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TROUBLE PLAYING TALL OPPONENTS WITH GOOD REACH.
Q.9 Couple of my opponents are really tall guys, 6'4"
and 6'6". They play almost the same game. They have a great retrieval game and
they give me BIG trouble with cutting off my balls. They just have a LONG reach!
I find it difficult to pass the ball behind them! I try to hit hard to put them
under pressure but I lose some accuracy and they put me away! If I hit nice but
hard length, they let the ball go back and then have a GOOD swing at it from the
back wall which could put me under pressure. If I slow down the pace and hit
softer to get more control and tight shots, it COULD put them in some trouble
but it's not a winner for me. They have good reach and retrieve and they get to
everything. I tried nice high lobs but it doesn't seem to threaten them at all.
If the lob is not PERFECT, I'm dead! What do I do?
I'm known in the club for having really good shots and skill with the racket but
if I cannot hit a lot of winners and finish my opponent off, I eventually tire
out and lose the match!
A.9. Unfortunately your opponents have two fundamental abilities in
squash – good volleying and good retrieving ability.
Tall players can use their advantage with reach to take the ball out of the air
but may not be as quick on the turn or to get down to low balls in the front so
you can investigate these avenues.
You have thought about your tactical problem with these opponents and tried
different things. One way you can look at tactics is as the balance of a number
of different elements – for example shots to the back and shots to the front, or
hard and soft shots. For example a basic tactic is to get your opponent in the
back and then attack (play to the front) when you have two conditions: your
opponent out of position (off the T) and an easy ball.
To get a good volleyer back: hit mainly straight; when you do crosscourt put
more width on the ball and try to find the safely to the side wall; hit lower
and harder; use very high lobs.
You have said when you hit very high and the ball rebounds off the back or out
of the back corners you are in trouble. It is still probably a good idea to play
some of these shots and if you do give your opponents an opportunity try to
anticipate their return. (You do have some experience of this! Go straight
You have (or you believe you have) a problem with over-hitting and opponents
able to take advantage or the rebounding ball. Experiment with the length of
your drives, pull them a little shorter and your find a range that pushes them
to the back and gives them a problem. If your opponent leaves a gap punch in a
lower dying length ball that will not rebound.
It does seem you are having some success at getting your opponent’s back with
the slower game and lobs. This is not however the whole game. Look for
opportunities to attack, to apply pressure on the volley and with hard hitting,
and play a positional game where you are moving your opponent.
It seems you could develop your attacking shots some more and get a bit fitter
but these are other questions.
Have a look at the opportunities Peter Nicol uses to win points in the Workshop
Remember tactics is about playing the right shot at the right time.