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Get into position

Early Preparation & Feet positioning

Early Preparation & Feet positioning

Published: 21 Nov 2004 - 16:41 by rippa rit

Updated: 03 Feb 2007 - 08:27

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If you want to take the initiative it is important to "get into position" first, then take the
authority from your opponent.  This advice has often made players laugh. I am not joking.

Only hit the ball as hard/fast as you can run. Why?
    • The faster the ball is returned by the opponent, the less time available to get into position to play the return.
    • If a player is badly positioned on court, the return will be defensive, and leave more court wide open for the return shot.
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From rippa rit - 03 Feb 2007 - 08:27

greg - I am pleased you looked at this article as the picture is very appropriate to the backhand swing we have just referred to in the post with the pics you included. These pics come from our squashgame library.

Now, let us refer to something else so we can see what you are doing from a different angle. Watch a cat trying to get a bird into the captive position.  They do not think "there is a bird, bang got it" well I don't think so from what I have seen.  The cat looks, sneaks about, manouvres themselves, and then at the appropriate moment pounces. They are smart.

So, play controlled shots, move the player around, be in no hurry to win the rally, and then when something silly happens and there is an "opening", just do it!

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From gregzilla - 03 Feb 2007 - 04:13

One of the (many) silly things I do is sometimes try to rip a winner from the back of the court on the forehand side.  At a full stretch.  Occasionally it works.  Most of the time not :).  If it doesn't work, my opponent usually cuts it off and drops it for a winner or totally gains control of the rally.  If I'd gone for a lob instead, or at least not tried to put it through the front wall, I'd have time to get back to the T.  If they cut it off, at least I am in the right position.  I also often get into a hitting contest.  Most people around my level all like to hit the ball hard.  If I do that I usually do poorly as my aim is bad when trying to hammer it.  If I slow it down a bit, I usually do much better.  Need the electro-shock therapy to help me to remember to slow it down ;).

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From rippa rit - 02 Feb 2007 - 15:57

greg - I guess the tip was about giving yourself time to recover, and if you are in a bad position only hit the ball as hard as you have time to get back into position before the next shot.

What you are saying I think is a little different, since the opponent is cutting the ball off, so two things are happening from your end:
1. The ball is not tight enough, so no matter how hard you hit it, you will be in trouble from an opponent who volleys. So keep the ball tight is the operative word, especially if the ball is hard and does not go over the opponent's head.
2. When trying to draw the opponent from in front of you, the ball must be tight no matter what.  The easier  way is to play the ball tight, soft, high which should give you time to get out of the way, and draw the opponent back, and maybe force them to hit the volley off a really high soft ball.  And, with a bit of luck it will be too tight to volley, too high to reach, and so soft it dies in the corner.

I suggest practising with a partner rallying down the forehand wall, circling through the center of the court, with the object of always bringing your partner to the back corner... if you hit it too loose your opponent will stay in front, provided they do volley, and you will be stuck in the back.
Repeat on the backhand.
Now I know you are going to get sloppy doing this and crowd each other, so then it is time to change the drill to Drive/Boast/Cross court Lob/Volley or Drive.

When you have got that under control let me know or go to the Drills/Routines section and expand the practice session a little further.

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From gregzilla - 01 Feb 2007 - 07:43

Oh so easier said than done :).  I am going to get my friend to come watch me play and hook up the electroshock apparatus.  Every time I hit the ball too hard, zap!  "Here, please cut this off when I am stuck in the back corner". 
Far too easy to get stuck in a slugging match.  Rita, any advice to break this very bad habit?

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From BizarreCo - 06 Jun 2006 - 22:25

Oh how this thread certainly rings home to me!


At 19 I went off to university and found myself trying out for the team hoping to get a place. As it turned out I was hitting a very good run in my game and played extremely well. Well enough to get the number 1 spot in the try outs. What really hurt was when the heavily overweight, pear shaped coach said "You look pretty good, shall we have a game?". The young, over-confident me jumped at the chance to prove that I deserved the spot that I'd just been given.


It was utter humiliation. The guy completely anhilalated me with a type of game that I'd never come across before. I'd seen all sorts of deception in my life, and quite a variety of tactics, but nothing like this before. My one memory of that match that stays with me today is when he held the ball at the front (supposedly for a drop). In I came to see the ball float over my head. I ran back and retrieved off the back wall (just!) only to find my self in the same situation for my next 2 shots, before finally he dropped in a dead nick (with me standing on the T I had no chance of reaching it).


Over the following 4 years I learned everything I could, and found out that this guy was one of the highest ranked coaches in Wales and extremely good as a player. In shape he'd retrieve all day long and out of shape he'd play shots that simply made me envious. He played at 1st string in the Welsh Premier division but always looked like a class player despite the extra weight being carried.


So now I find myself emmulating everything he did to me on court, teaching the same lessons to young(er!) hot-headed juniors, just hoping to pass on a little bit of the wisdom he gave to me. And what made this guy so good?

1) His positioning was fantastic. He always seemed to be in the right place and never stretched for the ball.

2) His movement was like he was gliding across the court! Never rushed, never in a hurry. Fluid is the only description I can give.

3) His shots could land on a bottletop! Because of his positioning and time on the ball (thanks to his movement), he always had the time and the options on the ball and he certainly knew where and when to play the right shots.

4) Continual pressure. The final thing he did to me on court was to apply continual pressure from first serve to last shot. He pushed me into every area of the court and so many differing paces it was really difficult to get settled.


All hail the "old head" players who still have a lot to show us youngsters about the beauty of the game!



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From rippa rit - 05 Jun 2006 - 14:07

Food for thought on this one.
If you cannot hit a shot accurately when well positioned, there is little hope for the shot when you are scrambling all over the place.

It is necessary to get "a feel" for the shot under ideal circumstances before trying to cut corners.

The basics are the foundation. 

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From rippa rit - 05 Feb 2006 - 07:22

Slavi - generally the older players have been quicker on court when younger and of course played a much higher grade.
It is easy to recognise these players by their technique, movement, and variety of shots
As the players get unfit they have to rely on skill and tactics much more.
Sometimes injury, especially knees, drags these players down the grades too.
All players who get injury suddenly learn the benefits of playing smart too, whereas once they did not even consider the need to slow up the game.
The younger less experienced faster players do keep the ball warm and that is always helpful.
One loose shot against the older player often means BINGO, eg volley drop right in the corner.

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From drop-shot - 04 Feb 2006 - 20:25

Not really frustration... I did spend ca. 900 hours on court. They usually have ca. 9000 hours behind them... Maybe they're not that explosively fast as younger players, but they know what means "GET INTO POSITION, RACKET UP".

If you're smart enough you can learn a lot from your opponents. That's what I learned from the "older"/ more mature players - grace on court and controlling the ball during the game. Usually they do not play hard shots, it's only perfectly placed ball - tight enough and long enough to put the opponent into trouble :-)

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From rippa rit - 04 Feb 2006 - 20:12

Yeah Slavi "pleasure for your eyes" but frustration for your head

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From drop-shot - 04 Feb 2006 - 17:27

I agree, squash is about playing smart, not hard. So the "veterans" are probably pretty good opponents for young guns of squash. I was myself too often the victim of those gentlemen around 45-55 years old with 35 years on court. PLEASURE for your eyes.

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From rippa rit - 04 Feb 2006 - 08:00

Slavi - I guess slow players who win matches against fast opponents can afford to laugh, ha ha!
Because they know exactly what I mean. 
  • Veterans being able to beat young, fast and fit opponents sure get a confidence boost when they scrape home a win.
  • The important thing here is by taking away the fast players speed by playing controlled and tight length, (which in turn makes the opponent wait, or hit a defensive return) and attack short or long at the first opportunity.
Smart play!

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From drop-shot - 03 Feb 2006 - 20:42

Hey there Rita,

so to what *players* do you talk about getting into position that it makes them laugh?

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