Squash Tips: The Importance of Good Length
As an active member of Shropshire Squash Club or someone looking to join a club in Shrewsbury, whether you are an experienced player or a newer player, you probably are developing a strategy for how to beat your opponents. When we have our Squash 101 sessions each month (Next one on Friday 10th May with mixed ability players, females and those looking to enjoy social squash), we have a lot of players taking the first steps to understand the game at the start of their journey which can take you a long way.
A good start to forming your strategy and helping you become a better player is to
Build your game around good length.
Hitting a good length carries a number of benefits. If done successfully, we can put our opponent under pressure and get a good position on the T looking to take the initiative in the rally. A strong length which is in the corner probably limits an opponent to only being able to hit a boast (using the side and front wall or even back wall) or a weak shot to the front. When we have achieved this strong length, we can quickly move forward into the front corners without danger that our opponent can exploit our far forward position with a shot to the back.
You can go a long way with this strategy and with good lengths, you can mitigate the danger that a tricky opponent who plays a number of different shots can pose to you by limiting the number of corners they can hit the ball in.
You can look at creating combinations of a strong length to move the opponent to the back and then a shot to the front to force them to cover a lot of ground. This can also make it easier to play your short game successfully.
So how do we carry out good lengths?
During the warm up of a match (More detail in “The Warm Up” article) you should invest a key part of this preparation time working out what height your lengths need to be for them to find the back corners. A drive from the back of the court (often known as a “Rolling length”) will usually need to be above the cut line to get it to die at the back. From the front of the court, depending on your physical attributes you might be able to hit the ball a foot above the tin and hit it to the back. These variables depend on the weather, winter or summer and court to court. Believe it or not they aren’t all the same.
In matches, you should be looking to make adjustments to find the ideal length that is going to cause problems for your opponents. If you hit a shot that is flying off the back wall, you either need to hit the ball softer (with a slower racket head speed) or hit the ball lower (on the front wall). Alternatively, if you hit a rolling length and it is not making its way to the back, we need to hit the ball harder or higher on the front wall.
This prevents our opponent having the freedom to play a number of different shots that we might not easily be able to cover. It stops them taking control of the rallies, dominating the T and ultimately winning the match.