Improving Your Squash Tactics From The Ground Up

16th April 2024

We have all heard the phrase, “squash is a physical version of chess”. In my younger days I never actually understood what that meant. Like most fit players, I chased down balls, hit hard, and then ran some more. I had a basic understanding of tactics like “hit deep, and then play a drop shot when your opponent is behind you”. None of this is wrong or ‘bad’ in any way. There’s just so much more to explore!

This blog provides a framework that you may leverage when thinking about designing an effective strategy that works best for you! Joel Makin’s fantastic playlist titled “Tactics To Win Matches” is another great resource to leverage. You can check it out here!

A Common Source of Confusion:

Have you ever asked yourself one or more of the following questions?

“What are my strengths?”

“How do I create a winning game plan?”

“What is my opponent doing to beat me?”

“Where should I attack them?”

“Argh!” 😊 I know, this is not a question!

Fear not! You are not alone! I recall countless matches in my younger days where I would somehow lose in 5, after being in winning positions. When it was time to reflect upon the match after the fact, my brain would draw a complete blank…not a great place to be in huh?

Luckily, I’ve made some progress since those days, and today I’m sharing a framework for your development. Enjoy!


Steps to success:

  1. Increase your knowledge base – expand your mental blueprint as I like to call it. The more you know, the more you can identify, and the more choice you have.
  2. Self-reflect – watch your own game footage and identify ways in which you won and lost rallies. Capture notes, and try to get to the root cause of the opportunity. To get this right and save yourself a lot of time and wasted effort; if you have the means, work with a quality coach.
  3. Train your abilities – from shot options, to accuracy and consistency from various positions on court, to movement and fitness. The sky is the limit. The idea here is to add more tools to your toolkit.
  4. Raise your in-moment awareness to identify how things are transpiring. This becomes exponentially more effective the more you increase your knowledge base, with the eventual goal of chunking certain playing conditions and player styles, and developing ingrained files to leverage.
  5. Dynamic adjustments: ask yourself reflective questions as you’re playing.
    1. How did I set up that rally to win the point?
    2. What did I just do that really broke down their movement?
    3. Why were they so late on that ball?

By following the steps noted above – there are many specific ways to do this – you will develop greater clarity. The clearer you are, the more effectively you can strategize, reflect, and iterate.



With respect, I encourage you to look upon this as an enjoyable, life-long puzzle to solve. There is no one time fix. Approach each situation with an open mind, creativity, and a desire to solve a problem. Focus on effort and progress, not immediate success.

One confidence building strategy1 I leverage with my personal students is a reflective exercise. At the end of every training session (or at the end of the day), take a few minutes and capture the following in your journal.

Effort – think of specific moments during training where you put in maximum effort and make note of them.

Progress – capture specific ways in which you made progress; either with skill development, scoring more points against a specific opponent, etc.

Success – make note of specific wins that you had either in training (e.g. setting a new personal best), or on court (e.g. beating someone you had never beaten before).

By doing this, you will grow your confidence ‘bank account’.


Final Thoughts:

Developing a winning game plan is about you, your physical abilities and limitations, your skills, and your personality. Do not adopt other people’s strategies because they may not be best suited for you.

By initially taking the time to truly understand your unique abilities and opportunities, and then creating a thoughtful plan, you will save yourself much unnecessary churn and frustration.

Enjoy the process!


Ahad Raza

Founder of ARProformance,

M.A., CPT, Peak Performance Teacher.



  1. “The Confident Mind” by Dr. Nate Zinsser

Watch: Tactics To Win Matches - With Joel Makin

Through a series of strategically curated lessons, Joel delves into the nuances of crafting a winning game plan, tailoring tactics to your physical and technical strengths, and the art of reading and adapting to your opponent’s moves.

Watch Now