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