by Hunt Richardson, Head Pro, The SportsClub/LA
About 25 years ago, eight-time British Open Champion Geoff Hunt wrote the “Ten Commandments of Squash.”
You see them posted in squash clubs around the world. Since he quit competing in squash in 1986, Hunt has owned and managed a successful squash training camp in Australia that bears his name. Usually he is not credited for having created the Ten Commandments of Squash. Not only will I give him credit for the Commandments, but I will expand on them as well. They are useful for all levels of players, especially touring pro wannabes such as myself, who need to be reminded that going back to basic tactics is one of the surest avenues to success in winning squash.
Here is my version:
1) From behind your opponent, use a full swing to hit the ball to good length. Aim high, well above the service line. This keeps your opponent behind you.
2) From behind your opponent, use a full swing to aim into the back corners. This makes your opponent run more and reduces their swing area. Also gives you more time to recover to a central position.
3) From in front of your opponent, hit low and softly into the “nick”. This makes your opponent stretch, and takes away the time they have to hit the ball. It can become a winning shot. Hit down the back of the ball with an open racquet face. Caress it. Follow through so the ball reaches the front wall. Look for loose response shots from your opponent that you can put away.
4) When you and your opponent are in the frontcourt at the same time, hit hard, one to two feet above the tin. This usually results in a winning shot. Avoid the tin!
5) Keep your shots close to the sidewalls. This makes your opponent run farther. It takes your opponent off the “T”, and makes it more difficult to hit the ball well. The closer, the better.
6. After hitting your shot, recover immediately to the Tee, or best central position. The sooner you recover, the more relaxed you will be, and the less energy will you spend overall.
7. Always watch the ball. All the information is there. You can better read your opponent’s swing and anticipate where the ball will go. During rallies, keep your eyes on the ball, no matter where it is. Your reaction time will improve.
8. Make your opponent run. Hit the ball as far from your opponent as possible. If you cannot do that, then hit the best possible shot. Avoid daring shots unless forced to hit them.
9. Volley whenever possible. It will make your opponent rush.
10. Vary the pace and height of your shots. Changing the rhythm of the game can be unsettling to your opponent. When out of position in the frontcourt, lob to buy time to recover. Careful with the out lines!