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My serve really sucks

Published: 30 Mar 2006 - 04:01 by throary

Updated: 19 Apr 2006 - 09:32

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Hey all!

Last sunday when I was playing squash for the second time, I noticed that I had improved a bit since last month when I played for the first time. I didnt miss as many serves as I did my first time.

It seems like I dont think on where to place my serves on the front wall. I know that I put them to much to the corners. My most common serve is a serve that get very loose and slow and the bounce is in the middle of the server retrivers box... Thats not a hard serve to return, actually it feels like its a suicide haha. When I have tried the lob serve sometimes, it almost always hit over the outside line on the side wall... I must hit more straight on my serves or what do I do wrong ?

Also, on my serve returns I tend to do a cross, and that seems to be a weak return... Cause the ball comes straight to the server again, so he hardly have to move and do a shot that makes me run all over the place... I must try to do straight returns... Also... I cant get the ball down the back wall, my strokes are to loose, and I cant get the power to make it to the back wall... I have tried... Well well, maybe my stroke techniqe is wrong.

I think that I shall begin to play in a squash club soon, cause squash is my weakest sport of the 4 sports that belong to Racketlon (tabletennis,badminton,squash and tennis)

Greetings Daniel

raystrach - changed this post to squashinfo from squashforum 31/3/06squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


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From rippa rit - 19 Apr 2006 - 09:32

Well thought out reply.
We do have a wide audience on the forum and it is really good to have explanations that help all levels of play.
Nothing will replace experience, and just getting out there and having a go....give things a try.

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From BizarreCo - 18 Apr 2006 - 21:21   -   Updated: 18 Apr 2006 - 21:25

  • I guess when it comes to serving, it really is "Each to their own". I've used and seen players use lob serves, hard serves, backhanded serves, corkscrew serves as well as variations of those listed. Each service has its own strengths and weaknesses against different players
  1. Lob serves
    • Against a player who can volley well from overhead, a lob serve can cause you more harm than good. A lob serve is usually slow, giving the opponent time to get their positioning right for the volley, and the best lob serves against such a player need to be so tight and accurate that they become dangerously close to going out.
    • Against a player who is weak at volleying, a lob serve can be just the thing needed to cause them a lot of grief. As high and tight as you can get it, expect a very loose return to come back your way (if any return at all!)
  2. Hard Serves (smashes)
    • These become very useful against slower players, or players that are standing out of position. The serve should be aimed to hit the side wall as low as possible to cause the most discomfrot for the receiver. Alternatively, for someone standing too close to the side wall, a smash down the middle of the court can be the killer! It catches people a little unaware, but don't use it too often!
    • Against a good volleying, fast player, the smash tends to be a very bad choice. Remember that a hard shot can be hit back at you even harder, and by playing a hard, fast game, you give yourself less time to get into a good position (the T!).
  3. Backhand serves
    • My personal favourite (as you might have guessed from my earlier post), as this serve allows you to keep an eye on your opponent whilst serving, as well as giving you a headstart with getting into position after you strike the ball. The serve can be varied in height to become a smash or a lob serve (although with a smash it is very difficult to get enough power into the ball).
    • Downsides to the backhand serve is the technical nature of the shot. You have to have a strong backhand volley, with very good timing. Placement of the ball onto the front wall needs special attention, and a loose serve can be picked off by a vollier with reasonable easy.
  4. Corkscrew serves
    • This serve can cause absolute havoc to an unprepared opponent (for those that don't know, a corkscrew serve strikes the front wall, then the side wall OPPOSITE to the receiver, travels over the T and lands in the receiver's quarter). When executed correctly, the serve is at an awkward height and angle to receive as well as striking the receiver's sidewall and rebounding along the length of the backwall. This is definately for the advanced show-off's out there!
    • The down side to these serves comes in the form of a prepared opponent. By moving into a volley position on the return, and the loose nature (passing over the T) of the serve, a poorly hit or well returned corkscrew serve usually ends with the server under pressure from the return. One brief note to someone encountering such a serve - if the ball looks like it's about to strike the side wall, BEWARE of the spin! The ball usually comes out perpendicular to the wall!
  5. Variations
    • I guess it's the variation which make all of us unique in our match play. Serves are no different. We can vary the type, height, power and width of the serve to find a combination which best suits us (and least suits an opponent!). At a lower level, stick to your strengths under pressure, and only experiment during training or friendlies. The best options for service is a mixture of the first three listed, and ALWAYS try to have two or more variations on a serve. If someone returns one with ease, change to the second one!

Finally, remember that there is only one shot where we truly get to take our time - THE SERVE! Make sure you take the time you have to get your preparation (foot work, racket position, target area etc) right BEFORE you serve - not during your swing!



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From rippa rit - 18 Apr 2006 - 19:59

BiZ&Co - you sure got into that - but I have a few comments to add to your advice:
  •  it is possible to teach lower grade players a good lob serve, particularly since it is likely their opponents will not be good at overhead volleys.  That is provided they adhere to a few basic rules when serving, eg position of the feet, angle of the shoulders, height of the ball toss, and angle of the racket face.  I know of some lower grade players whose best shot is the lob serve, and they rely heavily on it in comp.
Talking about the Backhand serve from the forehand box for a righthanded player.  Whilst I did not actually disagree,  I do have some explanations.
  • 1. Yes, place the back foot in the service box, and lean towards the centre as far as you can, this then:-
    •  Decreases the angle of the rebound on the front wall (as the ball then travels  down the side wall).
    • To achieve this swing with the racket parallel to the side wall as much as possible
    • Make the target on the front wall about 1/2m from the side wall corner.
    • Means the rebound off the front wall more or less travels parallel to the side wall (so it is tight at least for about 2m before the receiver can strike the ball.
  • 2. The height or target on the front wall gives elevation (NOT POWER).
    •  The height gained by the open racket face coming under the ball that is tossed out of the hand, and struck before falling lower than the shoulders, assists the height.
  • 3. The soft lift given to the ball as it floats off the racket means the ball is losing power once it hits the front wall, and not gathering speed. If it is gathering speed it is hit too hard (the ball must float off the racket).
  • 4. It is difficult, without good ball control, to hit a hard backhand serve (if righthanded) from the forehand box.  And, if you cannot volley hard on the backhand side, it will surely fail.
  • 5. Only move into the centre of the court if the serve is
    • high
    • soft
    • tight
or you could get a cauliflower ear!  Keep watching the ball at all times, and travel depending on the accuracy, and be ready for takeoff.

Anything I have missed that might help?

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From BizarreCo - 18 Apr 2006 - 18:16   -   Updated: 18 Apr 2006 - 18:19

An interesting topic that comes up quite a lot with beginners AND improvers!

First an admission: My serves are usually awful!

It really frustrates the people I coach that I get away with such poor serving - but there is a secret to it! The trick at a beginner / improver level isn't to have a perfectly placed serve - you simply won't have the consistancy or accuracy yet. It takes years to build up to the level you'll need for advanced level play (conveniently, it takes years to get to advanced level play!).

Following what Rippa said in the first reply - The secret is in where to stand and the ball toss, with one addition - WHERE TO MOVE NEXT!

Most people find that serving on THEIR backhand side is easiest as you can see your opponent through the serve, and one step forward and you're practically standing on the T. The difficulty comes on the other side!

Start working on serving with a BACKHAND serve. This is a very tricky shot to master, but a relatively easy one to learn the basics on. If right-handed, keep your left foot in the service box (so not to foot-fault), step out towards the T with your right foot and toss the ball into the path of your racket. That might sound easy, but trust me - IT WILL NEED A LOT OF PRACTISE!

From there, strike the ball just over halfway across the court and just over halfway up the wall between the cut line and the out-of-court line (the height needs to change depending on your power!). Work on getting the power right to float the ball back to your opponents quarter. It won't matter so much if it's not a great serve as you're already on the T and covering most attacking shots a beginner/improver opponent can do!

This was a really quick win for me when I found my opponents were killing the ball from my serve before I could even get to the T! So a summary:

On your BACKHAND side, serve with a FOREHAND serve.

On your FOREHAND side, serve with a BACKHAND serve.

Leave your BACK FOOT in the service box and step out towards the T with your front foot.

Aim to get the ball to hit just over halfway ACROSS the front wall as this will make the ball hit the sidewall around where your opponent will be standing.

Change your height appropriate to your power of serve - A hard serve needs to be hit lower (so as not to go out or come off the back wall), and a soft serve needs to be hit higher to float into the back corner.

After striking the ball, bring your BACK FOOT through towards the T. Get your racket up and get ready to pounce on that return of serve!


I hope this helps a little!




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From rippa rit - 05 Apr 2006 - 21:46   -   Updated: 05 Apr 2006 - 21:48

Yep all racket sports are good but each one does muck the other one up a bit and it always takes a bit of time to readjust when changing from one to the other.
When I really wanted to specialise, when I was in my heyday that is, I gave up all other racket sports as it is hard to combine the lot successfully.
Ask me now though, and who cares it is just for fun, and win or lose is not the criteria.
It might pay to just concentrate on one at a time, and then when you are happy, start doing the lot.
Just an idea.
P.S The same bio-mechanical principles do apply to all of the racket sports though, eg control the head of the racket, club, balance, targets, etc.

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From throary - 05 Apr 2006 - 08:19

Ok thx for the help, I dont know when to play next time, but the next racketlon tournament will be on the 30 of april. I have begun to play some badminton now to :)

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From JJSOOTY - 02 Apr 2006 - 02:13

When you are used to playing racquet sports it can be difficult to get used to new one.  Before I started playing squash I played a lot of badminton.  Whilst this did give me good hand eye coordination and quick reflexes needed for squash, it also meant that it took me a long time to get the technique right.  I had a tendency to flick my wrist a lot to get the ball up etc, which lost me a lot of power and control.  You've just got to stick at it and practice (watching other players helps).  You'll find the more you play the more control and power you'll get.  There's no quick way to get it right, just enjoy yourself!

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From raystrach - 01 Apr 2006 - 11:15   -   Updated: 01 Apr 2006 - 11:22

hi daniel

keep your chin up!!

when you start out it is difficult to control the ball - squash is a pretty technical game. just keep at and try to follow the infomation on the website.

also d some searches on the topics you are interested in  (eg: serve) - there are heaps of forum posts on heaps of topics.

get back to us and let us know how you are going.

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From rippa rit - 30 Mar 2006 - 07:16   -   Updated: 30 Mar 2006 - 07:18

Daniel before going to the courts next time take a look at our Serve ane Return link as it gives keypoints and covers all of the aspects you mention in your post..

  • Pick out the basics like,

    • where to stand,

    • where to aim on the front wall,

    • the ball toss

  • Maybe have a little practice by yourself to try it out before you play.

  • Once you have done that give us some more feedback.

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