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Racket Waggle

Published: 19 Apr 2006 - 06:52 by missing_record1

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 12:38

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Does anybody here "waggle" the racket before hitting the ball? A "waggle" is when you shake the end of the racket a few times. The "waggle" is very popular in golf -- and I do it mostly to give my brain a better idea of exactly where the golf club head is -- but I find it very helpful in squash, too. I think it helps because rackets are so light now, and it is hard to "feel" exactly where the racket head is. A few waggles and your brain seems to lock onto the sweet spot. So I bring the racket back into position, then waggle it a few times before I begin my foreward stroke. A lot of the pros seem to do this, but I rarely see amateurs do it. Perhaps it is a technique that might help them? I know it seems to helps me!

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From BizarreCo - 02 May 2006 - 19:42

Try playing snooker and waggle the cue before you strike the cue-ball. It doesn't really work. Then again you don't need to fool anyone when playing snooker (or darts).


After first getting involved in this post I have started to develop my game slightly at the front of the court. I know that my opponents had difficulty reading where the ball was going before, so I decided to make it even harder by building in a "fudge" (see definitions in earlier post). Now I move quickly to the front following their boast or drop, I "fudge" a drop and play a lob/drive/kill/x-court/trickle boast. If you arrive in time and have your racket up and ready, then you can play anything if your positioning is right! Hopefully you've sold your opponent the drop well enough in order to play a winning shot from the earlier list! Currently the lob seems to be doing the most damage, and there's nothing more satisfying than having your opponent try to come to a complete stop and then rush back to retrieve the ball (if they can!)


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From rippa rit - 29 Apr 2006 - 09:34

Hey, the next time you go to throw a dart, "waggle" the dart first and see if you can then hit the bullseye?
I bet you throw it hard, but I bet it goes well off course?  Yeah.

Then to take it a bit further, try the rifle range, and see how many shots ya waste!!!

Gotta make my point or we could revolutionise the coaching styles of the 2000's through the squashgame forum.

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From pug505man - 28 Apr 2006 - 18:11

I waggle it sometimes when serving from the right box (ima lefty). dunno why I just do.

I used to tap the floor occasionally with the racket head before playing a shot (I was somewhat stupid as a junior).

I played a bloke on wednesday who had a waggle which, due to its epic proportions, I think deserves to be called aflailaggle n be added to the lexicon.

Ahhh the ole fudge eh...ima ima ima hit it there NO I WASNT HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH *evil grin*

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From rippa rit - 28 Apr 2006 - 07:54

BandCo - So, why did you stop at that?
We have tail-waggle, feet wriggle, shoulder nudge, shoe shuffle, elbow lift, leg tangle - well I am smiling while I am doing this big time ....I do forget names, but never forget the swing and movement of my opponents or students.

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From BizarreCo - 27 Apr 2006 - 23:46

Ah! So Evil_F, your "waggle" is definatley one that is used to better position the racket. Shall we start a dictionary like Rippa suggested?


  1. Waggle - Small movements designed to reposition the racket-head before contact with the ball. Mainly used to center the racket head into the correct position
  2. Fudge - Deliberate small movements of the racket-head, prior to the shot, designed to give a false tell to the opponent of where (or when) the shot will be played.
  3. Flash-Waggle - Large, more flamboyant racket-head movements, whose specific aim is create a "ghost-shot" to fool the opponent.
  4. Ziggle - The zig zag movement of a player to the ball in order to confuse the opponet as to the side the player intends to play that shot.
  5. Luggle - A shot designed as a drop, with the appropriate body position and footwork. The racket head is slow in swing, indicating that a drop is about to be played. Upon nearing the contact with the ball, the racket-head is flicked quickly in another direction to turn the drop shot into a sharp cross-court, a drive or a lob (direction dependant).
  6. Zuggle-wump with a cork-screw twist into a volley-boast - I have no idea what this shot is, but it sounded pretty awesome!



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From missing_record1 - 27 Apr 2006 - 23:26

B_Co, I think you are right -- my thoughts about the waggle did seem to evolve as the thread grew and I thought about the idea of the waggle more. Shabana and Willstrop have a much more subtle waggle than I suggested when I first started the thread (Gustav Detter is even wilder than I first desrcibed, though, as are some other waggles I've seen). I am still not sure either way whether the waggle serves to help the striker align the shot or confuse the opponent -- I think it may be a little of both. I played yesterday and paid very close attention to my strokes and when I waggled. I don't do it all the time -- almost never on volleys but usually on short balls where I am moving forward or when taking the ball off the back wall. It does seem to fool my opponent, especially at the front of the court, which I hadn't thought of before because my waggle is fairly subtle and I never intended it to look like a "ghost shot". But it also gives me great confidence on my shots, too. I feel like I know where the racket head is in relation to the ball. So it is doubly helpful for me.

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From rippa rit - 27 Apr 2006 - 18:25

Bolgy - Interesting comment - I thought Craig shook his racket giving the impression he was going to wack the daylights out of the ball.  So that could be deceptive too.
The waggle Chris Robbo had was more a "breaking of the wrist" movement which is quite different.
Looks like we have come up with some new lingo/jargon in this post.

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From Bolgy - 27 Apr 2006 - 12:54

Craig Rowland uses a "waggle" type movement as deception. Works pretty good, but hard to emulate

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From rippa rit - 27 Apr 2006 - 07:51

BizarreCo - just to keep this topic alive!.
I would have thought a "fudge" would be related to deception, and a "waggle" would be a flashy mannerism!
There was nothing deceptive about Chris Robbo's "waggle" of the racket, as it just meant you had to watch the racket a bit more closely maybe, and I thought "what the hell are you wasting your energy and time doing that for". Of course, when retrieving up the front there was little or no movement of the racket head as there was no time for this stuff.
Then, for those who do not watch the ball that closely, they would not have a clue anyway.

We might soon have our players looking like they are going to fly

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From BizarreCo - 27 Apr 2006 - 00:57

Hang on......... What Shabana and Willstrop use compared to what was described in the original post is a different thing! Shabana and Willstrop use a deliberate movement of the racket head designed to disguise their intentions to their opponent.

The original post describes the head movement used to manouver the racket head into the correct striking position. The post seems to have moved to start comparing a racket adjustment with a distraction technique.

The small head adjustment made by beginners ON SHORT SWING SHOTS e.g. drops / lobs is used to better position the racket for the forthcoming shot. Once you reach a level of automation in your swing, you cease to do this, as your racket will naturally be in the correct position to begin with.

The "waggle" that the last post talks about is a different thing. It is a tactic employed by better players to diguise their swing from players who use visual tells to work out the shot that is about to be played. They play a ghost shot (which can look like a waggle or a full swing depending on the player and the exageration). The aim of this is to fool the opponent into making the incorrect decision on the shot which is coming.


Does this explain why people seem to be arguing about different things? The first type should be coached out of a player as soon as possible, the second can be taught as a weapon for a more advanced player.

How confusing!


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From missing_record1 - 26 Apr 2006 - 12:06

I understandstand your points and don't necessarily disagree with you. But I guess the big question is whether the waggle is simply a bad habit or perhaps instead a trick that somehow provides a subtle advantage to the shot. I agree you should never teach this to a beginner -- they have enough to worry about as it is. But maybe it is a technique for the advanced player? Or maybe not. If I had the answers I wouldn't be here... d8^)

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From rippa rit - 26 Apr 2006 - 07:22

All mannerisms become habits and the more they are practised, the more difficult it is to get rid of them - and that also would apply to the "racket waggle". (Just think of some other awful habits your friends have, oops)
From a coaching perspective I would not recommend that wrist movement be taught.  Why?
Most new players have difficulty :
  • controlling the racket head at the best of times.
  • keeping the wrist firm.
  • developing  the swing, eg pronation/supination.
  • opening the racket face
  • controlling the height and speed of the hit
If there is no biomechanical reason for this, forget it.  People are copy-cats, whether it is a good or bad idea is never a consideration. 

Sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud.

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From missing_record1 - 26 Apr 2006 - 00:46

Some of squash's best shotmakers have an exaggerated waggle on pretty much every shot -- look at videos of Shabana and Willstrop. One of college squash's top players, Gustav Detter, also has an absurd waggle. So I don't think it has anything to do with level.

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From BizarreCo - 25 Apr 2006 - 23:39

I've been looking at how I swing recently, and I found that when I'm coaching, I have a small "waggle" before I play a feed at the front of the court. Nothing from the back and nothing in a match, but feeding at the front seems to bring out that little "waggle".


I actually find that it helps a beginner to copy this when they are first learning to perfect their swing. Small adjustments to get the racket-head in the correct position are fine to start, but move on as quickly as possible to a clean, stoked swing.


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From hamburglar - 24 Apr 2006 - 03:28

Everyone has their own technique. Some people stamp their foot as they're about to hit, others hold their wrist with their opposite hand. The waggle might help to maintain a loose grip since it's good to not grip the handle too firmly.

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From BizarreCo - 19 Apr 2006 - 18:43   -   Updated: 19 Apr 2006 - 18:45

It's interesting to hear you talk about Chris Robertson Rippa - He was the player I admired most as a child when I was starting out. Even though I live in England now (for the last 18 months), I'm from Wales and got the chance to meet him rather randomly in a bicycle repair shop (I was the mechanic!). He helped bring one of my other favourite player (David Evans) to near the top of the world ranking once upon a time.

This brings us back to the topic of the post - The "Wiggle-Waggle" phase before a shot. Some people do it by habit - this sort of dies out as you play a higher level game as quite simply you don't have the time to do it every shot and will make mistakes. Some people over-emphasise the "waggle" into a sequence of "ghost" shots to fool the opponent (Willstrop did it to Palmer in a recent match).


By far the most effective pre-shot sequence I've seen belongs to David Evans. It wasn't fancy. He didn't wobble or wiggle or waggle the racket. He just held it there in position to play the shot. And then he held it there some more. And more. And More!!! Finally hitting the ball with his opponent not knowing where on Earth it was going! When I was in university we did an experiment using a slow motion camera and David Evans. His swing was regarded at the time as being the most disguised in squash. He gives little to no signs before the strike to let his opponent know where he's going to hit the ball. I'm someone who picks up a lot off the visual ques of my opponents and someone who "Wiggles" the racket before a shot to get it in the right place is someone who is broadcasting to me how they like to play the shot. Once I see that I put them into awkward positions or hit the ball so it comes right back at them! In essence, against a better player, the "wiggle-waggle" will give away your shots and become a weakness in the long-run. Use it to get used to where your racket should be during a shot, but work to eliminate it by making less "wiggle" movements each time. That way when you will eventually be in a possition where you will be holding your racket still for a little while before the shot. You can use this to build disguise and keep your opponents guessing!


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From rippa rit - 19 Apr 2006 - 16:48   -   Updated: 19 Apr 2006 - 16:56

EF - well, your feelings about the waggle I guess do make some sense, and I am learning every day, but this is the first time your description has been explained to me in so many ways.  The golf waggle and wiggle allows plenty of time to eye things off, since it is a closed skill.
Once I did explain that if I was shooting a duck for dinner I would go hungry if I waggled the gun about or shuffled my feet.
Any arm movement whether it be a wiggle or looping action will create extra momentum, and on a cross court shot (since it does not require such accuracy) works fine when speed of execution is the main criteria.
However, when accuracy (tight down the wall or drop) is the main criteria in the execution any unnecessary movement can mess up the well defined target., including the finesse of the stroke.

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From missing_record1 - 19 Apr 2006 - 11:53

I think what also happens when you waggle is that your brain rehearses the shot you are about to hit -- each time you start a  waggle it is similar to starting the shot you are about to hit, so a few waggles is like split second practice before you actually hit the shot. Also, for whatever reason I seem to have a lot more power and deception when I waggle.

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From rippa rit - 19 Apr 2006 - 09:25

EF that is a really good explanation and I have never heard it verbalised in that way, but it does make sense.....not that I agree with it....but ..yes, it takes ages for players to know where their racket face is and at what angle.  An experiement is - Just close your eyes, take your racket, move it into various hitting positions, and see if you can guess the angle of the racket face?

Chris Robertson came back from the international circuit (ages ago of course that is since he is now t he National coach for Wales) and had this backhand wiggle/waggle happening and I said "Chris this has got to go" but he really took no notice and, I guess, only wiggled the racket when he had time to do so, and so long as it did not seem to detract from the shot,  I could live with that.

These things I guess are a bit like little mannerisms people have, and so long as they are not detrimental to the shots, and not preventing the execution of the correct shot at that time it is hard to dispute...

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Rita, Thanks for that info, those are both good demos.

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