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How to be deceptive on court...Peter Nicol
This week we are looking at deception and how to and when to use this tactic to gain an advantage in a match. I always found this technique really difficult to master, especially as I have a relatively slow arm and therefore tend to be committed to one shot early in my preparation. So, I had to create deception through being in the same position all over the court and therefore "showing" my opponent as many different options as possible without relying on my arm and wrist. We look into how you can add some simple techniques to incorporate deception into your play.

During my career I was very fortunate to play against a man who had a great arm/wrist, was able to get into the correct position most of the time and then had the brain to implement correctly into his game Jonathon Power.

Jonathan Power's Deception - What it was like to play against!
My main rival had an outstanding ability that I struggled against throughout our 45 professional matches deception. Jonathon Power used this to create indecision in my mind and therefore a much greater workload on my poor body, which made for some very difficult movements. The hardest aspect for me to deal with was the fact Jonathon could hold his shot from all areas of the court and under all levels of pressure. Imagine how difficult it is to be on top of your opponent, moving them around the court and finally you put the ball in short and cover, only for THEM to play an outright winner. It was incredibly frustrating.

Holding the Ball (Delay Playing the Ball)
Sending your opponent completely the wrong way is one of the most satisfying feelings on a squash court. Making it happen however can be a challenge.

Jonathan power is generally regarded as the master of deception. What does he do when holding the ball? When you start to break it down it actually appears to be very simple. There are a number of key points that keep occurring when Jonathan holds the ball, including an open stance, early racket preparation and having the ability to hit the ball anywhere from the top of the bounce until it is just a few inches from the floor.

Show your options and Prepare early: A key element to the art of deception is making your opponent feel like they have to cover at least 2 parts of the court. To make them do this you need to be able to show them that you can hit to two parts of the court. This means getting your racket up early above the ball and creating a body position that does not close off part of the court. This probably means being in a slightly open stance that will allow you to hit either straight or crosscourt. Jonathan Power is an excellent exponent of this.

Coach's Comment
Get to the ball in the correct position, so you COULD play several shots from the same stance. Vary the shots you play, so you do not become predictable.

Derek Thorpe
 

With thanks to
squashskills.com