Play against a variety of players to improve your playing standards
For all the training drills, coaching sessions, and partner routines, squash is ultimately about winning matches. If you want to improve as a player, one of the best ways to do that is playing regular practice matches.
What a lot of players fail to consider, however, is the range and variety of opponents that they play against in their practice matches.
Ideally, you should be looking to get an equal proportion of games in against three categories of players:
- Players a little weaker than you
- Players of an equal standard
- Players a little stronger than you
Your matches against these three different levels of opponent will allow you to focus on different aspects of your development as a player.
By playing a weaker player, you’re given an opportunity to practice and incorporate the new things into your game that you’ve been working on in training. If you’ve been working hard on improving a particular shot for example, it’s going to be difficult to suddenly start using that shot against tougher opponents when you’re under pressure.
However, by playing regular matches against players who are a little weaker than you, you’ll invariably have a little more time on the ball to start utilizing the shots that you’ve been practicing in training, into a full match play situation.
Against players that you know are a little stronger than you on the other hand, is a chance to really gauge your overall improvements. Find players who you feel are just the next level above you (be realistic, don’t overreach too far), and use your matches against them to track how your skills are developing and record your points. See if you can start sneaking a game occasionally, or simply time the matches and see if you can keep your opponent on the court a little longer.
Finally, your practice matches against players of a similar standard, are what you use to stay sharp and in form. Play with instinct and utilize skills from practice.