Put it into practice: Effective Defending with Jesse Engelbrecht

21st July 2020

SquashSkills favourite Jesse Engelbrecht is back in front of the camera for us this week, drilling down into what is a really deep and interesting topic – that of ‘effective defending’. This is a great playlist on a really crucial aspect of the sport, delivered in Jesse’s usual methodical and engaging approach.

It’s common for many amateur players to spend the bulk of their time focusing and working more on the attacking side of their game – the drops, the kills, the volleys. Actually enhancing your ability to effectively defend on a consistent basis however, plays a massive part in moving your game up to the next level.

If you watch elite level players play, you’ll see how they’re able to really absorb pressure, and even flip it back on their opponent by knowing when to play the right shot at the right time – effectively turning defence into attack. Jesse breaks this down within the video playlist into the concept of ‘Soak, Diffuse, and Reverse’.

Other topics covered include the critical benefits of defending with height, how to make good decisions with your shot selection, and then further detailed looks at how to use other shots such as drops, lobs, and boasts from different parts of the court as part of your defensive armoury.

Developing the ability to be an effective defender takes time, and is something that you’ll need to factor in with deliberate practice. The investment is worth the effort though, as with the right mental and technical approach, a good defender can really frustrate their opponent and hurt them with intelligent, accurate shots. Pay attention when watching the top pro’s play, and see how they are able to thwart their opponent’s attacking opportunities, and often force bad decisions from which they can pounce and flip the rally around.

The aim of this blog is to introduce Jesse’s playlist and to also guide you towards some of the other content we have on the site regarding defending and effective ball placement. We’ve also put together a selection of brand new solo and pairs sessions for you to try, built around the ideas that Jesse introduces and discusses in his videos.

Take the time to have a good watch through the playlist, and then work through the links to the sessions below to go through them in detail. It’s not a quick fix, but approaching the defensive element of your game with a more measured and methodical approach really has the potential to pay off huge dividends down the line.


Put it into practice

boastSolo session

This session consists of a number of solo drills you can practise on court, to help develop the fundamentals of your defensive game.


defendingPairs session

This pairs session contains a selection of pairs drills and conditioned games that you can use to help learn to utilise defensive shot options within realistic rally-based situations, as introduced by Jesse in his playlist.


Fitness session

This fast-paced speed/agility circuit is ideal to use to help you develop quick feet and rapid movement around the court, important assets in making you a more effective defensive player.


Related content

Pressure drills with Shaun Moxham

In this series, we learn a selection of drills he uses to sharpen up his players’ response to pressure on court.


defendingHow to defend against attacking play with Laura Massaro

In this series, we welcome back former World Champion and World Number One, Laura Massaro. Laura explores how to defend against an attacking player and discusses how she adapted her game to compete against Egyptians.


Let us know how you get on with the sessions, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Haven't seen the full series yet?

Check out the series where Jesse Engelbrecht takes an in-depth look into the art of defending from all areas of the court.

Watch now