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keep losing from the same partner

Published: 10 Mar 2008 - 17:48 by martinio

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 17:24

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Hi I'm plaing with one partner for 3 years now. I won 50% of these occasions. Recently we begun to interst more serious in squosh, bought new pro rockets , read about tactics and strategy of the game, attended some tournaments for amateurs. Thereafter i haven;t won a single time we play. I don't know what is going on. At the tournaments we have the same records; quarterfinals and semifinals. He stays a step forward from T and returns everything or if not everything enough to beat me every time . What is the best strategy against such type of player and what is more he is a retriever and do not give up for each rally.

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From Adz - 12 Mar 2008 - 02:15


I think my statement of playing a faster, fitter and better shot-player was a generalised one and not meant to reflect on where you are with your opponent. If he's fast enough to retrieve deep shots early, then he must be very good at volleying? Certinaly that would give him an advantage and from your descriptions I feel fairly safe to say that he's an attacking player.


So how do you best combat a fast, fit attacking player? Firstly you need to take away their attacking strengths. You have to keep the ball VERY tight to the rails to stop him being able to volley them easily. Force them to either make a difficult mid-court shot or to go backwards. To do this you not only need to play tight, but also need to do one of the following:

1) Play mid-height and hard

2) Play high but soft

The aim is to get the opponent in a very uncomfortable place when retrieving the ball. Playing hard, mid-height shots means that they have to move off the T and stretch to near the service boxes to hit the ball. If they're an excellent vollier then this is still possible, but a consistantly tight drive cannot be consistently retrieved to a high standard. Even when watching the top pro's play you never see one of them consistently return tight shots.

But, if you do find that you can't get tight enough, then you need to start thinking about height on your shots. You need to pull the opponent off the T to make a volley if they are trying to stay forward. If the ball is high coming past the service box then unless your opponent is 8ft tall then they have to move their feet far away from the T to be able to volley it. This opens up the court for you quite a lot.

So as you said, your opponent is standing very far forward on the court, and intercepting your shots before they reach the back. Can you lift the ball over them from this position? A high looping lob will work best here, but it needs to be high enough to stop them from volleying.


So, to get him off the T, I mentioned a few ideas last post......... low hard shots that are tight to the rails will force him to stretch out to reach them. High, tight shots will definately move him off the T, as will very short, tight drops. So how would you capitalise? I guess you first need to get yourself into position to cover his returns, then play the ball where he isn't going to be. I know this is obvious, but any deeper answers need to be specific to the situations at hand. If he is drawn into the front it over his head to the oppositie back corner (look up lobbing in the help sections). If he is drawn to the side then maybe put in a low hard boast to the opposite side? Maybe a cross-court drop? Maybe a cross court kill? Maybe a cross court drive? There really are too many options to go into details.


So, things to work on (and please forgive me if these aren't detailed as I haven't seen you play each other)

1) Getting your drives tight to the wall (either high and soft lobs or mid-height drives)

2) Taking positional advantage when you've moved him off the T (this is a huge area to get right)

3) Selecting the correct type of shot (another huge area to get right).


Do you have access to any coaches who can watch you play and then give you some pointers? Being able to see a match from the outside is always easier than trying to guess on the correct course of action. It could be that your opponent is reading your game really well and moving into position behind you, but you can't see him do it as you're facing the wrong way.


I hope that some of this is useful, even though it's all a bit generalised.




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From hamburglar - 11 Mar 2008 - 21:03

Ironically, there are links open now for 'Cannot get the ball past opponent?' and 'Tight width'. Both of these address what you need to do to get him off the T and make him run. When he's in front of you, do you try to hit the ball hard past him? If so, try other strategies. Hitting harder often makes you less accurate. Try wider, softer to get him to the back and to give you time to get to the T. Can you make him run when you're at the T? It sounds like he might know what to do with the ball when he's at the T, which is what good players are able to do.

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From rippa rit - 11 Mar 2008 - 20:03   -   Updated: 11 Mar 2008 - 20:10

Try this Squash Library Link "Shot selection".

After reading about the purpose of the strokes, eg move the opponent from the T, it will probably be necesssary to introduce a few more strokes into your game.  Strokes/Movement link will help.

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From martinio - 11 Mar 2008 - 19:45   -   Updated: 11 Mar 2008 - 23:00

Thank you for replies


"Ultimately if you come across a player who has better shot selection than you, and is faster and fitter than you, then I'm sorry to say that 99.9% of the time you're gonna lose!"

If that's true ,how come that it happenед suddenly he is "faster and fitter ". I am not sure if this is right but it is possible that he has improved his shot selection. By the way what is the best tactics against "faster and fitter " player?


"Perhaps a trick would be getting him to the back of the court?"

That's obvious but I can't do this somehow. He catch the ball early and may be that is the problem. May be because of that he stays a step forward from the T, because he knows that he would catch the ball. In your opinion what is the best way to overcome this?


"1) What have you (or he) done to change your matches tactically?"

That's the problem I can't notice what is changed in that matter. What aspect of the game to watch carefully


4) Can you move him off the T and capitalise to win the points? 

Ok what is best tactics to move him off the T and how to capitalise ? I know there is no standard answer to this question but I will grateful to some precise( or not so general) advices

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From Adz - 11 Mar 2008 - 03:20

Hmmmm, the best strategy for aplaying against a retriever can vary depending on just how good a retriever they are. It also depends heavily on how good a shot player you are.


I have seen very good retrieval players completely loat against good shot players, and I have also seen good retrievers being out-retrieved by better runners. To beat your opponent you need to work out how your skills and/or fitness beats his.


Ultimately if you come across a player who has better shot selection than you, and is faster and fitter than you, then I'm sorry to say that 99.9% of the time you're gonna lose! The trick is to find that area to even the playing field and more importantly to find the place to put things in your favour.


In your shoes, I'd go back to the days when I was at 50/50 with the opponent. What am I doing differently? What is he doing differently? How have things changed between us when we play? Has he altered the tactics? Have I incorrectly altered the tactics?


Sounds like he's a very attaacking player if he's always a step infront of the T. Perhaps a trick would be getting him to the back of the court? Or maybe making him stretch low to one side then the other? You could always take a leaf out of Ramy Ashour's book and play an attacking front court game against him? Let him move further forward only to open up the court more for a deep counter-attack from you? Just a few ideas based on what you wrote earlier.


Easiest thing I can honestly think of is to get him off that T position. Lobs, drops, tight rails, low mid-length crosscourts? They'll all do the job to shift a stubborn opponent off the T, but the real challenge is to get yourself into a position to capitalise afterwards!!


Have you ever asked yourself how other people beat him? You said you both make it through to quarter/semi final levels. How do other people knock him out of tournaments? Perhaps start by emulating them?


Oh so many options and so little time to talk about them all!




1) What have you (or he) done to change your matches tactically?

2) What advantages do you have over him?

3) How do other people beat him?

4) Can you move him off the T and capitalise to win the points?


Food for thought I hope!!




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From hamburglar - 11 Mar 2008 - 02:19

Just reading about tactics and strategy is one thing, understanding them and applying the subtleties to your game is another. Squash is one of the most zen games I've played and you don't necessarily become a zen master by trying harder.

I was in a similar situation with a friend. i took one good lesson and within a few months, I was winning more often than not. Other people have taken lessons with the same coach and have not had the same marked improvement. It's a matter of how quickly you can apply what you learn.

I would say the things that clicked with me were:
stroke mechanics, hitting smoothly and deeper
holding strokes and shaping up boasts, drives, xcourts the same way
watching the opponent and reading their stroke
footwork and width

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From rippa rit - 10 Mar 2008 - 18:11   -   Updated: 10 Mar 2008 - 18:16

Well, your question is very open.  My mind runs away with thoughts.  Have you got any ideas, eg

  • is your partner doing something different as he no doubt has been reading up on the strategies too.
  • are you getting a bit anxious about trying to win, and using more brute force, than placement.
  • are you making errors trying to win the point too early, as well as aiming too fine.
  • are you trying to do too many things at once and getting confused; read the ten fundamentals in the Squash Library.
  • are you concentrating on important aspects of your game, eg good length, making the opponent run.
  • are you rushing.

Not sure how much you have read "About the Opponent" in the Squash Library, as well as Decision Making

There are Evaluation and Trouble shooting tools to help analyse your game in Gold.

None of this happens over night.  Take the most immediate problems and work on them, and keep revising your matches with reference to the above links.

Good luck and enjoy the challenge.


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