In our latest video I talked about the importance of dominating the T. In this article I will explain how to dominate the T and what your position should be like? Check out the video below if you first want to discover why you should always go back to the T.
As you know, in the centre of the court there´s the so-called T-position where you should get back to after your shot. The idea is, of course, that from that point you can get to any corner with few steps. Having watched hundreds of hours of squash at different levels over the years I´ve made a couple of observations regarding the T-position. First, I´d like you to reflect whether it´s a good idea to go back exactly to the T-position. And secondly, supposing that you get back to the T quickly enough to stop and wait for the next shot, what should your position be like? So my questions regarding the T are: where exactly should you stand and how should you stand?
At the beginning all of us are taught to go back to the very centre of the court where the lines form a T-shape. This is a good starting point. However, as you improve your game, I´d rather talk about the T-zone than exact T-position. The key is to learn to read your opponent´s next shot and adjust your position on the T-zone so that you can play the ball as early as possible. For example, if I hit a very good length to the back court and the ball is tight against the wall (I wish I did that all the time!) I know that my opponent will most likely have to defend by playing another drive to the back court. So, instead of waiting exactly on the T, I´d wait a little bit closer to the side wall and go for a volley (drop/boast). Don´t be too confident in your predictions though: imagine my opponent decides to try to hit a good cross court and succeeds – I´m in trouble. One of the best games to practice this is to play the back court game. In that game, you should be the one who dominates the T-zone. The game allows you to practice reading whether your opponent goes for a straight drive or cross and positioning yourself accordingly.
Of course, there are other possible T-zone positions. For instance, if I play an excellent lob which lands very deep into the back corner, I´m pretty sure my opponent will either have to play a boast or to lift the ball up, trying to hit a high, straight drive. In such occassion I´d wait in front of the T, a bit closer to the side wall which I expect his/her boast to touch. This allows me to go quickly for a straight drop, for example, to make him/her run from the back corner all the way to the opposite front corner.
It´s hardly of use to position yourself perfectly on the T-zone and have your racket ready (I will write a blog about this next week) if you´re otherwise phlegmatic while you wait for the next shot. You should feel your body weight “on your toes”, towards the balls of your feet. Bend your knees slightly but don´t exaggerate. You should feel ready to move quickly to any direction and to be able to change the direction if your opponent disguises her shot and sends you first the wrong way. You should have your feet steadily on the floor until you see where the ball is going but at the same time have a “light” feeling. You can practice this by ghosting. There are several ways to do this and one of my favourites can be done with a partner: you stand on the T and your partner next to the front wall, in the middle. He points randomly any corner and you move and “play” a shot (without a ball). Your partner should wait until you really stop on the T and he can sometimes “cheat” you by trying to send you to one direction and the very last moment change the corner. This is a great way to practice sharp, quick movement from the T which is possible only if your waiting position is correct.