Updated: Jul 27, 2021
The second in a six part micro series to provoke a little thought about the way you see your game!
Range is such an important part of squash. For the purpose of this discussion, we define range as the capacity to play a variety of strokes from the same position. Classic examples may be the drop and the lob, the boast and the straight drive. Fundamentally we do not wish our opponent to be able to anticipate our stroke and “move early”, for a variety of reasons, not least because it makes their lives easier, less energy demanding and simpler, but also because it places us under such pressure. Few things are more nerve wracking than attempting the perfect drop with an opponent already running for it… never a situation you would like to be in…
When I speak about range, I also normally coach two options. For some players, more than two is a realistic goal, but if we set our minds to our minimum required, the number is two. We would like those two strokes to be to different parts of the court, and almost by definition, to alternate sides of our body. The classic example might well be a straight drop and a cross court. They go to opposite sides of the court, they are on opposite sides of your body, and go to different halves of the court. Doesn’t get better than that… Now, the reason I say straight drop the X-COURT drive, rather than STRAIGHT drive is simple. At most levels, if a player starts to read straight drive and it turns into a straight drop, they’re not wrong footed, nor are they tremendously disadvantaged, they’re still on the way to pounding out a reply… hence my insistence upon different parts of the court.
Now, if this the only way to do it… gracious no. There are exceptions, an obvious one being holds from mid court, hold the ball, show short, then hit back past them… easy enough to envisage. What I’m putting forward is what I would regard at the 90% rule, by that I mean what I would advocate 90% of the time. If anyone tells you there aren’t exceptions, or that there are 100% MUSTS… they’re probably not fun to drink coffee with!