Updated: Jul 27, 2021
The drive is the most important shot in the game of squash. Not exactly an exciting way to start any blog, but true nonetheless. Everyone remembers the stunning nick, the winning drop and perhaps even the deceptive lob, but the “meat and potatoes” of squash is the drive… and we need to learn to love it! In Squash Tiger World there are three types of straight drive, and the ability to execute all three in a delineated fashion and at the right times is crucial to success. Driving a ball well doesn’t mean you’ll always win, but driving a ball badly almost guarantees you’ll lose… just putting that out there!
A lot to unpack in that first paragraph, so let’s go. Firstly, the three types of straight drive are “A’s” or attacking drives, “B’s” or positional, controlled tight drives and “C’s” or high and tight drives. When coaches speak about delineation we are referring to the difference between all three types of drive as it is the contrast in outcomes that makes them effective. Above even the pressure this puts on your opponent, the advantages to you are tremendous. An early decision on what stroke to play enables you to make an appropriate preparation by way of swing size and footwork. We don’t need a huge swing for a controlled B, and conversely that threatening shape for an A helps both execution and “threat” towards the opponent.
The “A” drive is commonly played off a loose ball and is intended to beat the opponent with pace, heavily cut and with a second bounce in the back wall nick.
The “B” drive is mostly played from behind the short line. It is designed to beat the opponent, who we assume is on the T, with tightness and is heavily cut, bounces halfway between the back of the service box and the back wall and rebounds in a controlled fashion off the back wall. The time it takes for the opponent to eventually strike your B drive is your guarantee of having sufficient time to move to the T and prepare to intercept their next stroke.
The “C” drive is mostly played from behind the service boxes. It is high, almost touching the out line and beats the opponent with height, being too far up the wall to reach without retreating behind the back of the service box. After execution, as with all drives, we would like to be back on the T before the opponent touches the ball.
There are always exceptions to the rule in any situation and in any sport and that’s one of the reasons we love sport. Keeping that in mind, clearly delineated driving makes all the difference in consistently winning. Smacking the A from in front of the opponent, making sure it dies in the back corners rather than accidently restarting a rally by having the ball rebounding high off that back wall. Controlling the B, making sure opponents don’t volley and getting back in front will always be crucial. In similar fashion C drives, giving you time to dig out of that deep corner and get back up the court by using height, will always be the percentage choice. Let’s be deliberate in our driving game, let’s delineate the various types of driving and ultimately let’s make ourselves darn hard to beat!