Game Strategy Used by the World’s Top Female Squash Players in International Competition - A Notational Analysis

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Youlian HongDepartment of Sports Science and Physical Education The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, Hong Kong

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Paul D. RobinsonDepartment of Sports Science and Physical Education The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, Hong Kong

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Wan Ka ChanDepartment of Sports Science and Physical Education The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, Hong Kong

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The purpose of this paper was to profile game strategy used by world’s top female squash players in international competitions using postevent notational analysis methods. A total of 10 matches from the Ladies Hong Kong Open 1993 and 1994 were selected for analysis. A total of 15 right-handed competitors, who were ranked in the top 15 in the world at that time, were involved in the matches. Matches were played under the International scoring system. A 3-CDD video camera, positioned behind the court, was used to record the player’s performance throughout the matches. Frame-by-frame video notation was used to record the player, the kind of stroke, the position where the stroke was made, and the success or failure of that stroke. Shots were classified as “effective”, “ineffective”, “winning” and “losing” shots. Statistics show that the mean number of games per match was 4, rallies per game was 13.57 and shots per rally was 12.44. Of all the shots, 57.13% were “effective”, 31.36% were “ineffective”, 6.24% were “winning” and 5.27% were “losing” shots. Over half (62.01%) of all shots played were the drive, followed by drop (18.20%), volley (11.23%), boast (5.06%) and lob (3.50%). Of all shots played, 43.81% were in the back left court, 32.66% in the back right court, 13.04% in the front left court, and 10.49% in the front right court, showing that these right-handed players preferred to attack the backhand of the opponent. The drive (45.9%) was found to provide the greatest contribution shots to winning scores, with the next greatest being the drop (27.9%), then the volley (20.2), the boast (5.6%) and, finally, the lob (0.5%). Almost an equal number of cross-court shots and straight shots were played. In an average game, the winner played 50% more winning shots than the losing player, showing that in high level competition of female squash, the attacking shots, which produce the most winning scores, are required for success.

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