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Produced by Dennis McCarthy







SQUASH TENNIS


by Richard C. Squires (1931-2003)

$1.00

[March 1968]




CONTENTS


Who Can Play?
Strategy
Fundamental Strokes
Shot-Making
History of Squash Tennis
Court Specifications and Equipment
Official Playing Rules
[National Champions]



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dick Squires is certainly qualified to produce this manual on "Instant
Squash Tennis."

Added to an articulateness which equips him to put his experience and
knowledge into words, his background in racquet games is broad,
longstanding and at a level sufficiently upper echelon to have garnered
national championships in three separate bat and ball sports.

Starting early, in Bronxville, N.Y., he was a member of the National
Junior Davis Cup Tennis team at 17. Emerging from The Hill School in
1949 and fitted with the National Junior Tennis Doubles crown, he went
through Williams College with the class of 1953.

In 1954, he was 50 percent of the title winning team in the National
Squash Racquets men's Doubles Championships, and was ranked seventh
nationally in singles. Twice a finalist in the National Intercollegiate
Squash Racquets Championship, he was elected President of the National
Intercollegiate Association in 1952.

Less active in formal competition for some years, he latterly became
interested in a newly burgeoning racquet sport, and attained the pinnacle
in the 1966 National Platform Paddle Tennis Doubles Championships.

Meanwhile, he had become fascinated with the venerable game of Squash
Tennis. Attacking it with his usual enthusiasm and natural aptitudes, in
two years he mastered this relatively difficult game sufficiently to be
runner-up in the Nationals Singles (1966). Concurrently, he devoted the
aforementioned enthusiasm to heading a program to revitalize the game;
with significant results. Finally, also in 1967, he was elected
President of the 57 year old National Squash Tennis Association.


A word about the various illustrations showing the squash tennis court
and various shots: The solid * is you and your position and the O is
your opponent's. The direction of flight of the ball is indicated by
arrows and the "x" indicates when and where the ball bounces on the
floor. "F" indicates forehand, "B" backhand, and the "S" is the service.
In all descriptions it is assumed the player is right-handed.

(Illustrated by Richard Kaiser)

[Transcriber's Note: See the HTML version of this e-book for
illustrations. Figure captions have been transferred to the text in
brackets.]



WHO CAN PLAY?


Anyone who enjoys playing Tennis, Squash Racquets, Platform Tennis, or
any racquet game and has good reflexes will love Squash Tennis.

Where it lacks the endurance and subtlety that Squash Racquets calls
for, it offers the exhilaration inherent in powerfully hit strokes,
split-second racquet work, and graceful, seemingly unhurried footwork.
The ball "comes to you" more often, but the challenge is to figure out
the wider angles and exactly where the lightning fast green ball will
eventually end up after rebounding off of as many as five walls.

The game of Squash Tennis has something to offer players of all ages.
The demands for fast reflexes, agile racquet work and speed of foot are
intriguing challenges for the youngsters. On the other hand, placement,
guile, patience, and the faster ball that actually provides more time for
retrieval make Squash Tennis the ideal sport for the "older" athlete who
wants to preserve that straight waistline all of his life. The average
age of the ranking players today is around 43!

In addition, the promising, young (10 to 13 year old) Lawn Tennis
"comer," who cannot play Tennis during the winter months and still does
not have the strength or coordination to hit the Squash Racquets ball
hard and often enough to heat it up and realize some prolonged,
interesting rallies, is an excellent prospect for Squash Tennis.

The ball is not affected by temperature change and requires no "warming
up." The youngster will improve his racquet work, hone his reflexes
(especially on volleys and half volleys), and keep his legs in shape
during the off winter months. Also, the racquet and ball are akin to
Lawn Tennis equipment.

Finally, everyone and/or any club that presently possesses Squash courts
can introduce the additional indoor bat and ball game of Squash Tennis.
All that is required is a 4 feet 6 inches backwall "out" line in addition
to the 6 feet 6 inches Squash Racquets line and, ideally, the extension
of the service dividing line up to the tell tale (see fig. 1 [Note
extension of service line to front wall.]).

Because the ball is not affected by temperature, many people play Squash
Tennis all year round, and not only in the cold, winter months. This
game could, therefore, be played widely in the South.

So, we invite all racquets men, young and old alike, to accept the
challenges of the fastest indoor racquet and ball game in the world. As
a matter of fact, because of the speed of the ball and, consequently, the
less running involved, Squash Tennis would be an excellent game for the
more active distaffers.

If you are looking for a sport that you can "master" in one or two
seasons then don't take up Squash Tennis. But if you are looking for an
intriguing and invigorating game which you can play practically all your
life, we strongly urge you to try Squash Tennis. You, your waistline,
legs, lungs and reflexes will never regret it.



STRATEGY


The strategy in Squash Tennis is basically the same as Squash Racquets;
i.e., to control the so-called "T" or the intersection of the service
court lines, by keeping your opponent up front, off to the sides, or
behind you, the majority of the time (see fig. 2 [Desired court
position.]).

The fundamental stratagem can only be carried out by your learning a wide
assortment of Squash Tennis shots and perfecting your repertoire with
practice and experience against many different types of opponents under
competitive situations.

You will have to fight and play hard for this position. Always head for
the "T" immediately after hitting the ball, but taking care not to
interfere with your opponent's stroke.

All of your shots should be hit with a purpose, which is to keep your
opponent off balance, away from the "T," and of course, eventually to
defeat him. Change of pace, therefore, is of utmost importance. Break
up your opponent's rhythm, never allow him to get grooved, frequently do
the unexpected, so that he loses confidence in his anticipation and,
subsequently, goes on the defensive.

At all times be offensive. The game of Squash Tennis has known many
so-called "great getters," but they invariably have succumbed to
"purposeful power" and the aggressively angled shots of players with the
burning desire to win, "the killer instinct" that spurs the great players
to go all out for every point.

Play each point like an individual match. Don't let up or intentionally
"throw" a game. Squash Tennis, as with all racquet games, is a sport of
momentum. Many a tide has changed, many a match won when seemingly it
has been hopelessly lost. Go after every point as though you were down
Match Point and had to win it. "Coasting" shatters your concentration,
and lost concentration can well mean a lost match. Play to win as
quickly as you can.

Finally, assume your opponent will retrieve even your best shots. Don't
underestimate his ability or overestimate your shot-making prowess.
Remember the speed of the ball actually gives your opponent more time to
get to it. Always be ready for anything until the ball is actually ruled
dead and the rally has ended.



FUNDAMENTAL STROKES


The Squash Tennis stroke is more closely allied to the Squash Racquets
swing than to the Tennis swing.

Ground Strokes: The wrist and grip should be kept loose at all times.
The grip will automatically be tightened at the moment of contact with
the ball.

The forehand and backhand ground strokes should be hit with a short, snap
of the wrist - as though you were cracking a whip. There is no time and
no reason to employ a long, high follow-through.

The head of the racquet at the moment of impact with the ball should be
slightly "open" and you should feel the gut "biting" the side of the
ball. This slight side-spin cut, with the racquet head tilting back and
hit like a short, chip shot, will tend to keep the ball low and
inexorably "grabbing" for the floor. The spin will produce many "nicks,"
which are shots that hit a side wall and floor practically simultaneously
and die. (See fig. 3 [Racquet open when contacting ball.] for position
of racquet at the moment of contact with ball.)

The follow-through is low and abbreviated. The racquet head should go
straight out or up the court rather than be wrapped around your body.
The best way to "groove your strokes" and to keep the ball low is to
consciously aim your racquet head on your follow-through at the very, top
of the "telltale."

As in all racquet sports, the racquet should do the work. The ball
willingly goes where the racquet head directs it. Do not flail or
attempt to push your shots. Hit them crisply with the snap of your
cocked wrist, and at all times attempt to regiment your swing.

Ideally your body should be out of the way, which means whenever possible
on your ground strokes you should turn sideways. Your weight should
shift toward the direction in which you are hitting at the moment of
impact, and you should have your feet planted firmly. Because of the
high velocity of the ball, however, you frequently will not have the
time to turn sideways and will be required to stroke in awkward and
off-balance positions. Your aim, however, is always to be in the correct
position of play before the ball gets there, thus allowing time for
adjustment and proper stroking. Move to your position with short, quick
steps rather than long, tiring strides. Consciously maintain your weight
on your toes, with the knees slightly bent. This will help you to move
in any direction necessary as quickly as possible.

In following the ball around the corners, do not stand still and pivot.
Go after it, again with a series of short steps with your racquet head up
and cocked, and your body in proper position so that you are ready to
make a quick and meaningful stroke.

Volleying or cutting off the ball before it hits the floor is similar to
the tennis stroke. It calls for lightning-like reflexes and the ability
to move the racquet head practically in any given direction in a fraction
of a second.

The volley is a short "jab," with the racquet head traveling forward no
more than, say, 24 inches. Once again, your aim should be in the
direction of where you want the ball to go, and low.

The main purpose of the volley is to keep your opponent constantly on the
run, moving him about, and preferably up and back, by cutting off the
flight of the ball. Most players can run all day sideways, but will
eventually tire if you make them run up and back. Like body punches in
boxing, forcing your opponent up to the front wall with deftly placed
volleys will eventually take its toll.

Miscellaneous: Generally all Squash Tennis strokes should be hit as low
as possible - within a few inches of the front "telltale." This will take
time and practice, but pays high dividends. A low ball invites the
aforementioned nicks and keeps your opponent hurrying and scurrying. The
chances are better that, when hit with the proper amount of pace, a low
ball will die before it gets to the back wall.

When a ball is hugging the side wall, don't attempt to "pick" it off. It
is far easier, and your percentage of success is far greater, to "scrape"
the ball off with a very loose wrist. Your other alternative is to hit
the ball right into the wall and hope it will angle off and travel to the
front wall (see fig. 4 [To retrieve wall hugger, hit ball right into
wall.]).

Service: The proper position prior to serving is with the feet as close
to the "T" as possible. This location will help you to put your service
in the desired place, which is parallel to the side wall. In other
words, you reduce the angle. In addition, the "center" of the court is
the ideal position from which to cover your opponent's return (see fig. 5
[Forehand and backhand service positions.]).

Since the ball must land short of the service line, it is obviously not
possible to overpower your opponent for a service ace - as contrasted to
the services in Squash Racquets or Lawn Tennis.

The most effective service, therefore, is hit as high as possible on the
front wall to a "spot" that will place the ball after bouncing (and your
opponent must wait for your service to bounce on the floor - he cannot
volley it) as high and also as close to the side wall as possible. Your
opponent will have a difficult time hitting the ball well because of its
height and its closeness to the side wall. A great deal of practice and
experimentation will be required before you discover exactly where that
"spot" is, and with what degree of effort you should hit the ball.

The service is hit with a slight cut, which will usually make the ball
grab the wall and hug closer. A semi-overhand, side-spin service is best
employed from the right court, and a sliced underhand shot is used from
the left side (see fig. 6 [Forehand and backhand lob services.]).

For an occasional "surprise" or change of pace, you can vary the service
by hitting the ball somewhat harder right at your opponent. This can be
done either as a straight shot right down the middle (fig. 7 [Service
straight down the middle.]) or at a sharp angle that breaks off the side
wall and lands right at his feet (fig. 8 [In and out service angling into
opponent.]).

In addition, reversed cuts can also throw your opponent off, since you
can make the ball bounce off the floor in the opposite direction than
expected.

Finally, the service is practically the only stroke in the game of Squash
Tennis which permits you the luxury of time prior to hitting. You
should, therefore, take advantage of this time to get settled, anchor
your feet comfortably, pause, even take a deep breath, and concentrate on
how you are going to hit the ball toward your "spot" in order to make as
good a service as possible. Don't aimlessly just put the ball in play.
A careless server loses many points by allowing his opponent to make an
offensive return. A deliberate, concentrating, purposeful player, on the
other hand, will actually win many important points with well placed
serves.



SHOT-MAKING


Most uninitiates, especially Squash Racquets players who are adroit at
and/or addicted to that game, believe Squash Tennis offers nothing but
prolonged "slam bang" rallies and a boring "sameness." Because of the
tremendous liveliness of the ball and the apparent absence of deftly
placed straight "drops" that die in a corner, these potential players
scorn and speak disparagingly of the wonderful game of Squash Tennis
which, like all racquet games, has its own shots and ways of putting the
ball away.

It is very true that overwhelming power is a key to hitting winning
shots, but this is also true of Lawn Tennis. Employing the so-called
"Big Game of Tennis" is an absolute must if a circuit player today is
going to be a winner. No longer do you see any classic baseline duels
where the premium is on guile and steadiness. The Big Service, the
powerful rapier-like follow-up volley or overhead smash are the standard
weapons that pay off in today's Tennis game.

Squash Tennis, although played in a regular Squash court, is indeed
"different" from Squash Racquets. It possesses its own distinctive
variety of shots, subtleties and ways of defeating your opponent.

One of the most difficult and frustrating tasks we in the National Squash
Tennis Association have in our attempts to expose the game to potential
players is to somehow get a prospect out on the court more than once.
Squash Tennis is a game calling for such speed of racquet and
comprehensive understanding of much longer or wider angles (than Squash
Racquets) that no one can really feel "comfortable" until he has been out
on the court playing at least a half dozen times. It is a rare player,
indeed, who does not quickly become discouraged the first few times and
decides the game just isn't for him after all. And what a pity it is!
For he is missing out on playing a sport that offers him many years of
wonderful, exhilarating exercise, good camaraderie, and a beautiful,
matchless rhythm displayed in harmonious coordination of racquet and
graceful footwork.

The following are some of the fundamental shots you should attempt to
include in your repertoire:

Rails: Your "bread and butter" shots, similar to Squash Racquets, are
the "rails" or shots hit straight up and down, parallel to the side wall.
These rails keep your opponents "scrambling" and allow you to hold that
important "T" position.

The rail shot is hit more effectually when you are fairly close, within
three feet, of the side wall. The closer your position to the side wall,
the easier it is to hit a shot that stays right next to the wall during
the entire flight of the shot (see fig. 9 [Straight up and down backhand
and forehand rail shots.]).

Many winners are made off of these rail shots in the following manner:

1. Frequently the ball hits straight into a rear corner and dies; or
2. It pops unexpectedly out of the corner and right into your opponent;
3. When hit with the proper pace, and low, the ball will die before it
comes off the back wall;
4. When hit with sheer power and relatively high, your opponent will be
unable to catch up with it;
5. If the ball is hit in such a manner as to make it cling to the side
wall all the way back, your opponent will err in attempting to pick it
off the side wall.

Crosscourts: To be mixed in with your straight up and down strokes are
the crosscourt forehand and backhand shots. Here again, these are
employed to keep the ball out of the middle and keep your opponent
defensive and on the move. They can be hit either straight toward the
opposite back wall corner (see fig. 10 [Cross court to opponent's
backhand.]) frequently for a winner, or more sharply cross court, so that
the ball either breaks into or behind your opponent's position (see fig.
11 [Cross court that breaks into or behind opponent.]).

Three-wall Fadeaway: This shot can only be executed when you are a few
feet in front of the service line and off to one side of the court or the
other, nearer to the side wall than the center. Otherwise it is
practically impossible to obtain the necessary angle to pull of the
three-wall fadeaway successfully.

The ball is hit as sharply as possible into the opposite corner, at a
position approximately midway between the floor and the ceiling, striking
the front wall first and then the side wall. This particular stroke is
hit higher than most of the other Squash Tennis shots since the ball has
so far to travel. It will shoot off the side wall at great velocity and
traverse cross court, bounce, and hit the other side wall deep - ideally
within two feet of the back wall. Then, instead of coming off at the
same angle as it hits, the ball rebounds practically parallel to the back
wall (see fig. 12 [3-wall fadeaway.]). A well hit three-way fadeaway,
which can be made either off the backhand or the forehand, is practically
irretrievable since your opponent, even when he comes to realize how the
ball is going to skid out straight at him, will still have great
difficulty in getting his racquet head behind the ball (and in front of
the back wall) to make a return.

Double Boast: This shot, while not as effective as in Squash Racquets,
can, nonetheless, result in many winning points or, if not producing a
winner, it will force your opponent to the front of the court in order to
make his retrieval. The double boast is hit almost straight into the
side wall and fairly low (three to four feet above the floor) and can be
hit either off the forehand or backhand side. The ball rebounds off the
side wall, goes cross court and hits the opposite side wall just inches
away from the front wall. It bounces out and practically parallel to the
front, barely touching or "kissing" the front wall for a winner, or at
least a very difficult "get" for your opponent (see figs. 13 [Forehand
boast.] & 14 [Forehand boast.]). The only prerequisite for hitting this
shot properly is that you should be fairly far back in the court and
close to one of the side walls prior to the execution of your shot.

Four-Wall Boast: This particular shot is much more difficult to master
than the double boast or three-wall fadeaway but, at the same time, far
more effective and unexpected. It has to be hit with a good deal of
power and quite high in order to carry to the front wall. Your chances
of success are, therefore, far greater if attempted off the forehand
side.

The ball travels off your racquet high into the backhand or left wall,
rebounds sharply to the opposite or forehand wall heading toward the
front of the court. There should still be enough momentum and height
remaining to permit the ball to again go cross court to the left wall
where it hits within a few inches of the front wall and drops straight
down barely, touching or "kissing" the front wall (see fig. 15 [Fourwall
boast.]). The four-wall boast is presently only hit by a handful of the
better Squash Tennis players and should be a shot you attempt only after
becoming skillful in the other more standard winning shots.

Straight Up and Down and Cross Court Drops: These soft or "touch" shots
are employed primarily to move your opponent up and back, although an
occasional winner will result when a low ball, hit with the right amount
of pace and spin, dies before your opponent can get to it. Too few
Squash Tennis players today, including many of the ranking competitors,
employ this change of pace shot. Of all the shots, this one must be hit
with a short, low follow-through in order to work successfully. Your
primary goal to accomplish these shots is to make certain you hit the
front wall first and, ideally, not allow the ball to angle into the side
walls (see figs. 16 [Straight backhand drop shot.] & 17 [Cross court
forehand drop shot.]).

Corner Shots: Again, unlike Squash Racquets, the Squash Tennis corner
shots rarely result in an outright winner. The ball is just too lively.
These shots are worth employing occasionally, however, to keep your
opponent cross-legged, off balance, and on the run.

The most effective corner shots are hit with fairly good pace. Your aim
should be low and into the side wall to a point much closer to the front
wall than the spot a Squash Racquets player employs. The reason for
hitting a corner shot in this "in and out" manner is to keep the livelier
ball out of the center of the court (see figs. 18 [How not to hit corner
shot.] & 19 [How to hit corner shot.]).

Miscellaneous: Generally it is best when hitting any Squash Tennis shot
to "hold" your shot as long as you can, thus reducing the chances that
your opponent can anticipate where you are going to put the ball and
start moving to position even prior to your actually hitting.

Whenever possible, shield the ball with your body so that your opponent
cannot see the direction you have hit until the very last possible
instant. There is nothing in the Playing Rules against blocking your
opponent's view, as long as you do not interfere with his swing or with
his getting into the proper position.

Remember that the key to your shot making is mixing up your strokes and
keeping the ball angled away from the middle of the court. A ball that
ends up in the center will probably result in your losing the point or,
at best, having to leave the "T" and go on the defensive. The exception,
of course, is the widely employed "gut ball" that you hit into the front
wall with great speed and at such a height that it rebounds right into
your opponent's body (see fig. 20 [Ball aimed to rebound off front wall
and into opponent.]).

Employ the side walls as much as possible to keep the ball ricocheting
and rocketing about the court so your opponent becomes frustrated and
almost dizzy from following the flight of your angled shots.

Turning: A word on "turning" or "coming around" is in order. Unlike
Squash Racquets where turning is quite rarely necessary, in Squash Tennis


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