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A Little Means A Lot

Published: 13 Sep 2007 - 23:33 by raystrach

Updated: 13 Sep 2007 - 23:34

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Over the past couple of weeks I have been reminded quite a few times of the difference a very small point can make when playing a tight game.

The first time I noticed it was when playing my first competition Squash in over 6 months. Although I have been endeavouring to keep reasonably fit over that period, just a slight drop in fitness, a slight increase in weight meant that I was no match for players that, 6 months ago, I probably would have beaten comfortably. 

My fitness or lack thereof was amply demonstrated the following couple of days when I could barely walk after playing a couple of games on the one day.

The second example was when, after finishing a coaching session, I noticed my former team mates were playing in a finals game. I came in just at the end of the first game of the number one players with my mate copping a right thrashing.

Not having seen what went on during the game, I was quite confident he would soon get into stride and start winning. But what I saw horrified me. His opponent, quite a quick and skilful player was attacking well, and using the cold conditions to full effect. After copping another thrashing, I felt that one of his current  team mates would go up and give him the good oil on what he had to do.

But seeing that no one did tell him what I thought was plainly obvious, i went up myself and advised that he had to push forward more and take the ball earlier.

The effect was immediate. Instead of the opponent hogging the T, the game became a contest with each rally producing some pain for the opponent who is fast, but not with endurance qualities.

After narrowly escaping with the game, I reiterated some salient points pretty confident in the knowledge that despite the thrashing he endured in the first two games, he would come out on top. Although I had to leave immediately after the advice, I heard a couple of days later that he did win.

Just one small point totally turned around how the game was played.

The finally last night, on my first night of comp after a break, my number 4 player, a bloke well over 60 with a pretty good technique, but ordinary mobility, had some success in the first game against a younger more mobile opponent.

But the success went to his head.

He started using some of the shots that helped him succeed in the first game, far too often. As a result, the opponent started to read him easily and completely dominated the game.

In between games I advised him to go deep a little more often and use his short shots a little less often. All of a sudden the opponent found it harder to read him, had less opportunities and got frustrated and loss the next two games in quick time.

I actually gave the advise to myself when it came my turn to play and it worked there too, bringing me through a close match.

If you can home in on what really makes the difference, not surprisingly, it makes a difference!

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