Thursday, February 29, 2024

Blog: Turning on the backhand

Chris Simpson gets hit in the nuts by Zac Alexander. I know how you feel, mate ...

I have been enjoying a thread of posts on the Let’s Talk forum at Squashsite concerning the act of “turning”  on a serve.

As a rule, I generally love to attack the serve and look for a straight kill, crosscourt nick, or straight volley down the line (you’ve guessed it, anything that can win a point without wasting energy by running all over the court).

If my opponent starts closing down my space, anticipating a straight return, then I might fling in a high crosscourt to get the ball past him.

However, there are advantages if you choose to resist the urge to volley, especially when a serve is over-hit.

These shots tend to hit the side wall and come out off the back wall, allowing you the time to move away to the middle of the court and effectively block your opponent into the opposite half of the court (his fault, not mine).

This allows you the opportunity to punish what is essentially a loose serve with a straight kill, straight drive to a length or a straight drop.

Unfortunately, at club level, a lot of players get angry when they fail to cope with a hard-hit serve to their backhand.

Twice, in recent years, I have played team matches against guys who wafted their rackets towards the ball and missed, because my serve has managed to hit the side wall at the exact same spot where they would like to volley it.

In each match, I was enjoying a  run of points and these guys just grew angrier and angrier because of their mounting frustration.

Each time, their response was to turn on the ball and deliberately hit me with their shot.

No, they were not youngsters, still learning the game. They were old timers, like me.

Sadly, I was playing for the away team on each occasion and the home markers took no action.

It was pretty low-life behaviour, especially from players who should be old enough to know how to keep their tempers under control.

Unfortunately, every league has a few of these characters who know how to ruin a good night out with the team.

Knowing these individuals, their behaviour does not surprise me. The most disappointing element is that so few markers (and players) at club level have any idea about the rules of the game in such situations.

Deliberate dangerous play should be penalised firmly referees, awarding, strokes, a game or even a match should the infringement warrant it.


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