How to play squash - by Robert Forde
The Closing Statement...
Squash an art, a science and a physical test. For those players
who have absolutley fantastic natural skills and powers, the game
is simple: hit winners. For the other 99.9% of us, our mental computer
needs to continuously employ the risk/reward formula - that endless
multitude of considerations that determine which shot to play:
What options do I have?
Is there a definite correct shot to play now, even though it is
What shot did I play last time I was in this position?
What shot am I being (even slightly) forced to play?
What options can I show I have?
How tired am I?
Will the attempted shot I play from here be worth it?
If I miss it, will it put me in a much worse position than the position
I am in now?
Even if I miss the shot - but I don't miss it by much - will it
be worth it since I will anyway force a loose reply and I will have
created doubt for the next time I am in this position?
Overall, have I been too positive or too negative so far?
Is this the right shot to really delay and deceive or is it too
tight or too obvious a shot so that the benefit - although there
would be some - would be more if I waited for a slightly different
The computer may work out the risk/reward formula and simply conclude
"play straight drive deep". Indeed, it will rightly conclude
this often. Risks and rewards of a multitude of shots will be calculated
continuously and shots selected accordingly.
The tighter the ball to be played, the straighter will be the selection.
The looser the ball to be played, the more variety is available.
A continuous correct selection of shots quickly becomes a virtuous
circle where the rally will inevitably end with your winning shot.
A continuous incorrect selection of shots quickly becomes a vicious
circle where the rally will inevitably end with your losing shot.
It really is possible - unless the ball is very tight - to go "forward"
in the rally every time you play the ball. In other words, having
played the ball, you should always be in a better position than
you were just before you played it. When coaching, my most commonly
used word is "nothing": when the pupil hits a shot that
achieves nothing - normally an "attacking" boast that
actually comes back to the middle or a cross-court hit wide and/or
too obviously. In fact, they are less than "nothing" shots:
the player is in a worse position than they were just before they
If you can't or won't do any of the above, you had better start
some serious training. Good players do not waste a single shot -
the energy clock is ticking.
And my final words of advice is "Remember that a TITAN racket
will always help......"