If you are looking to improve your squash by practicing in pairs, we have this solid guide to help you get going.
There are multiple benefits of playing squash, but for many people, the idea behind playing any sport is not just to burn a few calories or stay fit, but also to get better at it over a period of time.
Playing matches against your partner on a regular basis is certainly one way of working on your fitness.
However, to accelerate the development of your game, there are other aspects that need to be incorporated too. Let us have a look at some of these.
Drills for Pairs Practice in Squash
Straight Drives Backhand and Forehand
- Player A stands on the T, while player B stands in the back court biased to the left hand side.
- Player B plays a straight drive along the side wall, attempting to land the ball behind the service box.
- Player A leaves his position from the T and positions to hit the ball from the back court. In the meantime, player B moves and occupies the T position.
- As player A strikes the ball, player B leaves the T position and moves to position for hitting the ball.
Keep repeating this process till either of the players mishit the ball, or drops down on the court panting for breath.
Repeat the same process on the forehand side as well.
Boast and Drives
- Player A stands at the T, while player B is occupying the back court towards the middle portion.
- Player B plays a boast shot, which causes player A to move forward and hit a drive straight along the wall.
- On hitting the ball, player A should regain the position at the T.
- In the meantime, player B attempts to retrieve the ball and play another boast.
Continue with this pattern for at least 5 mins. Thereafter, exchange positions.
As a variation, the player at the T can play a cross court drive to surprise the partner.
Drive – Drop – Lob
- Player A stands at the T, while player B is in the back court.
- Player B plays a straight drive and moves to the T.
- Player A moves back towards the ball, plays a drop short towards the front and takes the T position.
- Player B moves ahead and plays a counter drop.
- Player A hits a lob shot straight along the wall towards the back of the court.
- Player B plays a drop shot from the back court.
Undertaking this pattern regularly will not just improve the accuracy of the shots, but also the movement around the court.
Drive – Drive – Drive – Boast
- Player A plays a drive along the side wall and takes the T.
- Player B hits the same shot to move A from the T.
- Player A hits another drive in return.
- Player B follows it up with a Boast shot to send A towards the front court and away from the T.
Drop – Drives
- Player A occupies the position at the T, while player B stands in the back court on the backhand side.
- Player B hits a drop shot.
- Player A moves forward, plays a counter drop and follows it up with a straight drive.
- Player B follows it up with a drive towards the back court, causing player A to vacate the T position.
- Player A now plays a drop shot and the pattern continues.
Repeat the same drill on the forehand side.
The idea behind this drill is to not let your partner settle into a particular pattern – thus testing his/ her anticipation and movement.
- Player A occupies the position at the T, while player B stands in the back court.
- Player B hits either a drop shot or a boast.
- Player A moves forward, plays either a straight drive or a cross court drive.
This routine is a good way to replicate actual match scenarios.
Serves and Returns
During practice, try different types of serves against your partner without telling him/ her about which one is coming next. This include the very important backhand serve in squash.
Try the backhand slow and loopy serve, followed by a backhand power serve along the side wall.
Surprise your partner with a fast one along the center line which leaves him/ her with no space to maneuver, followed by the routine one – bouncing off the side wall.
The return of service is one of the most critical shots in the game which helps set a player up for the rest of the rally.
A poor return of serve often ends up ensuring a swift end to the point. Avoid hitting cross court returns as much as you can. Instead aim to play along the side wall ensuring that the second bounce of the ball is as close to the back wall as possible.
- Both the players occupy a side of the court on the service line.
- Aim to carry out a ralley by hitting the ball cross court – on the volley.
- Increase the power behind the short as you gain more control and confidence.
- Switch sides
- Move forward of the service line, and position yourself between the service line and the front wall. Undertake the same pattern once again from the new position.
A variation can be added into this drill to make it even more interesting. Player A feeds the ball to Player B. Player B thereafter hits two consecutive volleys before hitting the ball back to Player A, who repeats the same cycle.
Remember, keeping the backswing as well as follow through short is key in this exercise. The idea behind this exercise is gaining accuracy in hitting volleys during high pressure situations.
This pattern is also a quick method to warm up the ball – something that the El Shorbagy brothers resort to during their matches.
Final Words on Practicing Squash in Pairs
While playing matches against your partner is the preferred way for most individuals to improve their game, this can lead to a stagnation of sorts.
Keep some time out of your squash routine for pairs or solo practice as this helps you work on your hitting skills. And finally, try to play against as many different players as you can so that you can face different challenges every time.
Like most things in life, achieving proficiency in squash requires diligence and planning.