TACTICALLY EFFECTIVE ROUTINES AND DRILLS
"Drive, Boast, Drop"
Player 1 (or Coach) plays a straight drive down one wall. Player 2 boasts (preferably while in front of player 1). Player 1 moves diagonally to retrieve the boast and plays a straight drop shot which Player 2 immediately drives straight down the wall. Volleys are usually prohibited in order to force the players to improve their recovery from the back-court/defensive boast to cover the obvious follow up drop shot.
"3-Man Volley Boast and Drive"
Player 1 (or the coach) stands at the rear of the court on one side playing straight drives at the cut-line. Player 2 stands on the "T" and attempts to volley boast. Player 3 retrieves the boast and plays a crosscourt drive which Player 2 attempts to intercept with a volley drive down the wall where Player 1 plays another straight drive. Variations include having Player 1 touch the opposite side wall and Player 3 the back wall between strokes. The boast may also be replaced by a volley drop. This exercise introduces the concept of hitting the ball away from the opponent (or away from the source of the opponent's shot).
"Return of Service Game"
Player 1 (or Coach) and Player 2 stand on opposite sides of the court. Both must remain in front of the rear of the service boxes. Each attempts to lob the ball over the other's head so that the opponent either cannot return the ball or must step behind the box to do so. Points are scored for either discrepancy but not off an error (eg. lob out of court, etc.) or the service itself. Play a game each side. (As standard improves - no errors are allowed). A great exercise for improving control of the overhead volley - particularly on return of serve, which will place the receiver in front of the opponent immediately after the serve.
Player 1 (or the coach) stands at the rear of the court and drives straight. Player 2 remains in front of the short-line and attempts to intercept the ball with a volley crosscourt drive hit as hard as possible to get to the back wall before Player 1 can stop it. Similarly Player 1 tries to hit the wall past Player 2. Play a game scoring for each pass. Another good exercise to improve the players' ability to hit the ball past his opponent whether in front or behind.
This exercise provides an opportunity for the feeder to "discover" how to create the maximum difficulty for the opponent. Player 1 takes an appropriate position in either back quarter court with Player 2 on the "T". Player 1 plays shots at random around the court, while Player 2 must return every ball into the quarter court. Player 1, even as a beginner, will be observed to gradually introduce a greater variety of shots as well as some deception in order to make player 2's task harder.
This exercise expands on the previous exercise and provides an opportunity to develop a much greater awareness of the "value" of the complete range of the player's shots. Player 1 (or Coach) takes an appropriate position with Player 2 on the "T". Player 1 plays shots at random around the court, while nominating a shot for Player 2 to execute. Player 2 must play the shot called (no matter how difficult) with the appropriate footwork, technique and accuracy, before recovering to the "T". As with the previous exercise, the player soon discovers which combinations of shots and circumstances will create the greatest level of difficulty for the opponent. The exercise also provides an opportunity for the "feeder" to practice shots/ deception, etc.
As for "Quarter-Court" (above), except that the player must volley every ball with a penalty any time the ball touches the floor. The "feeder" must lift the ball up more to provide volleying opportunities but is still trying to work the player.
The player is only allowed to hit the ball to the back of the court. This develops the players understanding of how to win using the safest shots - shots to the back of the court.
The player is only allowed to play straight - ie. straight drives, lobs or drops. Boasts are only permitted when forced to do so out of the back corners.
The player must play short at every opportunity until the opponent gives an opportunity for a volley winner to the back. The reverse of the "normal" tactic of hitting to the back until an opportunity to play short is provided.
"Short & Long Game"
The player is only allowed to and must play short when in front of the Short line and to the back whenever behind the Short line. This exercise introduces the concept of playing short at the front of the court and long when at the back.
Typically played by many English players, this game requires the player to play short whenever he is in front of the Short line, play a boast whenever he is in either service box and to play a drive whenever anywhere else.
"Inner Court Game"
Using small pieces of electricians' tape, mark a rectangle on the floor of the court 1 racket length from each of the back and side walls and approximately 2 metres from the front wall. This area is known as the "Inner Court" and is the maximum area on the court that either player must "cover" in a game (Figure 1). Have your players play a game scoring points whenever the opponent's shot bounces outside this Inner Court. Initially this is extremely difficult and is very much an eye opener - even for "good players". Each player determines how large their opponent's "Inner Court" is and therefore the running area of the court that their opponent must cover. Thus, the players are encouraged to try to increase the running area of the court for the opponent while trying to keep their own "Inner Court" to a minimum.
A bucket is placed against the tin, mid-court. Two players play an ordinary game/match with normal scoring. Whenever a player loses a point, that player stands behind the Short line and has 3 attempts at hitting the ball into the bucket. If he fails to get any of the 3 attempts into the bucket his opponent imposes a penalty (ie. jumps, push-ups etc.) which the player must immediately complete. If the player succeeds in getting a ball into the bucket there is no penalty and play simply continues. Two effects will be observed by the coach: 1. The players gradually become more and more "defensive" whenever they are not serving due to the danger of losing a point (and having to attempt the bucket and subsequent penalties). They begin to ensure that they do not give their opponents the front position (in case the opponent plays a winner) and they begin to eliminate their short shots (because of the risk of error).
Pattern 1 - "Drive-Boast Pattern"
The pattern starts by Player 1 driving the ball to the back of the court. Player 2, if possible, intercepts the ball while he is in front of Player 1 and, if he succeeds, immediately boasts to the front, diagonally opposite corner. If Player 2 cannot intercept the ball or, if at the moment he does so is behind Player 1, then he must play a straight drive to the back of the court to try and get front position again. If Player 2 has successfully intercepted the ball and boasted to the front, Player 1 must now retrieve the shot and play a crosscourt drive back into the back corner. Player 2 then attempts to intercept the crosscourt and plays a straight drive to the back, hopefully before Player 1 has recovered sufficiently to enable him to retrieve it. If possible Player 1 should attempt to intercept the volley drive in front of Player 2 and play a boast to the front - reversing the situation. If not able to, Player 1 then chases the ball to the back and, because he is behind again, plays a straight drive down the wall so as to enable him to get in front of Player 2, etc. If either player can keep control of the front position his opponent will be forced to run up and down the diagonal of the court until he either gets front position or his legs give out!
Pattern 2 - "Drive-Boast Pattern with Straight Drives"
As for Pattern 1 except that, when chasing the boast, the player straight drives down the opposite wall.
Pattern 3 - "Lob-Drop Pattern"
Player 1 lobs the ball down the wall to the back of the court. Player 2, if possible, intercepts the lob in front of Player 1 and plays a crosscourt volley drop into the diagonally opposite, front corner. If he is unable to intercept while in front of Player 1, he must then play a lob down the wall to the back. If Player 2 successfully intercepts and drops, Player 1 then retrieves the drop with a crosscourt lob back into the back corner which Player 2 attempts to volley and lobs straight to the back corner again keeping the Player 1 running along the diagonal. If Player 1 is able to intercept the ball while he is in front of Player 2 then he must play the drop and attempt to make Player 2 do all the work.
Pattern 4 - "Lob-Drop Pattern with Straight Lobs"
As for Pattern 3, except that the player chasing the cross-court drop must play a straight lob down the opposite wall.
Pattern 5 - "Lob-Boast Pattern"
As for Pattern 3, except that the player in front must use a boast.
Pattern 6 - "Lob-Boast Pattern with Straight Lobs"
As for Pattern 5, except that the player chasing the boast must play a straight lob.
Pattern 7 - "Drive-Boast-Drop-Lob Pattern"
This pattern combines the two previous patterns into what is essentially a very good tactical game plan and, as with all the patterns, with rehearsal becomes quite instinctive. As with Pattern 1, Player 1 first straight drives to the back. Player 2 attempts to intercept in front with a boast. If Player 2 is unable to intercept the ball while in front he is then required to straight drive to the back and Player 1 attempts to intercept. If Player 2 has successfully intercepted and played the required boast then Player 1 must play a straight drop into the front corner which Player 2 then retrieves with a lob crosscourt to the back corner. Player 1 attempts to volley drive the lob to the back so that Player 2 is forced to run the full length of the diagonal and Player 1 is able to maintain front position.
Pattern 8 - "Drive-Boast-Drop-Lob Pattern with Straight Lobs"
As for Pattern 5 except that the lobs must be hit straight down the wall.
[Quelle: "Tactics and Strategy in Squash by Roger Flynn"]