How to move more effectively on court

29th March 2016

In my coaching I find there are so many different ways to coach the game and depending on whom I am coaching, different techniques are needed to get the best out of different players.

Saying that the swing should be the same for a 12-year-old at 4’2” to a 6’4” 30-year-old man is just not correct. Yes, there are core principles but so much has to be adapted to suit the individual. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the movement aspect of the game.

I want to discuss how different movement patterns have been taught and what has changed over the years.

The rackets are lighter, players are in better shape and therefore the pace of the game across all standards has gone up. That means the movement is now much more fragmented and random compared to before when patterns and more controlled movement was needed/used.

How I was first taught to move bears little resemblance to how top squash players now get around the squash court. My earliest memories are of taking very deliberate and methodical strides into the 4 corners using the classic arcing technique. Taking 3 strides into every corner from the T and then landing with the “correct leg” every time.

This is the stereotypical movement that was taught all over the world (for the most part) and became “the” way to move. However, even back when I first learnt this movement I would not necessarily ever move like that during a game. Everyone had to adapt and get the ball back any way they could, including going directly to the ball and using the front leg and back leg to land prior to striking the ball.

Even up until my mid 20’s I was still predominantly focused on this type and structure of movement, by this time to my detriment. Other players were being more flexible and moving directly to the ball, causing me to lose time and be constantly under pressure.

At the same time, under huge pressure, my movement still held up. It may have taken me longer to get to the ball and have a lot less attacking opportunities, but after 90 minutes, I was still getting to the ball and recovering somewhat easily and fluidly.

I’m going to break the next few blogs into different areas of movement and how I approach the subject – not which technique is best, just more of a step by step process to put together a movement pattern that suits your body type and swing.

I always approached the movement in the following stages:

Building blocks – basic patterns and style of movement that feels right for you and fits with your style of play:

Adapting the basic patterns to fit with the modern game and situations you find yourself in gameplay:

  • For attack, positive proactive movement
  • For defence, recovery

The final blog will give you links to videos on the video wall so you can start to create your own movement sessions and begin (or continue) your journey to moving like a gazelle on the squash court.

To emphasise the difference between different movements and also prove that they both work very well, check out these videos from:

Thierry Lincou

Me (Peter Nicol)

Lots to think about but all the way through these blogs, please try and think for yourself and take aspects of the process that make sense and fit with your game.

Thierry and I did that and we came up with very different but successful answers.

Good luck!


Peter Nicol

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