Some things carry over from other racquet sports. Movement and some of the racquet control and timing of the ball are similar to badminton or tennis.
Many other things and tactics are unique to squash. For an experienced badminton player, new skills to learn include , gaining and maintaining control of the court, and occupying the same court space as your opponent, and having to get out of their way!
It may be tempting to smash the ball as hard as you can in squash, particularly if transitioning from badminton where placement is everything. But brute force won’t get far in squash either. It’ll use more energy and take longer to recover from each hard shot, and it may rebound and give the other player more than one chance at returning it.
In squash, a delicately placed winner that uses the side wall and just reaches the front before dropping can be much more effective.
Always return to the tee after the shot. That’s the classic advice for squash – but it bears repeating, particularly late in a match when a player is tired, thinks they’ve no chance of making the next shot, and the last thing they want to do is turn around and sprint back.
But it saves energy – from the tee a player is likely to be prepared for the next shot, and so will make a better shot. And more often than not it means the other player will have to move around the one occupying the tee – and move further.
Up The Wall
Having walls at the side introduces a whole world of tactics and shots that will seem counter intuitive to the badminton or tennis player.
One basic wall shot to master is hitting the ball at the nearest side wall, so it goes across the front wall using the angle to play it onto the wall.
Another is the looping upward shot over both players’ heads, from the front of the court into the opposite rear corner. It’s a useful defensive shot that can be difficult to return due to the height, and will buy time to get back to center court from the front.
Getting Kitted Out
Most folks buy the racquet first and play in some sneakers or sport shoes they’ve already got. Better to do it the other way round and get the footwear first as the best racquet in the world’s not going to get you there if you slip.
Good squash shoes have excellent support for the feet and strong grip all over the sole, for all those short sprints, stops and changes of direction. The soles must be non marking too. Gym shoes and cross trainers from Adidas or Nike won’t be up to the job. Specialist brands including Yonex, Victor, Forza and Wilson all make good quality court shoes.