“Winning is the result of carrying out two fundamental tasks – scoring and stopping our opponents from scoring; and it is how well we do each of these tasks that determines whether or not we win”.
The above quote is from the best article I have ever read on tactics and strategy in squash. This article by squash coach Roger Flynn covers the essentials of learning and teaching court tactics. The tactics for squash are identical to those in racquetball. So I highly encourage everyone to read and carefully study this paper.
There are two fundamental winning tactics:
1) The Side-in/Side-out Rule:
In squash (and racquetball), we are only allowed to score a point when we are Side-in (serving) at which time our opponents (Side-out) are not permitted to score. If that is the case then, applying the “Principle of Winning”, when Side-in (serving), our sole aim should be to attack our opponents with as much gusto as we are able and to take whatever risks are necessary to create the most difficult shots for our opponents to return (ie. hit the ball as far away from our opponent as possible using passing shots).
When we are Side-out (returning serve) however, only our opponent is permitted to score a point and, again applying the “Principle”, our obligation is to stop him/her from scoring. This is best achieved by changing our attack to the back of the court so that our risk of error is minimal and we also push our opponent into the most difficult part of the court from which to play a winner.
2) Control The Front Position (center court):
In either of the above situations the player closer to the front wall controls the rally. The player in front is in a position to play a short shot such as a pinch or kill (potentially a winner) while the player behind is less likely to be able to play short successfully and tends to be restricted to playing length shots.
In squash, a length shot is either a down the line or wide-angle passing shot. Correct length implies that the ball is hit at the right height and tempo so its second bounce will be deep in the back of the court and will not rebound off the back wall.