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Always try to get in position before the opponent strikes the ball

Always try to get in position before the opponent strikes the ball

Published: 09 Oct 2004 - 23:38 by rippa rit

Updated: 16 May 2007 - 08:23

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Most players do not actually stand "on the T" though the court markings do define the area very well with the coloured lines/tape.  Squash players refer to the "T" alot, but, in fact, that position on the court is usually behind the "T".

Why is this position so important?
    • It is a central point of the court.
    • It is easier to cover shots that land in either of the four corners from this position.
    • It is the best place to volley from and attack.
    • The person who stays at the "T" does the least amount of running.
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From rippa rit - 16 May 2007 - 08:23

The best spot in the middle is not always the same spot either. 
Always travel with the ball and keep on the watch out for what the opponent is doing, and how they are approaching the shot (swing, body movement, angle of approach, racket face, height of the ball at contact point, etc) which will give heaps of clues as to which way to move, ie forward a bit or back a bit or sideways to avoid getting hit, and so on.

Yeah, and for sure if you move backwards, they will boast it  maybe, so try to be a bit tricky too, and by flexing around the opponent can get nervous about trying anything too clever, and even make an error, while they have one eye on you.  I like it.

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From fatness - 15 May 2007 - 16:21

Good advice drop.shot. A few years ago i got some coaching from an ex irish no. 1. I always had a bad habit of moving up onto the T waiting for the return. I would look over my shoulder into the corner where my opponent is about to strike. When i saw their racket going up i would automatically start shuffling backwards, thinking i would not get the ball if it was a drive. opponents copped on to this and would boast or drop from the back leaving me stranded. Anyway the coach found a few faults with me. first of all i was looking over my shoulder thus not getting a proper view of the ball. he told me to turn my feet towards the corner that the opponent is striking from and get a full and clear view of the ball, your oponents racket and everything else going on back there. the only thing to watch out for is that you dont position your feet too much towards the corner so as that you cant turn to pick up the crosscourt. Also we played some drills ie drive and boast and boast drop drive etc which forced me to stay up on the T when a drive is being played. If your technique and movement is good then most drives can be returned by moving from the T. Another thing he taught me is that if a player "hangs back" all the time, he/she wont address the ball at the correct angle ie he/she will move to the back corner from the back of the court and not from the T thus causing a very open stance and will inevitably hit the ball back on top of themselves. If you move from the T your straight drives will fade into the nick at the back of the court and also your boasts will sometimes turn into 3 wall nick boasts! this is because you are adressing the ball at the correct angle. By combining this with watching the ball correctly ie turning around more to get a full view of everything, i turned from a "d" player to a strong "b" player at the club. I can now reads the game much better and dont get caught out by hard hitting players or shot players dut to the fact that i read the game better. One last good tip the coach gave me was that if you are losing sight of the ball during the game or getting caught out by shots, tell yourself "take the ball early ". By telling yourself this, you are forcing yourself to watch the ball until it has left your opponents racket, thus you can pick up a cue earlier of where its going and hopefully smash it into a nick somewhere!

This advice really helped me, i hope it helps you.

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From rippa rit - 19 Feb 2007 - 13:05   -   Updated: 19 Feb 2007 - 13:06

rskting-  I would say you are not watching the ball.  How can you watch the ball when you just see a black spec out the corner of your eye? 
You must always follow the ball by moving your feet and see what is happening with a total view of the ball and surroundings aspects of the shot.  Do not back-pedal.
The further the ball goes behind you the further you must move your feet/body to address the ball/shot.
Then, move as the ball travels within the court to keep yourself safe and ready to run.
Try it out and I am sure you will find extra speed in your game.

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From rskting - 19 Feb 2007 - 08:44

on forehand side, when I'm on the T looking over my right shoulder, I have a tendency to lose the ball when the opponent drives it straight back down the forehand wall. Something with my eyeballs... I just cannot read it correctly when the ball is hit hard.

Also when opponent drives it back down the forehand hard, I always run into them leading to a let. They drive is so fast down the wall they cannot get out of the way. ball is too fast to volley, but if I let it go past me they are in my way in the corner.

Can anyone relate to this? Any suggestions?

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From rippa rit - 19 Feb 2007 - 07:48   -   Updated: 19 Feb 2007 - 07:50

Adam -  you edited this reply but not sure what!
Anyway, sometimes we have to not focus on the T as such but more a central position to the actual shot being played, to prevent your view from being blocked, or put you in a better position to intercept the ball.  Keep travelling and moving as you wait behind the opponent. and be unpredictable too as to which way you are going to move/cover the shot.
Be a bit of a devil, and try a couple of different approaches, eg
  • Move to the left of your opponent so they can actually see you out of the corner of their eye, but actually try to then cover the righthand side.
  • Next time, do the same but move back to the middle position, and the opponent will probably try to then hit it the opposite side.
  • Move and be busy while the opponent has the front court - this will also make you more on the ready for the return.
Adam - I used to tell my students there are only two sides, left or right, and if you cover nil you might get nil; if you cover one side you have a 50% chance. 
Moreover this tactic does unnerve the opponent especially if you get it right a few times and nearly blow their head off with the quick return.  They lose confidence in their ability - yep, and think you are a smarty too

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From rippa rit - 11 Feb 2007 - 19:46   -   Updated: 11 Feb 2007 - 19:46

It is so important to watch the ball all the time, squarely, by moving the body to get a good look at all the cues given out by the opponent.
Pace is good if you can get your racket to the ball quickly enough.
There certainly is a tendency for players to gradually edge backwards after each stroke when the rally keeps going to length, and that is why the boast is such a good shot for those instances.

If you are playing the right shot, and accurate, it should be a see-saw for the center position.

Keep trying to do it.

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From adam_pberes - 11 Feb 2007 - 17:13   -   Updated: 14 Feb 2007 - 17:29

Most Of the time, I'd like to think that I am standing on the T, But when I'm playing the harder hitting players, If you stand On the T, And they play a straight ,rwally fast drive, with a decent length, It makes it really annoying, cause you have to go backwards-around them- and then hit the ball, but if you were to try and volley that fast ball,(for me anyways) It would be a worthwhile volley, as it just comes to an unconrtolled shot as there is not enought time, so it becomes a crappy drive, or a really weak boast...  Just my opinion.

 So what do you do when playing a hard-hitting and fairly tight opponet, if you were to volley his shot, it is too fast sometimes to get conrtol with on the volley if you've just side-stepped of the T...

But this is alot easier to do when playing a slower(or nr adleast not super fast) opponent.

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From SuperSage666 - 10 Feb 2007 - 18:05

I often see two worn areas on some older courts behind the 'T", the closest to the 'T' is where the person in control of rally is positioned.  The one behind that is where the poor sucker who doesn't have control needs to scramble backwards and forwards over the centre line to try and cover the shots played by the one in control of the rally.


Sagey ;-)

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From drop-shot - 28 Nov 2004 - 00:20

Dear R.,
Of course I do understand clearly what you say,and even more, I agree on that. If you always "wait for the ball", you are in defensive position, which may not be the perfect solution to win the match, while "haunt for the ball" seems to be more offensive way of thinking. Hitting a lot of voleys leaves less time to your opponent to think,keeps him off balance and make him run. In my opinion the best solution is to be smart on the court, to ananlyze the opponent style in the beginning and then to mix both solutions - waiting and haunting...And of course - The small area behind the "T" must be yours "-))):
I was clear enough today I hope.

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From rippa rit - 27 Nov 2004 - 00:43

I understand what you are saying about the T (notice it is the area behind the T that gets worn, right on the line?). Some inexperienced players rush to the T because they have been "told" but the vital thing is often their return shot does not allow them to occupy that position so they then get in the way, get a let/stroke or get hit, and wonder what went wrong.
It is important to watch the bsll carefully and "travel" (moving as the characteristics of the ball change), and then reposition during the rally.
One interesting comment from a coach about my top squads "they hunt the ball", and that means taking the ball early on the volley moving forward.
Many good player wait for the ball to come to them. This is not a good idea for the volley - reach for it.
Slavi, you will improve if you keep searching for ideas.
I hope you can understand what I am saying. Give it a try.

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From drop-shot - 27 Nov 2004 - 00:30

After playing 1 year with proffesional player as my coach and watching a lot of tournaments (local and international) I can tell only one thing about the "T" point: The better player you are the more you care about "possesing" the T-point during the game. Beginners most often are standing too close to the front wall and it is quite easy to "kill" them with lobs or straight drives. Then they realise they stood too close to the front wall and they occupy the glass wall. Again, easy point for the opponent hitting the drop-shot. And then you see the proffesional players as Lee Beachill or Thierry Lincou who are FIGHTING for the T-point. And the winner is the one who was always at T-position. These are my few cents about the "T" from my semi-amateur eyes.

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