Playing Squash Over 40 – 23 Tips For Older Players


When you get older as a squash player, you will find your game naturally adapting. The classical style of playing tight and long, and keeping rallies going may not be your best bet anymore. It will be time to find different ways to defeat younger opponents.

So what are the best squash tips for older players? In squash older players often do well when they attack. Look for all opportunities to play kills, drops and boasts. Vary your shots as much as possible, and pounce on anything that is not tight. Look after yourself as well by warming up well, and preserving energy throughout a match.

Want to find out the full and definitive list of 23 squash tips for older players. Then read on…

1. Warm Up Well

Go through the gears during the warm-up. Take your time to start with and play well within your limits.

As you feel yourself loosening up you can hit the ball a little harder, or stretch and move a little more.

In general, lighter squash movements are the best way to warm up. A litttle simple jogging could be good option as well.

In general, many physios do not reccomend stretching before a game, as this can slightly pull or tear muscles.

2. Play a Light Game Before Your Match

Playing one game in a reasonably relaxed fashion with someone else, before going full throttle into a match can work wonders.

This really warms up all the body using all the movements you will be making in squash, but in a more relaxed and subtle way.

3. Be Attacking

When you get older being conservative in squash always work very well.

You don’t want to prolong games; you want to end them quicker. You don’t want long rallies; you want quick kills and a rapid turnaround of points.

The way to achieve this is to go on the offensive!

Look for every opportunity to pounce on your opponent’s loose shots.

4. Break The Squash Rules

The conventional squash ideas that you learn growing up apply less as you get old.

Playing straight, prolonging rallies, and using percentage shots at all times works less well when you are not as fit and moblie as you once were.

It is time to break those squash rules and find new ways to seize the advantange and play to your strengths.

5. Volley Whenever Possible

This is one of the best ways of keeping rallies short. Anything that is not tight to the wall is a target.

You can often use your experience to anticipate, especially if playing someone that always plays straight back down the wall.

Hit different kinds of volleys, mixing up drops, kills, boasts, drives and lobs.

6. Vary Serves

If you have played for numerous years you will doubtless have developed several tricky serves. Use them to your advantage.

7. Use Lob Serves

These are undoubtedly the serves that most younger players and beginners find the hardest to get back. The higher and loopier the better.

Lob serves also have the advantage of giving you extra time to get back to the T. Also, most of the time you know the return is going to be back down the line and so you can be ready for that.

Anything loose and you can volley drop and kill.

8. You May Not Always Need To Return To The T

With age you often learn to read the game better. You will realise that it is not always necessary to reurn to the T in between shots, especially if your opponent doens’t have much variety or surpise in their game.

If they always straight drive your boasts back down the line then get ready for that. If they counter drop shots with a drop shot themselves, then stay poised for that.

Gaining that extra couple of yards around the court gives you more time, and helps to preserve energy.

9. Use Your Racket Skills

You’ll have years and years of muscle memory in the tank, and now all those silky squash racket skills can be exploited.

Keep working on those cute dinks and deflections and keep your younger opponents sprinting around the court after them.

10. Don’t Straight Drive From The Front

When you get balls at the front to put away, it is not always wise to play a straight drive. Despite being a good percentage shot, this normally gives your opponent the chance to prolong the rally.

Instead, aim to play winners. Leethal drops, boasts and low kills aimed to hit the nick of the sidewall are the way to go.

11. Anticipate

You may encounter some situation were guessing is quite simply the best way. For example, if your opponet has a loose ball at the front and is about to kill it in one of two ways, it may be worth taking a punt and moving towards the more likely option.

To just wait on the T may mean you don’t have time to react to either option, and just loose the point in quite a passive way. Best to at least chance your arm and have a go.

12. Use A Range Of Drops

An older player’s drop shots are often his key weapon. Use the full repetoire.

If you are really trying to avoid prolonged rallies with your opponent, then drops from the back of the court may sometimes be an option.

Keep your opponent guessing allthe time, and don’t let them settle into a rhythm.

13. Apply Pressure

With age usually omes a greater ability to handle pressure. You have seen it all before, and you know your strengths and weaknesses when push comes to shove in the key points.

Keep the pressure on. Even if you are about to lose a game by quite a margin, keep applying pressure. By having a mini-comeback of a few points, you will do psychological damage even if you lose the game in the end.

If you find a weakness somewhere in your opponent’s game then go for the jugular.

14. Get In Front Of Them And Stay There

Make your presence know. If you play a drop shot, make sure they need to move around you to get to the ball.

Hit the ball to where your opponent is not, so you can stay well out of their way and maintain good positions in the middle of the court.

15. Win The Mental Game

Stay focussed on your own game.

Take every ball at a time, and try to stay in the moment.

16. Take Your Time

Preserving energy and stamin levels is crucial.

Take every opportunity to slow the game down. Take your time before receiving serves, and bounce the ball plenty of times in betweeen points on your serve.

Manage sweat by wiping your hand on the wall, and generally be calm, unflustered and relaxed about the pace of the game.

17. Variety

This is a big one to stop rallies lasting too long.

You want to avoid anything that is predictable, or patterns of play that are repeating. Anything like this that helps your opponent get into a rhythm and draw out rallies is a big no-no.

The main things to vary are:

  • Pace – hit shots of varying speeds and different heights
  • Mix crosscourts with down the line shots
  • Play straight drops as well as boasts and cross-court drops
  • Mix up your return of serves

18. Take The Full Time In Between Games

You are normally allowed two minutes in between games in a squash match, so utilise every moment of it!

Drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration.

Go a to a cooler place if you can, such as a corridor, a changing room or outside. This will help to reduce your body temperature and feel refreshing.

19. Hit Good Areas

Try not to come foul of too many drops and kills yourself.

Drop shots are harder to retrieve as you get older, and keeping the ball tight is the best way of avoiding this.

20. Win Lots Of Strokes And Lets

Younger players often hit with more power but in a wayward way. Capitalise on this.

Use your skill in reading the game to move to the right position to force a stroke. This is a good way of keeping the length of rallies to a minimum.

21. Eat Well Before Games

You want to eat at least two hours before a game.

This will help you digest the food to an optimum level, but also give you the required boost of energy thoughout the game.

Eating too long before a game can cause dizziness and faintness. Eating too close to a game can make you feel bloated, and cause heartburn and a feeling of lethargy.

22. Don’t Go For Any Unneccessary Attempts

You know what you can retrieve and what you can’t.

Be sensible. There is no point wasting energy on lost causes.

For younger players I would recomment going for every single ball because that is a great mindset to get into. But that is definitely not the case for older players. Preserve energy for later.

23. Turn The Heating Down

You may not be in control of this, but if you are then this is something to consider.

Some older players actually like the heating to be turned up. They like the bouncier ball so they have more time to play their shots.

However, many old players like the opposite. Turn that heating down and keep rallies as short and sharp as possible.

Related Questions

How do you play against an older player in squash? 

When playing against older players in squash, try to keep the ball tight and away from the centre of the court. Many older players look for any chance to shorten a rally with drops, kills and boasts, so playing accurate shots is key. Counter with drops and boasts of your own.

How do you return a good lob serve? 

To return a good lob serve in squash, keep your racket high as you prepare to play the shot. Have your shoulders facing the sidewall. Aim to push the ball back down the line, getting it to strike the front wall high up and bounce back towards the back of the court.

What age can you still play squash to? 

There is no age limit for playing squash, and there are many skillful players in club sqush that are in their sixties, seventies, and even very occasionally their eighties. As squash relies on accuracy more than power, it is a game that is well adapted to longevity.

Martin Williams

Martin is the founder of Sports Centaur. An avid player and fan of many sports, he is passionate about encouraging enthusiasts of all ages to get the most out of their sports of choice. You can find out more about Martin at https://sportscentaur.com/about-martin-williams/

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