Thursday, 30 September 2010

Summer Hiatus

Too much other sport and holiday means this summer has been a fairly dry period in my fledgeling squash career. With the focus of my efforts, a brotherly squash duel, closing in rapidly it's time to start stepping up my game. I am in the process of starting up some kind of league or ladder between my friends. This should not only help push me into playing more games but also add another level of pressure to these games hopefully simulating the feel of the big game. The only stumbling blocks I have so far are, finding enough similar level active players nearby and working out a suitable format for competition.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Doing things properly

After several months of learning from what I've read on the internet and trying to watch good players I've finally done the decent thing and signed up for some lessons. Having wisely chosen the improver's group not beginners I was pleased to find I was by no means the worst out of the three guys and two girls in the class. Especially as I'd signed up a week late so was starting on the back foot as it were. Initial impressions from the lesson were a bit strange as the last time I'd had any real basic instruction in any sport other than sailing was quite early on in school. Also my view of coaching in sailing has always been from a higher level of competence so the school mistress style of learning was a bit of a surprise. In hindsight the few one to one tips I received on my stroke and the general insight gained from the whole lesson were way more useful than ten games with a slightly better player.

The two or three good tips I have taken from the first lesson have given me plenty to go and practice by myself and lead to a better line of questioning planned for the next lesson in order to get the most out of the coach. I am also planning to look for some one to one coaching after the course is over.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Being snowed in has its advantages as I got to play for two hours at a nearby school who's pupils were enjoying the same weather perks as me yesterday. During this relative marathon on the court I became aware of an annoying habit of my opponent of deliberately hitting shots to a place where I'd be obstructed in getting to the ball by his rather large frame. Every time I called for a let he'd say I could have chosen another route to the ball and should shut up. As well as this he also hit quite a few shots where I didn't see the ball at all between leaving his racket and going out of play.

I thought about this during a break from the game and realised that I was purposefully moving after each shot when I thought I was obstructing my opponent's route to the ball. As an experiment for one game I made a point of either holding my ground or moving to the T with a wide low stance and hitting the ball so as to be in the way as much as possible without actually impeding a shot. This aggressive tactic quickly became annoying and probably would have ended in a fight if taken to extremes but I didn't think I was doing much different that what was being done to me.

Obviously there is some compromise to be found here as there isn't enough room on the court to avoid the odd bit of argey-bargey but is using your body as a blocking device to the next shot a fair tactic? The rule in question here, rule 12, says that a player is entitled to "unobstructed direct access to the ball" on his shot. Does this include moving around the court or is it just on the shot? Also is the player who just hit the ball obliged to move in order to give his opponent "clear view of the ball"? I don't like petty squabbles over let calls every other point in what should be friendly games but I'd like to know where I stand, so to speak.