How to Beat an Old Man at Squash

You are a young, fit squash player and you come across an opponent who looks to be older than 60 and about to croak. You have probably been building a solid, controlled squash game. Your game probably emphasizes pressure shots that move your opponent around the court when you are in good position and emphasizes higher, softer shots when you're in bad position when you're under pressure so that you have more time to get back in good position. These habits are all good things.

But if there's and older gentleman who is apparently at your skill level you need to ignore all of those carefully learned tactics. This older gentleman is not playing at your skill level because he's super fit. He's playing at your skill level because he can probably put that darned ball exactly where he wants to with accuracy that borders on the silly. He will hit soft shots as much as he can, slowing the game down so your vastly superior fitness doesn't really matter. While this may sound mean, overpower the old fart.

You don't have to worry as much about accuracy anymore at this point, because he will beat you at a game that relies on accuracy. Odds are he's been playing and practicing those shots for longer than you've been alive. Make the sucker run, and run hard. Beat the squash ball around the court. Punish the little black orb with serious pace again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. He will respond by trying to take the speed off the ball with lobs and drops. Run them down and power it down the wall or cross-court. Make the game a fitness contest. You'll lose a racket skills context, but you can win a fitness contest.

If you don't know all this before your match and are only told it afterwards by a pro that was observing your defeat, here's what you do: Realize that the tournament you were playing in is at a luxurious private club. For at least an hour after your match make extensive use of the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, bountiful bath products, and plush leather chairs in the locker room.


squishsquasher said...

While I was reading, I was anticipating leaving the comment "Ben, you are so mean!"... until I read the last paragraph and learned that you didn't beat the old man into the ground. Ben! Be meaner next time!! :-P

oldracquetballer said...

Racquetball hint: If you are old and playing a young jock, here is the easiest way to win. Start out hitting the ball as hard as you can. You will lose the points because the jock is young and healthy and will make many kills. but after a half dozen of these the jock can no longer hold back. then distribute the ball around the court with soft touches. up front drops, soft passes down the sides that do not rebound, especially the soft touches that drop in the front corners when hitting from behind the jock. When finished and the jock is panting, be sure to let him know it must have just been your lucky day. And recommend the spa for recovery :)

Mike Machenry said...

This post is pretty much the same as my pick-pocketing-an-old-man strategy. I can't agree more than forcing the running game is key.

Ben said...

Mike, this is how you got your "sketchy mike" nickname.

Also: I lol'd.