Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shot Notation

Are you predictable? Do you play in a specific pattern? Here's how you can find out.

Most recreational players hit the same 1 or 2 shots from a given spot on the court, even some professional players do this..but it works for some of them because of their precision. They get a ball here and hit it to there. But what about the creative players, those that have some flair, or those that have a lot of options from every position on the court? Those are the players that keep you on your toes the most and are difficult to play as it is very challenging to anticipate. 

Here is an example of a chart you can use to analyze yourself. You can video yourself or have someone monitor your while you're playing. First pick one area of the court you would like to monitor. As in the example the player is in the front right corner of the court under no pressure and hey hit straight drives just 15% of the time. You would then fill in the other shots from this same area and under similar amounts of pressure. 

Time Allowed to Execute Shot (no pressure, moderate amount of pressure, under pressure)

Shot Option(s)/ Type

Estimated Frequency of Use (%)

Rating of Shot Ability and Consistency
Example: No Pressure
from front right corner
Straight attacking drive
Moderate, not consistent enough

Afterwards you can analyze and see not just how many options you have from a certain spot on the court, but how frequently you play which shot. This does take a little bit of work to monitor, but you can improve your game dramatically by finding the right balance for you from each spot on the court. Maybe you need to play a few more drives or add in a new shot. Maybe these shots will make your ceosscourts more effective. When you play around with the percentages you will find what percentage of shots work well against who. Maybe your predictable hard crosscourt to your opponents backhand always works, well keep doing it..and try playing some stronger opponents and see if they pick up on this and how they take advantage of your predictable shot selection. 

Another way you can track your shot selection is with the dartfish iPhone mobile app called Easytag. You can divide the screen into equal portions and simply  tough a corner of the screen where the shot lands. The app colours the areas that are hit to the most and the areas that you seldom hit to. 

Finally, if you are avoiding hitting some shots because you lack the confined or the ability to do here are a couple of options you can try. 1) Try some condition games that don't allow you to hit the shots you play most frequently. 2) Try some drills where you practice 'coupling' your preparation and approach to the ball. This means that you shape up/prepare the same way for 2 or 3 different shots. If you do this well, your opponent will have to wait on the T until the ball is hit and you will make them react (vs. anticipating) which means if you execute your shot you should put them under a lot of pressure if not win the point outright. Disguising your intention should be taught when learning the basics of squash and is something that will help improve everyones squash game! 

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