I have heard Jonathon Power, former World #1 and World Champion, recommend to squash players to get on the squash court to have a solo-hit at least once a week.
This is the bare minimum if you want to get great.
The truth is that professional players have spent a large portion of their training years by themselves on court, particularly when they were first starting out.
For example, Anthony Ricketts, former British Open Champion and Australian #1, was famous for this (in Australia at least!).
As a kid, he would regularly spend 2 hours, sometimes more, hitting the squash ball up and down the wall.
Up & down.. up & down… up & down…
He is not an isolated case.
How Far It Can Take Your Game
How far solo-practice can take your squash game depends on how much enjoyment you can find in it.
For a beginner, it might mean just becoming fully absorbed in the act of hitting the ball exactly where you are aiming…. even counting how many shots you can get in a row.
From there, you will find things to work on either through your own discoveries or with some observation from a coach, or just a better player who takes interest.
The good news for anyone who persists with solo-practice is that most players don’t have the patience for it!
This is why most players are good to ordinary.
And it also means, if you do some solo-practice, you have a great chance to stand out.
The Punching Bag Of Squash
For an intermediate to advanced player, solo-practice is a means to further hone your skills, to work on things you notice are not coming out in a game the way you’d like.
Still, whatever level player, first and foremost, you should be practicing your drives (or rails) down the wall.
It’s the basis of your play, how you set up a point, and something to continually come back to, like so…
For me, driving the ball down the wall can be similar to a punching bag for a boxer.
It allows my conscious mind to zone out and focus on letting my body feel the motion of the shot.
This way, my unconscious mind is learning how to operate on auto-pilot.
Then in a game the right stroke comes out naturally.
If I cease regular practice like this for a short time, my game suffers – I start to spray balls out from the side walls which means I’m put on the defensive more often, and I have to run more.
Stripping Back To Basics
If you’re just starting out, hitting the ball so it bounces in the service box might be enough.
Once you can hit 20 of these in a row, aim for the ball to bounce behind the service box.
At this point, if you happen to over-hit the ball, it might make it to the back wall – a perfect opportunity to start hitting the ball off the back wall – even if you can only boast at the moment, let that be okay and just start your rally again.
If you do 2 x 20-minute sessions of solo-practice per week, you will quickly find your ability to control the ball increases and it will transfer over to matches.
Have fun & play your own game!