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Advice on tactics problem.

Published: 28 Dec 2007 - 11:12 by hothead

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 17:27

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    The guy I play with, regularly returns my forehand serves with a straight backhand drive. And after he returns, he just stand on the outside of the service box. this gives me a very little window to hit my shots. I have to hit straight backhand shot in return. Now I am a biginner level player and my backhand shots are not that great. Cross-court shots are not an option due to him standing on the service box. also I am  not good at lobs.

pls give me some advice as to how to encounter this guy.

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From rippa rit - 03 Feb 2008 - 18:03   -   Updated: 03 Feb 2008 - 18:23

rskting - sounds like your opponent is waiting for your to hit the ball back to him straight down the wall, so he thought he might as well camp and be ready for it? (You know the sort, faces the front wall, does not watch the ball, puts his bum in your face)  Well, that happens!  It happens when you keep playing the same repetitive shots, so if you can:

  • wait a bit and do a boast/volley boast to the opposite corner that might surprise him, and if you keep doing that it is likely he will move closer to the T; so when he does that, try the down the wall shot again, and keep mixing it up.
  • hit a cross court (as you are entitled to be able to hit the ball to the front wall and side wall nearby no matter what), and see what happens - he might just get hit, and that will surely be his fault for not allowing fair view and freedom to play the shot. If the opponent gets hit enough times I am sure he will soon get the message.
  • make no attempt to hit the ball and ask for a let/stroke.

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From rskting - 03 Feb 2008 - 14:58

similar to my post on guys driving it hard down the line and staying for lunch in the service box, the recommendation seems to wack him in the bum and have him burp up his food in an hurry.

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From rippa rit - 31 Dec 2007 - 13:12

The latest books published, based on the latest rules edition of 2001, are the ones I have quoted, as well as the "Guide to Understanding the Rules of Squash" as an official accompaniment to the Rules.

Here is the Interference Line of Thinking link directly from the WSF .

A lot of rules we hear of are learnt in the dressing rooms so beware of listening to those conversations as they can be very misleading.

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From rippa rit - 29 Dec 2007 - 11:42   -   Updated: 29 Dec 2007 - 20:15

hothead - we are all "hothead" on this topic I think!

So now that we have settled down the facts are:

  • the player is a beginner level
  • the player cannot lob, so probably cannot lob serve
  • most likely the returns are at least a racket length from the side wall, so that makes the court pretty narrow, yeah?

None the less, no matter what standard, I would say definitely do this:

  • Clear the ball (too bad if you have to then stand against the opposite side wall, and then run like the dickens to return the next shot). If the opponent then hits a winner (too bad, and if luck has it the opponent may even hit the "tin").
  • Give the opponent access to the ball (move out of the road and give the opponent room to hit the ball, at all cost, or cop the penalty). If you get hit with the ball or racket that most likely shows you were in the way.
  • Chase after the ball, not the opponent (even if that means going around the opponent to get to the ball). Make every effort.

While I am on this track, I did not see any tactics in this post really, and it is difficult to play a tactical game without the armoury of a lob, boast, drop, and tight length, etc. so it is probably a bit unfair to expect too much placement to avoid this situation. Therefore,  I doubt if it is a deliberate tactic in this case.

A good idea would be to spend one practice session a week concentrating on the strokes, and feeding shots to each other, eg serve and return of serve, swing.

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From edmpnd1961 - 29 Dec 2007 - 11:04

Hi Guys,

Squash rules are meant to be fair to both parties and to prevents incidents that could lead to injury and not for for the sake of winning points at all cost, safrty first.

At the danger area or the Bermuda triangle is from the right and left sides of the front wall to the ball, at the point of striking it, shud the opponent standing inside it, a stroke is the correct answer.

Nobody has the right to own the T in squash and if they do ,they may be hit as suggested by some or penalised with Strokes by Referees.

Now adays the world body wants more of the contiunity of play and lest stoppages, so if u deem not trying to play the ball but hte player, no let is called and more strokes will be given if u fail to move out of the way, once the ball leaves yr racket and that ball is loose.

Wishing u guys a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Happy Squashing one and all.


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From Adz - 29 Dec 2007 - 04:32

Hang on.... rules on this topic are completely subjective to the referee's opinion of what happened. We've covered this before on another thread.

If the referee believes that the striker deliberately hit the ball into his opponent, it should be considered dangerous play and a stoke should be given against the striker.

If the referee believers that the striker did not intentionally play the ball into his opponent then it is either a stoke (if the ball was travelling directly to the front wall and would have been a good return), or a let (if the ball was travelling to the side wall but would have been a good return).

Interesting to read your first problem. Let me try to get this right....... You serve and they return tight down the wall then "trap" you in the back corner before you can play your next shot. In this trapped position you cannot crosscourt without hitting them with the ball (so they haven't given you full and reasonable view of the front wall). Did you lose sight of your opponent in getting to the ball? If you did then a LET would be a reasonable call. Assuming that you can actually hit a crosscourt from tight in the corner. If you haven't lost sight of them and they are blocking the front wall, then it is actually a stroke against them! Once again this is completely down to the view of the referee and not something to be debated in a friendly match.

Personally I think Adam was spot on with his advice on altering your serve. Try a smash serve, a lob serve, tight, loose, down the middle of the court. Try ANYTHING until you find something that works! My personal advice would be to try to use a backhand serve and then step quickly into position in the middle of the court. If the opponent's returns are even the slightest bit loose ATTACK! Get working on those volleying skills and put them under pressure. They'll soon start realising that if their returns aren't perfect then they're getting punished. You might be able to force them into changing their returns to something a little easier to deal with!

Of course if your opponent is really good enough to hit a tight drive off EVERY serve then my only advice would be to get good at retrieving tight down the rails from tight in the back corners.

Now that I've done the sensible answer, my devilish side want to add this........

If he continually encroaches on your space and cuts off reasonable view to the front wall, learn to drive the ball VERY HARD from the backhand corners. Then drive the ball so hard into the backof his leg that he'll soon move (about 3 times should do it!). Just be really apologetic and say something like "I'm really sorry mate, I was going for a crosscourt and lost track of where you were. It was going directly to the front wall, but we'll play a let if you prefer!".

All fun!

Have fun!


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From missing_record25 - 28 Dec 2007 - 21:35

Hi Rita

How old is the Line of Reasoning?

They appear to be different from what I have read in the rule book ...

If they are current, then Adam is right ... going by what I read, you can hit your opponent with the ball, providing  the ball will be Up, and get a Let/Stroke. So much for the rules stressing safe play ...


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From rippa rit - 28 Dec 2007 - 20:31   -   Updated: 28 Dec 2007 - 20:46

Here is the link to the Line of Reasoning for Interference which will help a lot understand how to assess a Let, No Let and/or Stroke situation.

Assuming you now understand the Interference Rule and your obligation under the rules, it will be easier to understand who is creating the interference, or, if in fact interference has occurred.

I think some of the problem is occurring due to court movement, as movement to the ball will vary depending if the opponent's return a short or long shot.  Why?

  • If your opponent hits short, you will move forward to get to the ball, and go in front of your opponent. This normally does not cause much of a problem since the opponent is already behind.
  • If the opponent returns the serve long (past the service box to length) the server needs to go to the ball taking a route behind the opponent.  This is where I believe the problem might be coming from in your case?
  • This is not a cut and dried rule; however, what ever happens the players need to watch the ball carefully at all times, to get some idea where the ball will land within the court (deep or rebound into the middle, etc) prior to returning the shot, and move allowing access to the ball.
  • It is important to make every effort to get to and play the ball, and not to be seen to play the player.

Shortly we will have some video clips of two players rallying continuously down the wall, and that will show clearly how the players move around each other in a semi-circular fashion to avoid interference.

You know we have recently had a post about this movement topic. See the topics listed under "Relevant content" in the column on the left.

How does that all sound now?

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From missing_record25 - 28 Dec 2007 - 20:24

He should be at the T, so, you are entitled to a Let/Stroke.

The Let/Stroke rule is that if your opponent impedes you from hitting the ball directly to the front wall, providing your position shows that you can hit the ball directly to the front wall, then it is a Let/Stroke ... but, you must call a Let and in the stated case you will be given a Let/Stroke.


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From hothead - 28 Dec 2007 - 19:37

Thanks for quick replies.

I want to know whether I am entitled to a stroke or not if this guy is blocking my shot to any portion of the front wall.

This guy says that I can hit my shot in the 2 feet gap that he leaves for me.

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From missing_record25 - 28 Dec 2007 - 17:36   -   Updated: 28 Dec 2007 - 17:38

Hi Adam

When did you last read the Rule Book ... the new rules reflect health and safety in the manner in which we play the game ... not to mention good sportsmanship.


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From adam_pberes - 28 Dec 2007 - 11:53

To start off with, you need to change your serve if hes returning it like that.


You could:

a) Lob serve

b)aim your serve across the front wall more, so it hits the side wall

c) Bodyline serves!

Just experiment withthe angles and height of the serve!



Oh, and I'm not sure If Im mis-understanding this, but:

"Technically, if you hit him with the ball without calling a Let, it is a stroke against you"

Stroke AGAINST? the person who hit it? Nah. Stroke FOR them . yes. unless the referee can say that you deliberately hit him. It is a stroke against him!(the person who got hit) IF it was going directly to the front wall and would have made it legally.

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From missing_record25 - 28 Dec 2007 - 11:33   -   Updated: 28 Dec 2007 - 11:34

Hi Hothead (interesting name)

Because you are practising my advise is to call a Let, tell him he standing in the road of your shot, and serve it again. Keep doing that until he gets sick of the lets being called. He will get the picture, eventually. Anyway it's good to practise calling Lets. Nobody gets hurt, that way.

A match is different. You would call a Let and the umpire will decide if it is a Stroke or Let.

Technically, if you hit him with the ball without calling a Let, it is a stroke against you.


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