Loose Shots


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LOOSE SHOTS
and what to do about them ...
We often say 'good shot' to our opponents too easily after they slot in a winner, but this can be a poor attitude. Don't think in terms of your opponent's good shots, but of the opportunities you have provided them with.

Hashim Khan, seven-times British Open champion and the father of modern squash puts it succinctly:

"Any time your opponent plays good shot there must be reason. You give him chance to play good shot. Don't do same thing. Don't do again."

If your opponent plays a winner or a good shot, ask yourself, "Where did he play that from? How did my opponent dominate the rally or pressurise me?"

To deprive your opponents of the opportunity to play good shots, you should aim to play a tight game emphasising length and width, playing the ball into difficult positions where it is relatively safe for you. An opponent scraping the ball off the side and digging it out of the back is less likely to be hitting winners and playing good shots than one who has the luxury of loose shots.

"Free shots" is what former world champion Ross Norman calls these - shots that can be hit anywhere.

RECOGNISING LOOSE SHOTS
We can define target areas where we would like the ball to go and then identify those that miss the target: 'short' shots (those that don't get an opponent into the back of the court when we want to) and 'loose' shots (those that come out from the side walls).

It's easy to talk about these shots here, but recognising them in a game is not so easy. There are two things you can do to help you do this:

First, have a clear idea of exactly where the ball should be going. Establish length, width and tightness in the knock-up, concentrate on it from the first rally and don't let it go. One slip, one short ball and you should pick up on it immediately.

Second, see where your opponent is taking advantage. This takes up back to where we started. If your opponent plays a winner or grabs the advantage, ask yourself: "Where did he play that shot from?"

And then stop him doing it again ...

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