They get frustrated that their opponent doesn’t do what they feel they are supposed to do.
Players who have an unorthodox technique, or who play unorthodox patterns of shots rely on the surprise element. Their opponent might fail to read them very well, or it might be that because of a peculiarity of their swing, that they can play some very unusual shot from a particular position.
Moreover, you probably have never encountered a player like this before, so it might not be obvious what tactics to try to execute against them.
There are several things that you can do to counter these types of problem.
1. Stay calm and in control.
Let’s look at these points in a little more detail.
Stay calm and in control. Frustration will not help. You have a problem to solve here and you need all your focus to solve it. Prepare yourself in advance for the situations you know will be coming, so mentally it won’t be a surprise, and it then won’t throw you from your rhythm. Also, having what you perceive to be better technique is no guarantee whatsoever that you should win or even that you have the better squash game. A game that wins, no matter how bizarre looking, is always better than the one it beats!
Expect the unexpected. Unorthodox techniques mean that your opponent can do strange things! This unconventionality and the resulting unusual variety of their shots is their biggest strength, and if you tell yourself to expect something different, your are negating their advantage already. Wait a split second before committing yourself, and then their strange flick or wacky boast is less likely to catch you.
Find the flaw. There’s a reason why you have not met anyone playing this funny style before – because it has a weakness. Most players play a structured game plan, and people who have worked on their game will have a roughly conventional technique. This is because playing like this is usually beneficial to controlling the ball, therefore your opponent and consequently the match.
In not doing these commonly taught things, your unorthodox opponent will have problems somewhere with their game. You have to work out where this is and prey on it.
For example, a “dobber”. You know the one, plays pat-a-cake with the ball, patting volley drops constantly, usually straight off the serve, making them even more annoying.
What’s their weakness? Well to “dob” it in they have to get right behind the ball. Now they can’t hit a hard straight length, as they will be in the way (see the movement from backhand return of serve clip). So you can discount this as a threat and not cover this corner as intently.
Because they have got right in behind the ball, it will be more difficult to cover the cross court shots so a cross court drop or drive might pay dividends.
For another example let’s take a double hander. Very difficult to read as they can generate power from a really small swing. It’s not a good idea to put loose working shots into the front against these guys. Where is the flaw in their technique then? Well the obvious place is with their reach. This is why players are taught to use one hand rather than two. Again cross courts could pay dividends. Here is a less obvious area though. Up high. Really high. Try to picture a double hander, backhand or forehand, playing a good volley from above their head. It’s hard isn’t it? They really struggle above head height. Often they revert to a single handed shot, which is taking them out of their comfort zone.
So the way to look at it is that their unorthodox technique is their weakness and their ultimate downfall. It might not be obvious, but there will be an area where the unorthodox technique of an unconventional player lets them down. Otherwise we’d all play this way! Your challenge is to work out where the weakness lies. Take the above principle, and apply it to your awkward opponent. Work them out and life is now so much easier.
So as a reminder, stay calm, expect the unexpected and find the flaw and prey on it. Now your awkward opponent will be finding you the awkward one!