johnnie-O has teamed up with the SDA pro tour! johnnie-O joins the SDA in its sixth season. Established in 2012 as the successor to the International Squash Doubles Association, the SDA Pro Tour has more than 100 members representing eighteen countries and supports a schedule of more than twenty events across the United States, Canada and Mexico with an aggregate purse of more than $500,000.
More than twenty million people worldwide play it, and Forbes has rated it the healthiest sport. You greyhound around a four-walled court to retrieve a ball caroming at a hundred miles an hour and send your opponent on the longest possible journey in return, then lunge into the far corner, where he’s sent your shot, and so on—and on, and on, and on, for an hour or more. It looks like tennis at triple speed, and feels like a hallucinatory whirlwind of action and reaction. The game, above a certain level of skill, is played at a lunatic extremity of effort.
The game began in 1865, at Harrow School, in London, and proliferated throughout the British Empire, acquiring a mad-dogs-and-Englishmen burnish as it spread. (There was a court aboard the Titanic.) It’s been played it on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka and in the bowels of an old hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Most of the world’s best players still hail from Britain or its former colonies: where once the Pakistanis held sway, now the Egyptians do.
But when you are ready to dive into the world of competitive doubles squash here is a little background on the game that will save you any frustrations.
- The most important and critical decision in playing winning doubles is to pick a good partner and to practice with him or her regularly so you know what they do under pressure and what shots they like to hit, so you can position yourself accordingly for the opponents' counter-shot.
- There are four corners in the court and only two people on a team. The simple goal is to split the team on the diagonal and hit to one of the open quadrants.
- Always hit deep before you shoot short.
4a. Attack cross-court to open up the court.
4b. Move laterally on the red line, not in a box step, when rotating with your opponent so you don't get blocked out.
- Center your attack on the weaker player on the team and be relentless.
Serve and Return
- There are four different attacking serves. Practice all four serves before the match to get a feel for the temperature of the court and how high on the front wall you must hit the ball:
- a) Lob to corner
- b) Crisscross serve for a sharp angle
- c) Chip serve to the side wall looking for a nick
- d) Hard serve straight to the back-wall nick.
- To return serve, stand one step's reach to the sidewall.
- Volley all service returns.
- Rotate the back shoulder to opposite diagonal on cross-court returns of serve to assure good width.
Preparation, Warm-up and Communication
- Beforehand, do active stretching, speed volleys, and practice serves.
- Talk with your partner. Decide what each of you will hit when covering for each other—usually a high lob down the rail.
- Always have a plan.
- Move on the court in sympathy with your partner. Always follow your opponent to the front wall and stay positioned on their outside hip because there you can cover more of their shot choices.
- Always roll corner when the opposition hits a three-wall.
…and oh yeah… DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!
SDA players and patrons can be seen sporting johnnie-O gear this season. Items from johnnie-O’s SDA Pro Tour collection can be viewed and purchased here.