Blog : Summer Squash
I know a lot of players out there don’t like Summer Squash. They think it’s too bouncy. I’ve heard comments like “it’s pointless because you can’t hit a winning shot” and “the rallies last too long”.
I personally think it’s great. Hotter weather leads to a bouncier ball, which in turn means longer rallies. Longer rallies, mean squash is physically harder, so your fitness improves, and surely everyone wants to get fitter?! Also, it’s a much sweatier experience, and I love to sweat as I’m sure most men do. It makes you feel like you’ve had a really tough workout, and we all like that feeling.
But the real beauty of Summer Squash is…. it’s the ultimate test of skill and control. Anyone can hit a winning shot with a cold dead ball, but to control a lovely drop shot with a super bouncy ball, or to manoeuvre your opponent out of position with a series of chess like moves – this is what takes real skill, thought and control.
Shots which you can normally rely on to win a point, all of a sudden don’t win you the point, your opponent gets them back. Now you have to put together combinations of shots to move your opponent around the court, until you create a gap so large that your opponent can’t get there, even with a bouncy ball. Squash will often be referred to as ‘Physical Chess’. This is due to using a series of tactical moves to outwit your opponent until they can no longer return the ball. Summer Squash offers this ultimate challenge, where only the most thoughtful and with the skill to apply their tactics, survive. Be willing to think a few shots ahead, think in combinations, not just in single winning shots.
During the season / winter months, I will sometimes coach drop shots using a single-yellow-dot or even a red-dot ball (instead of the usual double-yellow-dot). It takes more control to play an accurate drop shot with a bouncy ball, than a dead ball which doesn’t bounce much. This is a great idea, and I would suggest to anyone who is interested on improving their control, to go out, buy a single-dot ball and do some solo practice on drop shots for just 30 minutes a week. You can ask your coach (or any coach) how to feed yourself for drop shots.
So, don’t shy away from playing in the summer when the ball is hot and bouncy. Instead, embrace the challenge it provides knowing the long term benefits it can have for your tactical understanding, racket control and endurance.