitting the same shots, back to the opponent, never making them actually stop, turn, wait, etc..

I see it happening most of the time in the average joe blow player.

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From hamburglar - 18 Mar 2007 - 14:47

I like the KISS strategy---keep it simple stupid.
If you can consistently get to the ball early, then by all means hit the ball early and keep them under pressure. Keep hitting high percentage shots that make your opponent run around the court, even if they know when you're going to hit it. This can only help you get your rythm. Then save that hold or deception for the middle or late in the game/match when they're tired or when they think they're onto you.
If you can't execute your high-percentage shots, you may as well not try the deception, and you can't use deception all the time.
What helps me most is being able to put up 2 or 3 different shots from the same position with the exact same swing. I can keep most B level players guessing, but A-players can probably read my swing before I can so deception won't work anyway. If you're aware of your opponent's position, you can also use your body to hide the ball and racket somewhat.

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From rskting - 18 Mar 2007 - 09:42

rippa, as a coach as well as a player, i understand your advice. However I think I am soliciting comments regarding to strategy, or delaying shots to avoid being read. I also want to know other's actual experience because I can get there early, but I also want to execute early (split second difference between instinct execution from habit and execution after thinking about it). That is the quantity of time I am concerned about. I can get there early and hold the shot, but then more time for opponent as well.

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From rippa rit - 17 Mar 2007 - 23:46   -   Updated: 17 Mar 2007 - 23:46

rskting - you will play a better variety of shots by practising getting to the ball early and prepared, wait, then play the shot - providing you are fast on court.
Once you get to the ball, wait, the next thing you will realise is the position of your opponent on court, and the obvious shot to play will be more evident knowing where the opponent is, eg along side of you, in the back corner, out of position, etc.

Try it.  Tell us what happens.

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From Adz - 16 Mar 2007 - 19:50

I used to have a similar problem with players who I played often. The downside was that they were better at adapting their game style to play mine and could employ a variety of different styles which were always difficult to read.

My only solution was to learn as many different styles as possible so that I could play them at their own game.

Now when we play we still end up knowing a range of shots that each other can play, but it certain stops them from guessing what I'm going to do all the time!


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