In this blog I want to show where you actually should stand on the squash court.
‘The T’ in squash is something everyone thinks they understand, I’m sure you do – but do you really?
I specifically want to look at your ‘T position’ when you’ve hit a decent straight drive which has bounced before the back wall, but come off the back wall slightly, so your opponent is able to reach it. This is a situation we see happen in every single rally we watch on TV, and of course, happens in your matches too, as straight drives form the basis of good squash (whether or not you play “good squash”?!).
Let’s look at the pictures I’ve taken from yesterdays matches at the Channel Vas Gold Event Championships in St George’s Hill.
From my experiences coaching ‘club-level’ players (which is most of us; we can’t all be superstars!), people think they have 2 options after hitting a drive which has reached the back;
1: To stand directly on ‘The T’ as they’ve been told to go back to ‘The T’ after every shot, or
2: To guess and commit to one side or the other (and by “commit” I mean to stand more-or-less on the edge of the service box line).
Both of these are WRONG!
We can see above that, in fact the correct position is … slightly to the same side as your shot, slightly behind ‘The T’, facing reasonably forward with your head turned to the player watching intently.
This position allows us to cover all options – the straight drive (which is the most likely), the cross-court drive, the boast or the long drop.
If we look at the commonly perceived only 2 options above we can see the obvious faults:
1: To stand directly on ‘The T’ – This is too far forwards and too much towards the cross-court side. This is ok for covering the front boast or a soft cross-court shot, but poor for covering the most common straight drive, meaning your opponent can get themselves out of trouble by hitting a very average, fairly ‘loose’ straight drive. (By “get themselves out of trouble” I mean that they are in the back corner with you near ‘The T’ meaning you are in control for that moment, then they hit a shot which moves you away from ‘The T Area’ moving you into the back of the court, so they move forward and become in control as they are now standing in ‘The T Area’).
2: To guess – if you guess on the straight drive you are completely vulnerable to your opponent hitting a boast or cross-court, and vice versa, if you guess the cross-court you are completely isolated if your opponent hits a straight drive or even a straight long drop. Guessing is never a good option, it is a desperate option where you acknowledge that you will either lose the point on the next shot by guessing incorrectly, or give yourself a chance to win on your next shot by guessing correctly and volleying your opponents’ shot. It’s a 50/50 situation at best – well actually guessing is not 50/50, your odds are much worse because your opponent has more than just two options!
So we can see it’s a much better idea to place ourselves in a position where we can cover all options instead of just one or two. This is how professionals cover the court so well and it is so hard to manoeuvre them out of position to work a rally winning situation – they are not actually as fast as Superman, they simply position themselves very well after each shot they play, which as we can see, isn’t by standing directly on ‘The T’, and there we dispel a common myth about squash!