Are you looking to improve your accuracy as squash player? Well, look no further, because you’ve come to the right place.
This article is not going to give you one magic answer that will immediately improve your game, but rather provide a formula for how to ultimately become the most accurate squash player you can be.
So, how do you improve your accuracy in squash? In order to improve your accuracy in squash, you will need to improve your fitness level, learn and implement efficient shot technique, and develop a mental and game strategy that works best for you.
This article will break down exactly how to accomplish these goals. It takes a lot of attention to detail to become the best player you can be, but if you are willing to dedicate the time and effort to research and execute the tips we provide you, you are sure to rise in the ranks in no time!
Improve Your Techniqe
This is the most crucial area to begin working on, and the one that will have the most impact on your accuracy.
Of course, you can be in great physical shape, but if you don’t know the basic (and correct) technique to execute squash shots then you are not going to be very effective, let alone accurate! These are obviously the foundation of the game, and should be the main focus as you strive to improve your accuracy. In order to improve your technique there are few tips you need to follow.
First, check your grip is either the standard grip, or at least close to it. The correct grip on the racket should look something like this…
The ‘V’ between your thumb and index finger should be directly down the frame of the racket. The index finger is away from the other fingers to give extra control.
In many other sports unorthodox grips can work fine for some players, but squash really isn’t one of these sports. If your grip differs a lot from the standard then you will be having all sorts of issues creeping into your game. The standard grip will help you keep the racket head smooth and clean through the ball which is the goal for all shots.
Second, work on the technique of your drives, both forehand and backhand. Think about hitting the backhand level with your front leg, but hit your forehand directly below your head. Keeping the racket head moving in a straight line through the contact zone is crucial. Practise simple drills hitting the ball down the line on either side. The tighter and the more consistently you can get the ball to a good length, the more the accuracy of your shots will improve during a game.
Third, keep your wrist cocked as much as possible through all shots. This really helps accuracy, and keeping the racket head moving in a straight line towards the target point on the front wall.
To be a great athlete, your body has to be in the best physical shape it can be.
It doesn’t matter what the sport is, our bodies are designed to perform necessary functions the best when they are at their strongest and fueled by proper nutrients.
It is important to take into account several parts of what makes someone “fit”, especially for a specific sport. If you are a professional football player, your version of fit might look different than a golfer, for example.
The same goes for squash! Squash is a sport that requires long-lasting court endurance and high levels of agility to stop and start laterally and vertically. You must find a good training program which focuses on building the skills and strength most pertinent for this type of movement, if your goal is to improve your overall accuracy.
Unfortunately, squash can take quite a toll on the body because it requires a lot of energy absorption in your joints and muscles in each rally, thus making it a high impact sport. Try to apply a combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercises to benefit from the most effective cross-training.
It probably doesn’t make the most sense to go on long-distance, steady-state runs for your aerobic exercises.
Instead, try HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training circuits, which keep your heart rate up. HIIT workouts are cardio sessions arranged in short bursts of extremely hard work, not unlike a squash point.
In order to get the most out of HIIT, each set or burst of activity needs to be your all out maximum effort for anywhere from 20-90 seconds. Not only do these types of workouts increase metabolism, burn fat, and torch calories, but they improve endurance, which is pivotal to staying strong and focused in vigorous, longer rallies.
The best part about these workouts is they normally require little to no equipment, meaning you don’t necessarily need to join a gym to do them. Many of them can be performed in the comfort of your own home.
As previously mentioned, they are quick, which is great if you are crunched for time, and they burn calories even after you are finished, another added health benefit.
Squash requires the use of several muscles in our body, therefore when you strengthen them, it’s best to find exercises that use compound movements, which work several muscles at the same time.
However, squash does require quite a bit of leg strength, so it wouldn’t hurt for you to focus an extra training day a week on leg-strengthening variations such as lunges, squats, or deadlifts.
Of course, when it comes to introducing new training techniques into your fitness regimen, consult a professional when it comes to anything regarding weights. You do not want to start off too heavy and injure yourself.
Mobility in the hips, and general flexibility can help you move more freely around the court, so consider including yoga or Pilates, or even some simple hip opening exercises into your regimen as well. Make sure you are always stretching before and after each time you play, as it will let your body properly warm up and cool down from this intense activity.
As any athlete, or really any NARP (non-athletic regular person) knows, you cannot burn off or out- work a bad diet! Make sure your nutrition before, during, and after matches is best supporting vigorous energy expenditure.
You don’t necessarily have to become obsessive with calorie counting or a strict regimen, but if you practice general clean eating with a nice balance of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats your body will most definitely thank you! Besides, this is just a healthy habit to have regardless of what level athlete you are looking to become.
Seek Professional Advice
The best place to start when it comes to improving effectiveness and function is to get help from the experts.
If you can, search for squash clubs to join in your area, or do some research to find teaching professionals. Unfortunately, you might have to dish out a bit more money in this area, as it is very hard to teach yourself a skill properly on your own, unless you are some sort of prodigy.
Try to find a reputable coach with a good track record, which is not hard to do nowadays in the world of the Internet where info is easily at our disposal. Reputable coaching professionals will be able to teach you the exact grips and swings needed to most accurately develop your full arsenal of shots.
This is so important, as learning a shot the wrong way can be detrimental over time. You don’t want to have to slow down your personal progress to re-learn a shot. Investing a substantial amount of time from the start to learn something properly, even if you are an impatient person, will be much better for your game, your confidence, and your wallet in the long-term.
Join A Squash Or Fitness Club
You are much more likely to actually learn and improve your technique if you have a regular place to play. It is hard to always find friends or acquaintances at your level, let alone get your schedules to line up in the way you need or want them to.
When you are a member of a club there are often times free or inexpensive clinics and sessions at your disposal, as well as free court time and access to a community of like-minded players.
Half the battle is actually finding the time to practice and the opponent or partner to practice with, and being a member of a club can take the guesswork out of this.
As a forewarning, realize that your technique might look a lot better when you are not in a competitive environment. Your shots will look and feel amazing when you are just going through the physical motions or taking a private lesson.
It’s important to use your new learned skills in a competitive setting like match play to develop the confidence to use it correctly, and use it when it matters most.
Watch Professionals And Take Notes
Sometimes, all we need is a little inspiration from the big shots. When you can, watch those you look up to in their element.
Having a favorite player is great for tangible goal setting. If they have a shot you particularly like, notice exactly how they execute it. Watch their swing path, preparation stances, and agility. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
If you can, attend a live match or event, but if you are not close enough to attend one or it is out of your budget, look up YouTube videos of the best players in action.
The beauty of videos is the ability to stop, start, and slow down the swing path while you are watching. This allows you to see exactly where the best players strike the ball, from what positions they do so, and their body alignment in their strike zone. Take notes and write them down.
Becoming the best athlete doesn’t only require physical practice but thorough outside research to find which best tips to mimic.
Going off of that, it’s super helpful to have a notebook with reminders for when you are on the court.
During breaks in practice or match play you can whip out this notebook and remind yourself what you need to work on for different scenarios. Based on whatever game scenario you are finding yourself in at the moment, you should have tips ready at hand. For example, if you find yourself playing a power hitter, instead of becoming overwhelmed and getting blown off the court, read the tips you previously prepared. Not only will it refresh your memory with the right information, but it will also help you calm yourself down in what might be an otherwise stressful situation.
Develop A Game Strategy And Mental Toughness
When putting the pieces together to become the best squash player, you won’t be able to reach your peak level until your mental game is on point.
This comes from knowing exactly what type of player you are, and being confident in that style of play, as well as recognizing what type of player you are competing against. How well or poorly does your strategy do against a certain opponent?
The best way to know how to deal with different situations is to fully understand the different types of squash players, and understand what category you might fall into.
If you have a set understanding of your game going into a match, you are less likely to experience self-doubt when executing your game plan. The less self-doubt you have, the more you can focus on playing freely, which will only increase your accuracy.
When players get bogged down by thoughts about every step they are making or slow down their swing path for fear of making a mistake, they become tense and their level decreases. Most of the time, players perform best when they are not thinking or plotting their movements, but rather shutting their mind off and going on competitive auto-pilot.
The best way to reach this level of freedom during play is to know beforehand who you are as player, and perhaps consider if your current style of play is going to allow you to improve.
For example, you might want to consider developing a strategy that focuses less on power and domination and more on consistency to favor accurate play. Consider trying to develop into the following types of players.
If you want to become more accurate, focus on becoming a retriever. How can you do this?
By dominating the “T”.
This is the intersection of red lines near the center of the court, shaped exactly like the letter T! The player will normally be in the best position to retrieve the opponents next shot if they are positioned here. Skilled players will return a shot, and then move towards the T before playing their next one.
This position allows the player to quickly access any part of the court to best be prepared for, and retrieve the next shot with a minimum amount of movement and energy. If you can successfully position yourself to be a true retriever, you can counter power calmly and consistently because you can take away time from your opponent, which disrupts their rhythm.
Another way to improve your accuracy is focus on becoming a shot maker.
Consider adding the drop shot or the angle shot to your arsenal. These shots will again disrupt your opponent’s rhythm and take their time away, flustering them. It is worth considering this type of play because it focuses on control and finesse, rather than hard-hitting.
Although hard-hitters can be effective and win matches through these skills alone, they are not always the most reliable. If you have some variety in your game, other than just hitting the ball at record speed, you will more likely frustrate your opponent by lasting in the points much longer, and you will in turn, give yourself more time to focus on shot making, rather than sheer power.
Being mentally tough can often make or break you as a player. Mental toughness is arguably the most difficult skill to perfect in nearly every sport.
It takes years of experience and practice, and confidence-building through match play.
Fear not, there are some smaller things you can do on an everyday basis to best prepare yourself for everyday practice sessions and matches to make sure you are continuously experiencing mental growth.
Practice mindfulness. The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be different for each person.
For some, it might mean meditating before heading out on the court or taking time to quietly reflect post- hitting session. For others, it might mean doing yoga during the week as a way to de-stress from a bad match or break up your practice schedule.
The sooner you find what mindfulness technique works for you as a person, the more grounded you will become, allowing you to only focus on the positives and the improvements you are making. This will build confidence, which transfers to match play and makes you tougher as you continue working.
Naturally, seeing improvement pushes us to want to keep going! It’s a cycle, and a long process, but worth the extra time commitment.
So, Now What?
You’ve managed to make it through this article and read through the various tips we have for you on becoming a more accurate squash player. So, what are the next steps? Easy. It’s time to put in the work.
Many people look for a quick-fix and rely on a few expensive sessions with a coach to get them to the level they need to be. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. Coaching only becomes effective when you put it to use, and use it with the right combination of other key growth factors.
Practice hard on the court, find friends and local club members to play practice matches with, and dedicate the time to train yourself off the court both mentally and physically. Find your mindfulness technique and really think about whether or not your current type of play is favoring accuracy.
Soon, you will start to see your combination of hard work and effort come to fruition, and your on-court mistakes will decrease. The power lies within you!