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Deception Can Be Deceiving

Published: 23 Jul 2005 - 12:02 by theguru

Updated: 08 Apr 2011 - 17:50

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Leonardo da Vinci was a man ahead of his time. If you put to one side the great religious figures who are revered by billions of people, he may well have been the greatest man ever. By day his work would include engineeering, architecture, aerodynamics, hydraulics, costume design, painting and sculpture and war machinery. Clocking off from his main occupation he would be found in morgues, examining every conceiveable body part as no one had done before.

As a result, he became truly expert on the suject of human anatomy. Unfortunately for Leonardo, whilst his paintings, sculptures and frescos became some of the most famous of their kind ever, his other work was kept in volumes of notes where his inventions and discoveries were often coded to confuse those who might seek to gain an unfair advantage from his labour.

Ultimately, much of this deception did nothing but hide remarkable discoveries from public view, in some cases, for hundreds of years. His volumes of notes were broken up, a nd most almost certainly destroyed. It is possible that this tragedy could have changes the course of human history. What if humans were able to fly 100 years earlier than the Wright brothers?

Although deception is Squash is unlikely to have such far reaching consequences for humanity, it can affect our individual Squash abilities dramatically. At this point it must be stated that, to achieve this, there must be a fundamental base of tactical thinking during one's matches backed by a technical expertise gained during practice.

What is deception? Simply put, that which decieves. And like this defintion, the most effective deception is simple. Deceptively simple. (Novice players usually think being "tricky" equates with being deceptive. Competant players will spot this trickiness a mile off)

Unfortunately, from here it starts to get complicated.

The complication lies in the fact that the more simple the deception is, the more technically demanding it becomes. This conundrum is the reason why almost all professionals are deceptively deceiving and provide a model of deception. Now, before I explore the reasons behind this, let us delve into the world of vector physics.

Ever since I discovered that "every action has a equal and opposite reaction" I have been fascinated by the laws of physics. (So much so that I have been often tempted to complete a physics doctrate in physics as it relates to the sport of Squash.) In a world free of friction, that is physical friction, not ethnic, religious, personal or emotional friction, when an object hits another object, its departure angle will roughly equate with the approach angle.
In Squash it is not so simple.

It is in fact, the opposite. Not only does the COurt contain friction between two opponents in a struggle for ultimate survival, Squash is played with a rubber ball which has a high degree of friction and a racket which has strings which grip the ball and impart spin. Combine this with a most marvelous piece of engineering - the human arm - and we have all the ingredients of deception.

But back to the pros...

My years of study on this subject has provided me wih an insight into their qualities and why they contribute to their deception:
  • Their racket preparation is the same for each shot
  • Their downswing is the same for most shots
    • At this point most mere mortals would have alerted an observant opponent to their deception by altering their body position or their swing to play the alternate (or deceptive) shot.
    • If the pros choose to do this, it may well be a ploy to provide even greater confusion to the opponent.
  • The racket head speed upon racket/ball impact is high
  • They have a high level of racket skills.
    • A speedier swing makes it harder to detect changes with the naked eye and gives the opponent less time to react
    • Changes in forearm rotation, wrist position, swing direction will result in changes in the direction that the ball is propelled from the racket face
    • This effectively means that the opponent's movment to that shot will be delayed.
  • They have great tactical skills
    • The range of options that the player has can result in a form of paralysis by the opponent - Akin to having one's feet glued to the floor
    • Often the oponent will have moved in another (wrong) direction as the shot is being played only to watch the ball fly to a point directly opposite to that which the opponent was travelling
    • Often this point will be directly related to the game plan set in place well before play commenced
  • In short, they make the sport of Squash look deceptively simple.
Now that I have your mind in a state that I am sure resembles a plate of Long Italian Pasta being consumed by a small child, I will leave you to comtemplate these facts. Next month I will be prescriptive in how one can put some of these facts into use in a practical sense.

 In the meantime, using Leonardo as an inspiration, take yourself to higher plane. Visualise the possibilities that the world of physics provides in preparation for a world of deception.squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


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From poetrylark - 06 Jan 2006 - 20:39

There is a lot of truth in what has been said here.

deception and strategies feature in a big way in squash.

There is a lot of room for innovation in squash.  For instance, it is common practice to attempt to keep the ball close to the side wall, but the downside to this is that if the ball is not very close to the side wall, it becomes easy for an opponent to boast the ball, and that can put you under unexpected pressure. 

This year a pretty surprising player may start a climb up the Everest mountain, of squash and his idea is to keep the ball close to the side wall as LEAST OFTEN as possible. Does this new approach disconcert some good players ?  It sure does.


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