Like many racquet sports, Squash is often referred to or likened to as the game of chess.
Trick shots, varieties of patterns, shot selection, your opponent’s weaknesses and strengths all need to be taken into account, but there’s one shot that strikes fear into the heart of any opponent, and that’s the “boast.”
The ability to hit a great squash boast can quite literally be the difference in taking you from a good player to a great one.
Let’s take a look at the different types of boasts commonly used in the game of squash and how to implement them into your tactics and game strategy effectively.
What Is A Boast?
Ok, most of us know what a boast is, but it’s always good to recap fundamentals, and a short explanation may also help beginners who are reading this article.
Put simply, a boast shot makes contact with the sidewall before hitting the front wall; easy, right? Well, it’s not as easy as you might think, and considering there are several different types of boasts, it’ll take some practice.
Generally speaking, the boast is viewed as a defensive shot, but with a bit of practice, experience, and creativity, the boast shot can be taken from a defensive fundamental to an attacking weapon. Let’s not forget experimenting with new shots, and different patterns of play is a lot of fun.
Types Of Boast
As mentioned, numerous types of boast shots are commonly used when playing squash; let’s delve into some of the most popular ones.
The Skid Boast
The skid boast is hit with tremendous power from a slight angle up along the sidewall. Traditionally hit high, it creates a very comparable result to that of the “crosscourt float.” However, if played correctly, the skid boast can take your opponent by surprise, leaving them bamboozled. I’ve always wanted to use “bamboozled” in a sentence, and there it is!
When it comes to generating power for the skid boast, correct technique plays an integral part. Driving the legs and hips from the ground up and combining it with a relaxed grip is essential. The soft grip allows you to generate some “snap” in the racquet, creating speed and power.
The skid boast is at its most effective when the opponent is not expecting it, but the timing of “when” to play the skid boast, is tricky to teach. The best way to learn “when” to play the shot, is through continuous practice and match play; never ever be afraid to experiment with new shots.
Squash Boast Variations
As with any shot in most racquet sports, there are several variations generally brought on by practice and creativity.
The Conventional Boast
The conventional boast or the “traditional boast” is the most frequently used boast shot in squash.
Usually, this shot comes about after your opponent has hit a perfect length and you’re now positioned in the back forehand corner. When executing the conventional boast, you’ll be positioned very close to the corner of both the back walls. From this position, you will hit the ball off the sidewall.
The conventional boast also has a couple of variations.
- the two wall boast; hitting the side and front wall
- the three wall boast; Hitting both side and front walls
The Reverse Boast
The reverse boast just might be the most controversial shot in all of Squash. This is because it can be seen as quite dangerous to play, particularly for newcomers to the sport or juniors just starting.
As a matter of fact, I have heard of many coaches and clubs where they have banned the use of the reverse boast in competition play.
Essentially, an example of the reverse boast would be played like this:
- Your opponent has hit a nice ball, and you’re now positioned on the backhand side
- From there, you play the reverse boast and direct it toward the forehand sidewall
- It then strikes the front wall before finishing on the backhand side.
The key to playing this shot safely is understanding your opponent’s position and how close they are positioned to the T.
Final Words On The Squash Boast
So there you have it, several different types of boasts, how to play them and where to play them from.
A part of the game that is rarely talked about and highly underrated is learning “when” to play specific shots. Understanding the right time to play ceratin shots is what sets the great apart from the good. Ever watched a pro match? The reason they make so few mistakes is that their decision-making is world-class.
The boast is a very effective shot and can keep your opponent off-guard but be careful not to overuse it.
Get out on the practice court and do just that; practice, practice practice.