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Going to the T and lets/strokes

Published: 09 Jan 2009 - 11:34 by Eddy01741

Updated: 13 Jan 2009 - 17:15

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Alright, I just started playing squash 7 weeks ago (so including the winter break I've played for a total of 4 weeks, weekdays only, about 1.25 hour practices). I grasp the concept of going to the T (center of the court, best position to get to a variety of shots), but I  can't quite do it in a game. The reason why is because I'm afraid of disrupting an opponent's swing or being in their way (within the field of view of the complete front wall), which either ends up being a let or a stroke. Now, while i have actually never gotten a let or a stroke from being in their way at the T, that is because I find myself rarely ever actually being at the T.

Now, my game is usually strong with rails (I seem unusually good at them for a first year player), and then not too much of the technical game (boasts, drops and lobs), so naturally, if the game is usually at the back court, I thrive. So, I usually find myself getting stuck at the back court, easy bait for a good boast or dropshot, the way I usually try to counter this is by keeping them at the back court, since a long drop is hard to execute (exception to lucky frame hits) and boasts from the backcourt give me more time to react. So if I mess up (bad rail/crosscourt), then I'm an easy target for said boasts and drops from mid or front court.

 

Any tips on how to stay on the T without getting lets/strokes? It might just be me being overly cautious (I rarely get in the way of the opponent and hence rarely get lets called on, but that often turns into me being pinned in the back court or a corner).

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From rippa rit - 13 Jan 2009 - 17:15   -   Updated: 13 Jan 2009 - 17:15

Eddy - take a look at these new training videos which show clearly the court movement. They say a picture is worth a thousand words

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From Adz - 09 Jan 2009 - 21:00

Well, the whole Let and Stroke issue is to do with you causing interference to your opponents movement to the ball or the ability of them to play a shot (in very brief and broad terms!).

 

T position can play a huge part in gaining a positional advantage in squash. As an unwritten rule, taking control of the center of the court will usually lead to controlling the flow of the match. It also means that your opponent will be doing more moving than you will!

 

My 2p worth on this issue is VOLLEYING. The best way to keep control of the center of the court is to volley the ball and take time and position off your opponent. Note that I always refer to this as "the center of the court" and not "the T". There is a difference and don't get into the mind-set of thinking "I must be on the T" or when you play someone with great positional awareness they'll give you serious problems with drops and lobs, and you'll be open to short attack from the mid-court.

 

Anyhow, back to VOLLEYING. You need to get yourself a coach (preferably two) and get yourself volleying tight rail shots from mid-court. If the ball comes off the wall by even 6 inches you should be in a position to kill it short. This will mean that your opponent would have to hit a very wide or high shot to get it past you. As a new player you will find that you have natural height levels to strike the ball. A drive will be somewhere between the knee and hip. A volley anywhere between ribs and overhead (more overhead if you've come from tennis or badminton). Now the real trick to this is to expand your range of heights. Get comfortable in volleying at different heights to play different types of shots. You'll probably be best working off volleying at shoulder or head height for the rail shots. This still gives you the option of highering your racquet and hitting down on the ball for kill shots, or opening the face and hitting softer and under the ball for lob shots.

 

The object of all of this is to play your shots at mid-court and keep your opponent in the back of the court. Then you can keep control of the T as much as you want. I'd recommend watching Greg Gaultier for this one as he's (IMHO) the best in world at this when he's on form. Youtube can help you out there. From the back of the court, just like Mike said earlier, it's very difficult for you to be in the way of your opponent when you're on the T. I certainly wouldn't give anyone a LET nevermind a STROKE if their opponent is on the T and the ball is tight enough to the side wall in the corners.


Even if the opponent does play a really crap x-court through the middle it must be going to the side wall to hit you, which is a LET and not a STROKE (although it still might hurt a bit!).

 

So in summary........

 

Get the ball tight into the back corners and get position in the center of the court. Keep the ball in the back by taking the ball early, most often by volleying. Attack loose shots from your opponent, and return tight shots with tight shots.

 

Sounds so simple on paper, but to get it right takes years of practice and learning tactics. But following the advice of the guys and gals on here will certainly help you get there as quickly as possible.

 

Cheers!

 

Adz

 

p.s. The two coaches mentioned earlier was to allow you to train using a very specifc routine. One coach on the backhand, one on the forehand giving you straight feeds from the back for you to volley to length. One side then the other. It's very tiring on the legs, but gets you moving side to side hitting tight length shots which will only help you in the long run!

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From daveamour - 09 Jan 2009 - 16:20   -   Updated: 09 Jan 2009 - 16:27

Mike's comments are spot on and I cannot recomend enough how much you should watch pro players on tv and utube etc.  Try watching as normal but then watch for a few minutes and just wacth one player and not the ball - look at how they move etc and focus on that.

I would also highly recomend getting some court time alone and doing some ghosting - or if you have room in your garden and appropriate surfacing you can do it there.  With ghosting you play with an imaginary opponent and ball - like shadow boxing and this enables you to practice the fluencey of getting into corners, playing your shot and getting out again.  Because there is no ball or opponent you can concentrate on the movement.  Moving from the T to the back corners I've found have many  different ways.  Assuming you are a right handed player then I have found the folowing:Moving from the T to the back left corner has the following options.

Left, Left again(skip) then Right
Left, Right, Right again(skip)
Left (Big stride), Right (big stride)
Left, Right, Left

Moving from the T to the back right corner has the following options.

Right, Right again(skip) then Left
Right, Left, Left again(skip)
Right (Big stride), Left (big stride)
Right, Left, Right

Of course you also practice ghosting to a slighly shorter length - ie not quite full depth and also to a half court drive and in fact all other areas of the court but for you the back corners and that area will prove more beneficial I think.  Give it a go, it will absoluteley definatley improveme your movement, your game and even your fitness too.  Lastly if you can afford it take some lessons and if you can't afford it take a couple of lessons just to get a few pointers - well worth it.

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From rippa rit - 09 Jan 2009 - 15:33   -   Updated: 09 Jan 2009 - 15:44

Eddy - those are good questions and observations, especially for a new player.  So much of how you approach or relate to our answers will depend how much you can understand/implement our advice.  The key words, eg

  • get to the T
  • move to the centre court
  • control the T
  • attack
  • give the opponent fair view and freedom to play the shot
  • only hit as hard as you can run/move into position.

will have some relevance to our discussions.  I have entered the keywords and now you have articles to read listed under "Relevant Content" (see the tabs on the lefthand column).

Also under Member Services/Forum Archives you will find heaps of further help with your game.

Trouboeshooting is also a good reference for future help.

Video Forehand Back Court recovery.

Good luck...good squashing.

 

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From mike - 09 Jan 2009 - 12:27

If both players return to the T then the convention is for the player who has just struck the ball to take a curved path back to the T, moving sideways first (towards the middle of the court) then forward, up to the T. The incoming player moves to the back of the court (assuming a deep drive was played) while you move out. If you watch experienced players they can travel quite close to each other while in transit without getting in each others way.

With beginners it's not quite as fluent because they tend to rush more, and aren't sure which way the other play will move. The drive will often be further out from the side wall.

It's great that your drives are tight because it means you're drawing your opponent to the edge of the court, which should make it easier to provide them with the space they need while you recover to the centre. They may move to the wrong side of you, but you may be able to train them by providing space to the "correct" side (of your body) early. The best way around also depends on the length of the drive, and where you hit it from. If you hit from mid court and play deep they should go behind you. If you play from further back they should probably come in front of you. Just takes practice for both you and your opponent to recognize the best route, and provide space accordingly.

Generally being on the T doesn't block the front wall. If your shot comes out wide (towards the centre of court) you will need to move to the side of the T to provide full access. Also playing beginners you may want allow more of a margin. Usually an opponent still has a cross court option if you are on the T. Depends how much you trust their accuracy not to hit you though

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