For beginner squash players, it is not uncommon to be disheartened after playing your first game. Whether you have discovered that your fitness levels aren’t as good as you thought they were, or that you simply can’t hit the ball as accurately or fast as your opponent, it’s safe to say that Squash is a much harder game than you had anticipated.
Whilst it is quite a hard game to get the hang of, the following exercises and drills will help you enjoy the game as you become quicker off the mark, and able to strike the ball with more accuracy and speed. Fitness, technique and positioning go a long way in determining how good you are at the game, and so the first few drills will focus on these three categories.
Cycling, either on a real bike or a stationary exercise bike, is one of the best ways to develop strong hamstring muscles which are useful for good balance and agility. Off the mark speed (0-10 metres) is the type of speed that is necessary in Squash, and good agility will help you improve as a Squash player. 20-30 minutes of cycling a day will quickly help improve your fitness levels for Squash.
Jogging and Intermittent Sprints:
A squash court is quite small, so long distance running may seem like an odd exercise to improve your game, but jogging, with small, sharp bursts of sprints will increase yout stamina and endurance levels, which is important in Squash. Start off with 1km every 2-4 days, and increase distance as it gets easier. Also, when you are running, ensure that you sprint for 10-20 metres every now and then, to get used to increasing and decreasing your running rate. Once you have finished your sprint, slow back down to a slow jog. A full training guide is just getting it’s finishing touches now, and will be available for you all soon.
When receiving a serve, always stand close to the centre line, midway between the wall and the service line. Your opponent will typically aim for the back corner of your square, but always be ready for a serve that is close to your body. Re-adjusting your body is key to becoming a good squash player.
Playing in and around the centre ‘T’:
Squash is a game that will have you running all over the court if your opponent is clever. You, then, must be positioned properly to be prepared for any shot. The Centre T – where the Service Line meets the Centre Line – is where you want to be when receiving shots. After making your own shot, always try and get back near the Centre T to be prepared for your opponents shot. This means that a small drop shot at the wall isn’t out of reach, and neither is a hard shot towards one of the back corners. We’ve dedicated a full article on Dominating The T here, which is definitely worth checking out to improve your positioning out on court.
Hitting the ball:
There are many different ways to hit the ball, but the most common way to learn as a beginner is from high to low. When serving, hold your racket above you, and swing down and toward the ball to make an arch like swing as shown in the picture below.
This shot should be used in most forehand shots, though be careful to ensure that the racket is always in an upward motion when hitting the ball. To practice this shot, get close to the front wall in a squash court and hit the ball continuously so that you don’t have to move to hit the ball again. This teaches accuracy and technique of shot. If this is too hard, make it so that you can pivot off one foot to start with, but always try to get the ball to land near you. Set up similar to picture below.
Place markers around the court, and from different positions try and hit the ball to land as close to a marker as possible. This drill is sometimes called Golf-Squash. Try different levels of power, and once you get used to hitting the ball at each cone, play 5-6 shots in a row, making each shot land next to a different marker. At all times maintain the high-to-low technique of swing.