I can’t find the clip but I remember watching a match between Ramy Ashour and Gregory Gaultier. In one moment, Mr. Ashour was in the forehand back corner and played a crosscourt, but he hit it with a little deception and slower than he had been.
The ball came towards Mr. Gaultier and he mis-timed his straight drive and it dropped short. Mr. Ashour stepped forward and killed the ball in the nick.
Mr. Gaultier walked to return serve and you could see by his manner and facial expression he was angry with himself.
For me that’s a great example of how varying your speed can cause your opponent to play weaker shots.
Imagine this: You start playing somebody and that person hits the ball really hard all the time. At first, especially if you are not sued to it, it is a rush and difficult for you, but over time you get better and better at reacting to the shots.
This is a natural thing – the body adapts. It’s how we get fitter, faster and stronger.
What smarter squash players do is constantly and consistently vary the height and speed of the ball. Not by much, I’m not talking about smacking it one moment centimetres above the tin and then floating it centimetres below the outline the next.
Slight variations cause more problems to players than big ones.
It takes practice to keep good length and keep it tight to the wall but it’s worth doing. Essentially, you are trying to break your opponents rhythm.
One more thing.
Once you become better at this, playing defensive shots also becomes easy. You will feel comfortable slowing the ball down when you NEED to after having done it when you CHOOSE to.
Lastly, if you are curious as to why I referred to them as Mr. Gaultier and Mr. Ashour it is because I don’t know them personally and I feel that’s the right way to address somebody you don’t know.