Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2013) 12, 66 - 73

Research article
The Effect of Court Location and Available Time on the Tactical Shot Selection of Elite Squash Players
Goran Vučković1, , Nic James2, Mike Hughes2, Stafford Murray3, Goran Sporiš4, Janez Perš5
Author Information
1 Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2 London Sport Institute, Middlesex University, London, England
3 English Institute of Sport, Manchester, England
4 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
5 Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Goran Vučković
✉ Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Publish Date
Received: 01-06-2012
Accepted: 22-11-2012
Published (online): 01-03-2013
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No previous research in squash has considered the time between shots or the proximity of the ball to a wall, which are two important variables that influence shot outcomes. The aim of this paper was to analyse shot types to determine the extent to which they are played in different court areas and a more detailed analysis to determine whether the time available had an influence on the shot selected. Ten elite matches, contested by fifteen of the world’s top right handed squash players (age 27 ± 3.2, height 1.81 ± 0.06 m, weight 76.3 ± 3.7 kg), at the men’s World Team Championships were processed using the SAGIT/Squash tracking system with shot information manually added to the system. Results suggested that shot responses were dependent upon court location and the time between shots. When these factors were considered repeatable performance existed to the extent that one of two shots was typically played when there was limited time to play the shot (< 1.20s). For example, it was clear that when players did not have a lot of time to hit the ball (low time i.e. < 1.06s, and mid time i.e. 1.06 - 1.20s) in the front left corner close to the side wall, the crosscourt lob was used frequently (44.30% and 36.31% respectively) whereas when there was more time this shot was seldom used (13.64%). Consequently variant and invariant behaviour were shown to exist in elite squash although for the first time it was suggested that the availability of time to play a shot contributed to which of these behaviours was evident. This analysis could be extended by adopting a case study approach to see how individual differences in strategy and tactics affect shot selections.

Key words: Strategy, tactics, SAGIT, invariant behaviour.

           Key Points
  • Previous research has suggested that a playing strategy, elements decided in advance of the match, may be evident for elite players by examining court location and preceding shot type, however these parameters alone are unlikely to be sufficient predictors.
  • At present there is no known analysis in squash, or indeed in any of the racket sports, that has quantified the time available to respond to different shot types. An understanding of the time interval between shots and the movement characteristics of the player responding to different shots according to the court positions might facilitate a better understanding of the dynamics that determine shot selection.
  • Some elements of a general playing strategy were evident e.g. predominately hitting to the back left of the court, but tactical differences in shot selection were also evident on the basis of court location and time available to play a shot.
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