The Phenomenal Miguel Rodriguez – Control the ‘T’ Sports

Miguel: One of my favourite squash players of all time, says Alex Robertson

Control the ‘T’ Sports


‘The Colombian Cannonball’ AKA Miguel Ángel Rodriguez is a player I’ve wanted to write about for some time now. However, other topics and ideas have always gotten in the way… until now! I wanted to get this one written before the end of the professional squash season which is fast approaching, so, no time like the present.

Miguel is easily one of my favourite squash players of all time for a number of reasons, and, I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t watched or seen him play before to do so if they can.

This week, I’ll delve into the life and history of Rodriguez, I’ll also talk a bit about his career and squash journey, then, in the second half I’ll talk about his strengths and what makes him such an incredible squash player.

I’ll also finish off with a few predictions for Miguel’s future.



Miguel was born December 20, 1985, in Bogotá, Colombia, making him 38 years old. According to his Wiki page, Rodriguez was introduced to squash at just 2, which is absolutely crazy! His father, Ángel (who was a former professional squash player himself) was the first person to get Miguel on court as a child.

His home club while growing up was Club El Nogal in Bógota, and, while attending Calasanz for school, he also played football and table tennis.

Early in his junior career, he was already on track for greatness. Some early achievements include winning the US Junior Open and the Canadian Junior Open in Boys’ Under 19 for 2 years in a row (2003 and 2004). Aged 19, Rodríguez embarked on his professional squash career.

Of course, he performed incredibly well in Colombian tournaments, winning the Colombian Open on three occasions (2008, 2010, and 2014) and finishing runner-up in the competition in 2006 and again six years later in 2012.

According to his PSA profile, Rodriguez became the highest-ranked South American of all time in September 2013, exceeding Fernando Usandizaga and reaching World No.16. That very same year, Miguel also won the Bluenose Classic and achieved a bronze medal finish at the World Games in Cali. This momentum carried on to 2014 when he reached the semi-finals of the Canary Wharf Open, he won the Rancho Open title along with the Colombian Open in August.

But, his ascent up the rankings hadn’t stopped yet, in June 2015, the Colombian reached his highest ranking of all time, World No.4. Although this was some time back, despite a slight drop off towards the end of 2016 (which was perhaps due to injury, but I’m not sure), Miguel remained a strong contender in the top 10 for a number more years, and, up until today, he is still a very strong contender in the top 20!

Of course, Miguel has had a number of big wins, big results, and career-defining moments throughout his career so far, however, there’s one that stands out more than any of the others. In 2018, The Colombian Cannonball made history at the British Open, becoming the first man from South America to win a major PSA tour title.

He faced an incredibly in-form Mohamed ElShorbagy (from Egypt) who was also the reigning World No.1 at the time while Rodriguez was World No.14.

Anyway, Rodriguez won the first game 11-7, then ElShorbagy went on to win the next two 11-6 and 11-8. The Colombian took the fourth by storm 11-2 which took the match to the fifth. The fifth is an absolute monster game and Miguel manages to take it 11-9 after ElShorbagy very honestly calls his own shot down.

Now, Miguel is currently 170cm tall, weighs 72kg (according to the PSA website), and plays with his own custom model of the Tecnifibre ‘Cannonball’ Carboflex 125. Given his age of 38, you’d think he’d be perhaps winding down, moving a little slower, and starting to drop down the rankings, however, you’d be completely wrong!

Miguel is still a massive contender on the PSA World Tour, he pushes incredibly hard every single match and still takes scalps of top 5 players on occasion too. You can never ever count him out.

From a physical perspective, Miguel can still stand the test of time in tough five-setters against other top players. More importantly, he can then come back on for his next match the following day and do the same again! Then, from a mental perspective, he’s an absolute beast. You’ll never see Miguel give up, he fights for every single point regardless of the scoreline or situation. You’ll see constant smiles after crazy rallies, emotional speeches after big wins, and just great positive energy radiation from the Colombian.


As expected his PSA stats are pretty absurd. Miguel Rodriguez has 21 years on the PSA World Tour, played in 242 tournaments, played 570 matches (winning 356 of them), made 41 finals, and won a whopping 30 titles.

It’s pretty clear that he’s already established himself in the history books, however, what’s more immediately exciting to think about, is how far he can take himself right now. Just at the start of this year, he had a string of great results that brought his ranking back up to where it is now at World No.14.

It would be amazing to see him keep up this momentum towards the end of this season and bring it into the start of next season, but, only time will tell.

Anyway, the next question is, how is Miguel so good?

Let’s dive into Miguel’s style of play, his strength, and the reasons why I (and most other squash fans) absolutely love to watch him play…

Miguel’s Strengths : His Love for the Game

Now, I’m starting with this strength for a reason, and that’s because I actually think that Miguel’s love for the game is his biggest asset in squash.

I touched on this further up but I want to mention it again because I find that it’s players like Miguel who really inspire others too.

Of course, every professional squash player will have some level of love for the game as they’ve dedicated their life to the sport, however, Miguel’s obsession with the game just seems to obviously shine every single time he plays. It’s this strength that has allowed him to keep playing until this age, and, it’s this strength that makes him so threatening to his opponents.

If you play a lot of squash, you’ll know full well how much better you play when you’re relaxed and are enjoying the match as it happens. Well, I feel as though Miguel plays like this every single match now.

It could be argued that his age means that there is less pressure on him and expectancy on him to win (which then puts a little more pressure on his opponents), plus, since he enjoys playing so much, it will be very very tough for other players to grind him down mentally (which is a very common go-to strategy for pros).

This is also a strength that doesn’t necessarily need to be trained outside of the court, it’s just inbuilt and ongoing, meaning that it will last him right up until the last match he plays on the PSA World Tour, and that’s why I’ll continue to watch him play whenever I can!

Shot Selection

Having as much experience playing professional squash as Miguel does, you become an absolute master of reading the game and using every corner of the court to your own advantage.

Miguel’s shot selection is very interesting from this perspective because he’s very good at playing the right shot to move his opponent all over the court, however, it’s also very hard to predict what shot he’s going to play.

He doesn’t always build a rally with straight length after straight length, instead, what Miguel does incredibly well, is moving his opponent from corner to corner, front to back, not allowing them to get into a comfortable rhythm.

When he gets an opportunity to go short, attack, or hit a low mid-court kill shot, he will do just that.

The fact that he’s so tough to read also makes it very hard to predict whether he’s going to hit straight or cross-court, plus, he’s also an expert at throwing in tricky angles at the right time, such as trickle boasts, reverse boasts, and cross court holds.

To put it bluntly, Miguel’s squash IQ is incredibly high and he knows the right shot to play at the right time, even if it might be an unorthodox one!

Explosiveness, Speed, And Agility

I haven’t actually mentioned why they call him ‘The Colombian Cannonball’ yet, and, this strength is what Rodriguez is known best for… His explosive power, speed, and agility are absolutely astounding.

From a movement perspective, he’s regularly featured on some of the PSA’s best clips and rallies of all time due to his crazy ability to dive and retrieve shots that most other players couldn’t.

It can be argued that diving isn’t necessarily a sign of good movement in squash, however, I do dispute that somewhat.

I understand how, in some situations, being forced to dive means that you’ve taken an improper movement to the ball, however, most of the time when players of Rodriguez’s calibre are forced to dive, it’s either to reach a shot that they (and perhaps others) couldn’t have reached with a normal lunge or, they were sent the wrong way and it’s a last-ditch effort to get to the ball at all costs.

Needless to say, Miguel also has the uncanny ability to not only reach ridiculous balls using his dive, but, to also get back up, recover, and carry on the rally (at least until the ref stops it due to sweat being on the floor of the court). But, this explosivity doesn’t just refer to diving, Miguel’s movement in general is very very powerful and explosive.

He gets on the ball so fast and can take the ball so early, this allows him to take a lot of time away from his opponent and keep them scrambling and on the back foot during rallies. He stays very low to the ground when he moves fast and he shows exceptional levels of agility too. But, also briefly noting the hitting side of things, Miguel often cracks the ball with supreme power, making it very tough for his opponents to react or do anything with the ball in return.

When combined with the fact that he gets on the ball so fast, this makes him a very dangerous, explosive player to come up against in general!


Another strength that The Colombian Cannonball is renowned for is his creativity. Oftentimes, when he’s under significant pressure from his opponent and has to make quick decisions, this is where he shines and has the ability to turn the rally back around in his favour.

He throws in crazy shots and executes erratic movements that are incredibly unorthodox, but, that also work wonders for catching his opponent completely off-guard. Miguel is so unpredictable when under pressure since he has such a vast array of shots under his belt.

However, when he’s got time on the ball, this strength shines even more.

His deception is absolutely crazy and, since he likes to have fun while playing squash, you can be sure that every single match he plays will feature some sort of wacky, wild shot or movement that you’ve never seen before.

Rodriguez just seems to have this crazy squash brain that gets him out of sticky situations and keeps him in rallies he has no business being in! There are so many specific examples of this it’s hard to choose just one, however, one that happened quite recently really just sums up the ridiculous creativity of Miguel Rodriguez, and that was in a rally against Egypt’s Tarek Momen.

In this particular rally, Rodriguez is under some pressure and makes a very heavy split-lunge-type movement to reach one of Momen’s shots. Although he retrieves it, his shoe actually comes off during the rally. Rodriguez then picks his own shoe up and carries on playing the rally with only one shoe on!


“What do the rules say about playing with one shoe???” 😂 Even a wardrobe malfunction can’t stop @miguelsquash 👟 #squash #psaworldtour #miguelrodriguez

♬ original sound – SQUASHTV – SQUASHTV

Now, I believe the rules state that if a player drops something and leaves it on the court during the rally, it’s a stroke to the other player (or a let if there was interference involved), however, don’t hold me to this, but I think that if the object is picked back up, the rally can carry on.

Well, that’s what happened in this situation and Rodriguez actually goes on to win the rally while holding his shoe when Tarek gives away a stroke! Again, you see the sheer happiness on Rodriguez’s face after this rally, again showing just how much fun he has when he plays.

Mixing Up The Pace

Lastly, I just want to touch on Miguel’s ability to mix things up. Yes, he’s incredibly explosive and powerful, however, we all need the ability to reset rallies every now and again and Miguel is an expert at it.

The combination of his fast-paced, explosive playing style and his age doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand. Although Rodriguez’s fitness is still incredibly good, that style of play will take its toll on any player, regardless of their age. So, sometimes it’s important to be able to slow things down on command, find your feet, and get back into the swing of the rally.

Miguel’s lob and cross court lob in particular are two of his absolute specialties. He can play them on the volley, from the front, and from the back, giving him the perfect strength to give himself some time, recover physically, and even put his opponent on the back foot again.

Final Thoughts And Predictions…

You’ll notice that very few of those strengths above actually relate to shot accuracy, consistency, and patience (strengths that I’d say 99% of other professional squash players need to have in order to reach the top). This is what makes Miguel so interesting. His greatest threats to his opponents are his relentless spirit, explosive fitness, and creativity in shot-making.

By the way, that is absolutely not to say that he isn’t good at the core basics of squash such as length games, building rallies, and being patient. I just believe that these strengths above are what make him stand out above the rest. He plays a game style that nobody else plays, he loves doing it, and the crowd loves it too. It’s a win win win!

So, what are my predictions for Miguel Rodriguez’s future? This one is a little harder to answer.

I really never ever want to see him retire, and thankfully, I really don’t think that will be happening any time soon. Often, a player’s decision to retire is due to a drop in standard, bad positions in tournaments, losses against certain players they used to beat, injury, drop in ranking, or just the love for the game starting to fade.

Miguel hasn’t demonstrated or experienced any of those factors above.

If we look back at this season so far, he’s still playing at a very high standard, he’s beaten some of the biggest names in the game, he’s had some great tournament runs, his ranking has actually just gone up again, and there’s absolutely no doubt about his love for the sport.

Of course, I also hope that he doesn’t experience any kind of injury too, as that would be devastating for the Colombian.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, I would absolutely love to see Miguel make it back into the top 10. I think that this is definitely doable. Perhaps not before the end of the season, but definitely in the first half of next season.

I would also see him love to take a title or two, whether it’s a silver, gold, or platinum title, I just love to see Rodriguez winning events, and, I definitely think he’s got what it takes!

So, there you have my thoughts on Miguel Rodriguez, AKA The Colombian Cannonball. He’s easily one of my favourite players of all time and I’m so happy that we have the opportunity to carry on watching him play. I hope he plays for years to come, however, I know that his retirement has to come at some point.

It’s tough letting go of legends of the sport and there aren’t many players left on the PSA World Tour like Miguel who have played throughout the previous era of squash that featured players like Ramy Ashour and Amr Shabana.

We must treasure them while we can!