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INTRODUCTION TO THE GAME OF SQUASH
by Ron Beck

This article has been translated into Czech read
the Czech version

So
you’ve heard about squash and you want to try it out….

This brief web introduction will offer you some basic advice and point you
in the direction of additional resources and help. Also there are a
number of excellent books available
that provide valuable advice for squash
players of all levels, from beginner to expert.


Some good introductory writings
about squash:


  • ‘No rest (thwack!) for mind or body
    on squash court,’
    is a recent New York Times article that relates
    the experiences of a new recruit to the sport of squash.

  • Guide to Squash website
    provides excellent basic coaching in multi media developed by pro
    Liz Irving.

  • Cyrus Poncha’s Ten Basic Tips.
    These tips from Bombay based coach, Cyrus Poncha, will take you well
    on your way to a strong squash game.

  • Ten Basic Tactics
    by Derek Johnstone. These basic tactics, written by UK coach
    Derek Johnstone, will provide you the guidelines to improve your game.

First, a brief word about the game of squash racquets.
Squash is an energetic and strategic game involving two players. After spending
a period of a few weeks getting grounded in the game, it will then become
a lifetime journey of learning about the game and improving your skills and
tactics. You will find the community of squash players to be committed to
the game, sometimes fanatical about it, and generally interested in helping
out new converts to the game. Welcome to the exciting and sometimes frustrating
world of squash….

Here are the basic steps that will help you, the beginner, to start out in
the game:

1. Find a place to play.
SquashTalk provides an online directory
of squash clubs, facilities, and school courts

Guidelines in selecting a place to play (if you
have the luxury of being in a locality with multiple clubs):

  • Look for a club with a strong teaching pro. You will need some enthusiastically
    delivered lessons at the beginning to start you on the right footing.
  • Look for a club with four courts or more. Four courts is a critical mass
    for supporting a strong nucleus of squash players.

2. Get a squash lesson.
Take three to four squash lessons, spaced at least a week apart. Ask around
to find out who can provide the best lessons for a beginning player. These
lesson will: ground you in the basics of how to hold the racquet and how to
stroke the ball, give you the basics of where to move in the court and how
to move around the court, and give you some simple drills to work on on your
own. LESSONS ARE ESSENTIAL — it is very hard to learn how to make
a squash stroke from a book! [Advice on coaching
– click here]

3. Find a regular sparring partner.
Find another beginner or another slightly better player with whom you can
play with on a regular basis. You and your partner can help each other improve
by

4. Spend an hour or more on the
squash court a week by yourself!
Squash
is a great game for self-improvement. Because it is played against four walls,
you can always get onto the court by yourself and “drill yourself”. Start
out with the most basic drill: hitting the squash ball for “length” along
the forehand and backhand walls, (the so-called “rails”).

5. Watch good squash. Attend
a local tournament or “A” league match and watch some 5.0 – plus players
competing. You will get a good idea of the game’s strategy and tactics by
watching some good competition, and you will get inspired to improve some
more.

6. Attend to stretching and conditioning.
No matter your age or level of play, you
will enjoy the game better if you spend time on stretching and conditioning.
Stretching before and after you play is essential for this game, which is
characterized by 45 minutes or so of intensive bursts of activity. You pro
can show you the best stretching exercises for squash. Doing some jogging,
wind sprints or other conditioning on a regular basis will also help you enjoy
the game more. Some players “play to get in condition”. This works too, but
its not the best approach.

Well, that’s a lot to think about, but if you
follow these six simple steps, you will be well on your way to enjoyment of
a great lifetime recreational and competitive games – squash!



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page updated 03.02.2002