The benefits of using floor targets in practice are huge.
Obviously it shows where we want the ball to land in order to hit a good shot, but what I find the biggest benefit is of having targets placed on the ground, is that they actually calm people down.
All this week I’ve been working solely on drives to the back of the court with one particular guy. We’ve basically spent hours rallying to the back with shoes as targets just behind the back of the service box. Not only did it increase his accuracy but it slowed his movement down, in a good way. He quickly realized that in order to hit his targets, it helped when he was moving in a slower, more controlled manner. Very soon the lessons became more about movement than technical skill or accuracy. Once his movement became smooth, he had time on his shots and his technique and accuracy improved as a direct result.
When the targets were removed his temptation was to become frantic again; he would get too close to the ball in the back corner, he would hit the ball harder and the quality immediately went down.
So we can see that our aim is to remain calm, clear headed, and focus on our movement, then the shot quality often takes care of itself. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on composure and this ties in nicely, as having just one thing to focus on (ie. a simple target) can free our mind from any other distractions. This enables us to simplify everything and focus on doing one thing well, instead of trying to achieve ten things at once. Good movement and good accurate drives to the back are basis of good squash at any level of the game, if you can nail these two aspects of squash then everything else will fall into place. The moment you start to hit a poor length (usually too short) or your movement become hectic and uncontrolled, then your whole game will fall apart. The moment this happens (and it will from time to time, we’re not robots) then you must visually imagine your length targets and hopefully you will regain your compose and accuracy.