Squash is a game of technique, strategy, fitness and competitive desire. But above all it is a game of decisions. What shot to hit, where to take it from, what pace and what height. Making good decisions is easier when you play a weaker opponent. But as the opponent gets stronger, it can become tougher to make good decisions. And when the match is a league or tournament match it can be even tougher. And when you start to get worn down as the match progresses it can be even tougher.
I am in Charlottesville, VA right now at the US National Championships having won my 45+ quarterfinal match 11-5, 11–3, 11-5 against Sean Ryan – originally from South Africa but now residing in Portland, OR. Sean is a strong player and I knew in order to win I would have to keep him under constant pressure and deny him attacking opportunities. My question to myself was whether I would make good decisions under the pressure of a good player at the Nationals. So I didn’t pay attention to the score and instead just paid attention to making the right decision with each shot. For the most part I did. Two ill-advised backhand drops off the half-volley, and one backhand volley drop when I probably should have called a let. Other than that, I am pretty happy with my decision-making, even on the points I lost – he either hit a great shot or I hit the top of the tin while hitting the right shot.
I now play Ronn McMahahon, a strong player from Seattle. Ronn and I played last year in the semis and had a tough battle which I won in 3. In the quarters Ronn beat Craig Medvecky who I used to play in the juniors. He is back playing again and playing well.
This tournament has had some great matches – two particularly good matches were played last night in the professional draws – Todd Harrity defeated defending National Champ Julian Illingworth in 4 after an 18-16 2nd game, and Olivia Blatchford came back from 0-2 to defeat defending National Champ Sabrina Sohby.