Mar 202011
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squash lungeFor two years I played competitive squash in France. I participated in the Isle de France League and also in local Paris tournaments. All squash players in leagues and tournaments in France are ranked based on their match results, so I started out at the bottom, ranked around No. 4500 in France.

I initially tried to use racquetball techniques on the squash court. I played very fast and tried to hit the ball low and just above the tin. Because of my poor court positioning, I was always in the way and exasperated by the stroke calls made against me. This aggressive style of play always totally wore me out. After struggling to learn how to play squash correctly, I finally got some coaching from Thierry Scianimanico, an amazing top 20 French squash player. It took me a year to stop trying to play racquetball in a squash court. I then quickly moved up in rankings to a respectable 3C level, or around No. 750 before moving back to the US.

By playing so much squash, I was in much better shape. As a side benefit, I had also immensely improved my racquetball game !

So what key things did I learn from playing squash:

  • Play your opponent, not the ball. In squash, your shot selection is always dependent on the court position of your opponent.
  • Keep your opponent behind you by hitting deep, wide angle passing shots.
  • Run your opponent diagonally from front corners to back corners.

Squash also requires a higher level of fitness than racquetball! In squash, you literally try to run your opponent until they are gasping for air.

FWIW,  even the world No 3 ranked racquetball pro, Jack Huczek, plays squash. In an interview, he describes his typical training regimen:

I’ll play racquetball 4-5 days a week. I’ll do strength
training 5 days a week. I’ll do speed training 3 days a week. I’ll do
squash for cross training purposes 2 days a week.

So if you want to improve you racquetball game and improve your fitness, try playing squash regularly. But be careful, because you just might get hooked on the game.

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