Info for Your Squashgame

Reaction/watching the ball

Published: 06 Feb 2009 - 18:52 by budblogger

Updated: 25 Feb 2009 - 11:25

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Hi there. New to the site and have been enjoying browsing through some of the previous posts - an astonishing amount of info!

Anyway, I have a specific problem (squash-related!) that I'm hoping someone can help me with. I'm finding that now I'm playing stronger opponents although I'm doing my best to watch the ball I'm frequently getting caught out by being cross-courted. The problem seems to be that I don't react quickly enough to the ball being either driven hard or lobbed across me (often I'm already starting to shape my body for returning a straight drive and get completely wrong-footed), resulting in me scrambling to the back of the court. Usually the best I manage is a boast that, if I'm lucky, will nick (but usually the point is pretty much over by that point!).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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From raystrach - 25 Feb 2009 - 11:25

hi all

re the i-max or i-mask. i have use this eyewear and while it affords good all round protection, i did not continue its use as i was losing depth perception - perhaps by sometimes looking over the mask to high balls. having said that, i do know people who use it and find it very good.

i do use more conventional eyewear, the biggest issue being fogging. ensure that whatever you buy, they have an effective anti-fogging coating on the lens.

i have not used the dunlop product for at least three years, so they may not be the same now, but their anti-fog coating i found to be ineffective. these days i wear industrial eyewear with a soft nose bridge. they are cheap and effective.

on the subject of this post, a lot of the suggestions previously made are good, but the key to all this is the intitial decision making when repsonding to the opponent's shot. it is no good taking off quickly if it is in the wrong direction!

good players do not second guess what the opponent is going to do, they develop their decision making skills so they they can judge what the opponent is going to do at the earliest point in time.

plenty has been written on this topic - use the search or relevant content links to discover more

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From reynard - 25 Feb 2009 - 05:07

 I quite like the look of the Dunlop goggles. They look alright and I'll get a pair of them and give it a whirl.

I might just get a motorcycle crash helmet for my other worries

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From hamburglar - 25 Feb 2009 - 02:31

If you're hitting decent length, your opponent should be pressured into hitting cross courts.

Cross courts should be much easier to return as they come off the side wall with more angle than straight shots. You also have more chances to hit a x-court, when it's off the side wall, whereas a good straight shot may have to be tracked down for a ways until it comes away from the sidewall. It's harder to hit a good straight shot, much easier to slam it x-court, so you should really be sitting on the x-court.

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From rippa rit - 24 Feb 2009 - 19:22

There is I-MASK which is the full shield and that would be acceptable to your Dentist as well as your Opthalmogist.  This will give nose, teeth and eye protection and can be worn over specs.  I know Ray has played using this protection, and does wear protective eyewear. Check out Squash Safety.

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From reynard - 24 Feb 2009 - 18:08

Yeah Rippa I should get eyewear. I had never even seen eyewear in a sportshop here though. So the trouble is knowing which type is best to wear. I got a pair to try off a friend who is an optician but they really made it difficult to see and they steamed up lol.


The goggles wouldn't ahve helped me when I got hit by the raquet anyway just because of where I got hit. But it definitely affected my confidence a bit. It has gradually come back though. But I'm wary. Will take on board your advice of course and the footwork stuff too.

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From daveamour - 24 Feb 2009 - 15:56

I find that it can be very unnatural to watch the ball and watch the opponent hit the ball as it is natural to turn away to protect yourself.  I often play players much worse than myself and find this a great time to practice this by just playing good length all the time and not playing any winners - just try and keep the rallies going to practice getting back to the T, on your toes and watch and practice wathcing.  It is a skill just like anything else and practice makes perfect.

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From rippa rit - 24 Feb 2009 - 15:37   -   Updated: 24 Feb 2009 - 15:38

reynard - if you feel insecure when on the court about being hit, please consider eyewear.  The times that players get hit is when they take their eye off the ball, and then decide to have a look (just in case) and that is when the damage is done.

Definitely, if you cannot see the ball at all times when the ball is in play, your body position on the court is incorrect.  It is generally always necessary to keep the feet on the move while the ball is in flight to position the body according to the tightness/accuracy/inaccuracy of the shot.  If the shot is not right in the corner and not close to the wall, move away, watch, and get ready to run. It is false to think if you give up a metre of space you will not be able to move as quickly; if you watch you will be able to judge the height, angle and speed of the ball immediately it leaves the opponent's racket giving heaps more time to move into position.

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From reynard - 24 Feb 2009 - 08:54

I have only been playing squash for a couple of years now but I found it a bit of a problem to watch the ball. I took a racquet in the face from an opponent(accidentaly!!) and left a bit of blood on the court and since then I sometimes flinch when I get to close quarters with an opponent. I sometimes lose a point because I was scared to look even though I had plenty of time to do it and was in no real danger. I should probably get some eyewear for on court but I did try them one time and thoroughly hated them. They really interfered with my peripheral vision. I know I have just lost a bit of confidence after getting clipped like that but it will come back.

Anticipation just seems to come naturally. When you start to hit the ball roughly where you want it to go then you know that your opponent can only return your shot certain ways. It comes with experience I suppose. But I tend not to find that bit of the game a problem.


But watching the ball, particularly when my opponent isn't in one of the back corners worries me a bit.

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From rippa rit - 07 Feb 2009 - 16:01   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 19:03

Back to our Library content, ie watching the ball/reading the opponent's cues/wide eyes, etc.  You may already do some of these things during play without realising it.  It would be tiring to just watch the ball all the time, however flexing from wide to narrow eyes during the rally is the way to develop anticipation as well. Decision making is also a follow up of this topic where from these cues decisions as to what shot to play under particular circumstances has to be made, thus keeping the opponent under pressure.

As a comparison, next time you drive a car, you will notice you go from wide eyes (taking in lots of cues about the driving conditions when cruising along), and then when things get to, eg the lights, the focus is narrow (more immediate things like the distance from the car in front, the speed, braking, etc).

Can you relate to that?

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From rippa rit - 07 Feb 2009 - 13:05   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 13:08

Communication is good of course, and if it is specific it is even better.  Our "search" will bring up most articles with relevant key words, as daily I add key words to all squashgame content, but, not till the article is published.  Hey, don't get me wrong, and if you only write 3 o 4 lines who cares, but it is when members like Adz write an A4 page, it is hardly fair to  expect his previous wisdom to be ignored/repeated, and for others too, who try to give a comprehensive reply.

Hey, I am no good at "help" menus either, though it is good to get a bit of background before putting pen to paper, then the questions and answers become much more relevant to the player's problem, and not so repetitive.

Agree, our forum is great, so we want to keep the interaction going; and not turn any shy person away!!

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From budblogger - 07 Feb 2009 - 09:57

 Hi Paul, I think you might have hit on something there. I've actually taken a few lessons recently (just working on general technique) and the coach has pointed out that sometimes I'm a bit too eager to get to the ball and I should take my time and slow down. This is probably carried over into other areas of my game (normally when I'm a bit nervous and playing a better or unfamiliar opponent) and, now that youve mentioned it,  I do find myself occasionally having to go into reverse after initially making a move in the wrong direction (possibly trying to anticipate where my opponent is going to hit the ball rather than just getting ready). Will look into using the split-step more.

On the subject of repeat postings I can appreciate that it can be a real pain for people having to take the time to respond to the same questions over and over again. Hopefuly we can find a balance though because it's really great to have this sort of community.

Thanks again for all the advice (both on this thread and from all the previous postings) and I'm certainly looking forward to putting it into practice tomorrow!! 

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From paul-sf - 07 Feb 2009 - 04:27


i wonder if you are in too much of a hurry. if i think that I need to react faster, I often end up guessing instead of watching the ball actually hitting my opponent's racquet. Taking a wrong step will make it impossible to reach a hard cross court shot.  i took a lesson recently where we worked on this issue and found that if I calmed down and didn't guess, I had plenty of time to reach the drive, boast, or the cross court if I was standing on the T. This was a huge confidence builder, since the coach was very good at deception and cloaking. If we are confident in our ability to reach just about any ball from the T, i think we're less likely to feel the need to jump before the actual shot is made.

The remedy the pro's seem to use for this is the split step. It's something I've tried in drills, but haven't integrated into play during games.

Dave, I agree with your point about posting. I think these forum's are great for connecting with other squash players and blowing off work for a few minutes a day. Rippa, I think you're posts are well intentioned to point users to read the previous content, but it can come off as discouraging anyone from posting unless you're *sure* it's new.

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From daveamour - 07 Feb 2009 - 03:47

From my point of view it doesn't matter if it's been discussed before - the act of actually communicating rather than just reading others conversations is both enjoyable and valuable I think.

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From budblogger - 07 Feb 2009 - 01:37

Thanks for all the advice. In addition to this, I've also spent some time reading through the relevant content info - apologies, since it looks like some of this has been discussed (at length!!) before.

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From daveamour - 06 Feb 2009 - 21:08

As an afterthought, when you are playing a drive out of the back corner and you see your opponent is too close to you or facing you too much then play a cross court yourself!

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From daveamour - 06 Feb 2009 - 21:06


Often when you get court out by a cross court then maybe you are too close to the opponent or your torso is facing your opponent too much.

Try and be in the T when your opponent plays his shot and turn your torso slightly towards him but not too much.  If you turn too much or are too close then it is dificult to react to a cross court.

After playing your shot you must get back to the T as quickly as possible and ideally be on your toes with your weight slightly leant forwards ready and as your opponent hits the ball you do a split step and move off in the correct direction.  Also you must watch the ball of course but also watch you opponent  - how they are standing, racket preperation, racket swing etc.  Don't forget that deception can be used so these other things can give you a clue but ultimatley it is the ball you must watch as it leaves your opponents racket and that is when you should move off in the right direction using a split step movement.

Hope this all makese sense and helps.

Ghosting is excelent practice for this kind of thing as is watching pros on youtube - don't watch the ball  - just watch the players - see how they see and see how they move and use the split step.

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From rippa rit - 06 Feb 2009 - 19:59   -   Updated: 06 Feb 2009 - 20:05

Bud, welcome to the forum.  Firstly, I will ask, have you checked out the Squash Library menus, as well as Squashgame Gold that has troubleshooting etc so you will surely find some useful info.

It seems to me that you are moving backwards to the centre court and not watching the ball as well as tracking your opponent at all times.  In this video clip (from the Gold Library) take note of the footwork from the front corner where Zac always keeps his eye on the ball as he moves into position.

Check out the Relevant Content tab in the lefthand column for more reading.

As you are new to the forum, check out the Forum Archives, for some good reading.

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