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Trick shots

Published: 19 Jan 2007 - 09:13 by rippa rit

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:16

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Just want to open up some discussion on this to see if I have missed anything!

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From SuperSage666 - 06 Feb 2007 - 20:29   -   Updated: 06 Feb 2007 - 21:16

Only 2 true, Steve

The differences between us mere mortals and the squash gods can seem infinite in proportion. 

Though the differences between what we call a "State 4" player and the club champion of a small country club can seem in similar proportion.   I had a bit of fun at a small country club of only 2 immaculate courts, probably the best courts I have played on for a long time, both glass backed with nice solid brick walls.  Loved those courts.  

I turned up my work gear (no squash equipment) with my sister-in-law who now works as a cleaner in the sport centre where these courts are.   I was desperate to see how the courts played so I borrowed an old corner racket (alluminium one with a squared off head) and took my black soled shoes off to play bare-footed.  I had long pants and my work shirt on, so I looked a little strange, that amused my nieces and their friends.  

Anyway, the court played perfect, but the local stars decided to have a go at me.  So I had fun making them scramble around like mad rabbits.  Their wives thought it was a huge laugh to see somebody toying with their husbands and running them ragged.  One wife approached me after the games and said that she's never seen anybody make her husband sweat like I did and he wasn't happy that I made it look so easy.   As we were playing and after the third time I shot the ball back past him when he moved his bodyweight the wrong way, he said: "You just wait for me to move before you hit the ball, don't you?"  I just answered with a "Yep!" 

It was fun having felt a bit like Jansher Khan probably did when he used to take on all the local pennant players in the centre where he was practicing.     I finished the night with a court full of kids (nieces and friends) all taking turns with me as well. But my feet are regretting it, since I've lost nearly all the skin off the soles of my feet.   OUCH!!!   Now my sister-in-law (wife of the brother who got me started in this great sport) tells me that these blokes want me to go back and coach them.  It's a long way for me to go to coach, but the courts are great, so I might go back for the odd hit.



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From stevo - 06 Feb 2007 - 18:25


I probably have been watching the same matches but haven't really gone into them in the same depth as you. The ones I have are from 2001 onwards and I think I have 5 matches between Power and Nicol, one of them on DVD.

In light of your comments I stuck the DVD in and watched half a game, slowing it down when it looked like Power was being wrong footed. I would agree that sometimes Power goes early as I saw his weight shift a couple of times. I'd probably need to watch a few of my old video tapes to see if this is a consistent practice or just perhaps because of Powers physical condition.

I've heard a few interesting comments about Power during match commentary and post match analysis. First, Nicol is on record as saying that no-one plays at the same pace as Power. The game is so much quicker when playing him. Also I heard Nicol say that it is JP's first step that is the key to his pace, perhaps this is due to his moving on the early signs. Also, with regard to his deception, I heard match commentary from a pro (can't recall who) saying that it is really hard to tell from the TV how deceptive Power is. I guess that is probably true of all top players.

Its an interesting subject, but I guess whether these guys move on early signs or wait, they are phenomonally quick and have speed us mere mortals can only dream about.


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From stevo - 06 Feb 2007 - 13:32

"So we are saying that if we trick our opponent that is a trick shot?  Sounds like it.
Maybe the ones I thought were tricky were in fact unorthodox, so maybe I am off beat.
No big deal."

No, I think trick shots are as jbs says. I think the conversation just digressed slightly.

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From hamburglar - 06 Feb 2007 - 09:51   -   Updated: 06 Feb 2007 - 09:51

No, trick shots are the unorthodox shots that one would not normally hit in a match. Pros usually save them for exhibition matches. Stuff like double-pump fakes, between the legs, behind the back, corkscrews, 4-wall boasts, etc.

I saw a Kneipp-Wilstrop exhibition match online, and it was awesome. Wish i had it in high quality.

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From rippa rit - 06 Feb 2007 - 07:06

So we are saying that if we trick our opponent that is a trick shot?  Sounds like it.
Maybe the ones I thought were tricky were in fact unorthodox, so maybe I am off beat.
No big deal.

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From SuperSage666 - 05 Feb 2007 - 22:28   -   Updated: 05 Feb 2007 - 22:54

Hi Stevep,

Maybe we were watching different matches, but the ones my mate recorded off pay-tv here had Power wrong footed quite a lot with shots like I seen where Nicol would shape up to play a cross court volley and with a twist of the head, straighten it up down the wall.   It looked to us as if Power had a reach advantage as he would cover the court with less steps than Nicol, so we discounted some of the shots that he made it to as just being lucky in having that extra reach.  Just like my playing partner has a reach advantage that makes it harder for me to move him around the court.  Though, when analysing such footage, especially some taken from the side of the court, it is extremely hard to judge sideways movement of the players and ball, we could only work on shots taken from above and behind.  Though in these matches, I remember in one of the videotaped matches that I saw very few hold or trick shots from Power, as I expected more from him with his reputation, I remember being a little disapointed about that so he may have not been fit enough to get onto the ball early at the time. 

I cannot say our perceptions of the few matches we looked at are totally correct, as there could have been other factors that we did not know about, like Power may have not been moving well through injury or tiredness, same as Nicol may have just been fired up and "In The Zone" at the time, like Roger Federer was at the "Australian Open" tennis championship.     

I wish we had kept a copy of those tapes so I could review them again in light of your post, but sadly, those old matches were taped over years ago.   I can only go on what notes we made at the time.   I have been looking for any squash video archives on the net, but they all cost money to download, which I have been banned from doing, since my last purchase of coaching books and CDs cost much more than I calculated.

Fill us in on your ideas Stevep,



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From stevo - 04 Feb 2007 - 23:08   -   Updated: 05 Feb 2007 - 14:03

"Peter followed the ball and would get to nearly all of Jonathan's shots, where Jonathan moved off early cues and Peter was able to deceive him quite easily."

Have you got this the wrong way round! I have seen plenty of matches between Power and Nicol (admitedly TV highights packages) and I have very rarely seen Nicol send Power the wrong way. Power sent Nicol the wrong way more frequently with his flicks and holds.

Anyone else think like me or have I got it wrong?

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From SuperSage666 - 04 Feb 2007 - 18:40   -   Updated: 04 Feb 2007 - 18:44

Yep, Adam  That's the one.

It makes it to the other side rear corner, because of the side spin it gets off skidding up the wall.  I get it to work occasionally, but my regular playing partner can do it perfectly, every time he tries it.

I think he has spent a lot more time doing solo training on the court than I as his shot placement in any shot is just so tight and precise, though I can beat him, because I move with the ball off his racket and get to the majority of his shots, even those.  But he moves off my early cues (like height of my racket in preparation) and leaves me with an easy deception.

I hope he doesn't read this, because I've never told him my secret to success against him. If he moved with the ball off my racket and got to my deceptive shots.  I would have absolutely no weapon left.  With his shot accuracy and higher fitness level, I wouldn't get a point off him. 

It's exactly the same as the differences we picked up in the styles of Peter Nicol and Jonathan Power, where Peter dominated in most of their matches.   Peter followed the ball and would get to nearly all of Jonathan's shots, where Jonathan moved off early cues and Peter was able to deceive him quite easily.  This was what we picked up from analysing much footage of their matches.  If Jonathan followed the ball more, he would have dominated more of their matches with his better shot playing skills.  Then it would have been their differences in fitness that would likely be the deciding factor. 

Luckily, he doesn't know my nick in this forum. 

Enjoy, Sagey.

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From adam_pberes - 01 Feb 2007 - 17:25

What is a skid boast? Is That where you look like your going to do a boast, but then you make your angle to the side wall narrower, and hit it hard so it goes high, into the back corner? Heard of this term heaps but never really though of what it was...

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From SuperSage666 - 23 Jan 2007 - 22:03

I think the term trick shots are just shots that trick your opponent, thus deception plays a part in it.

The classic "Fancy Shots" that some people call trick shots, often don't trick your opponent and can be disasterous if used in a match.   The only classic fancy shots that I've ever seen used effectively in a very high level match are:  The Skid Boast,  The Cross-Court Rear Wall Boast (the spin makes it slide down the side wall), The High Cross court lob into the opposite back corner from a tight back corner shot (very hard to do), Three Wall Boast, The Volley Boast into the Nick and the Trickle Boast (some refer to it as a tickle boast) that Jahangir Khan would assassinate many an opponent with.  But the classic fancy shot that I am against teaching as a usefull shot is the "Corkscrew". 

In the 1970s Corkscrew shots (service or rally) and those who could play them well (making the side wall near the back of the court and having it spin directly across the court) were held in very high regard.  But, even then  I have never seen corkscrews used effectively at any higher level than club squash and even then it is often a suicide shot for those that attempt them. Especially on a slow court with slow balls.    I have only ever seen one player (who plays them consistently well on normal courts)  try it on a glass court and it wouldn't make it far enough into the back of the court to be effective, his opponent just cracked it into the nick for  a winner while just standing on the "T"   The corkscrew is only effective from the front of the court as a deception tool on a fast court.   You go in as if you are going to boast it short and as your opponent moves to the front of the court, you change the angle of your stroke slightly so it hits high onto the front wall, just inside the side wall.  This becomes the equivalent of doing a high cross court lob, But I find it less effective than that and prefer to angle around a little more and do a high straight lob instead.  

Simply because the extra wall (namely the side wall) slows the ball down and on a very slow court it often lands just behind the short line, so a fit player can soon turn around and make it back in time to volley the corkscrew and put the rally into their control.

So I regard the corkscrew as a novelty shot only, no good for use against any high level opponent, but very effective against players who paddle their volleys (often tennis players who play squash in the winter do this) as the spin on the ball often shoots it sideways off their racket and onto the floor.   But good players swing through their volleys, which kills this spin and puts their own spin on the ball.

The other problem I found with playing these fancy shots (as I had worshipped them used to use them too much as a country hack) is that they are often easy to pick up for an opponent who moves with the ball from the racket,  they are onto these shots long before they reach the front wall and would punnish me for attempting them.  Now I rarely play these shots and mainly keep my shots tight, but occasionally I will attempt a Trickle Boast, Skid Boast or a Volley Boast into the nick.  These three are the most effective trick shots that are utilized at the very highest levels in our sport, as they have proved to be extremely effective if played at the right time.  I once watched Carol Owens (world number 25 at that time) beat Sarah Fitz-Gerald (World number 1)  three times in a row with the Skid Boast, Carol started her swing as if she was going for a normal boast and Sarah was moving forward quickly (as carol's boasts were very fast), to which Carol dropped her racket quickly and hit a high skid boast that lobbed into the opposite back corner, catching Sarah going the wrong direction and though Sarah corrected herself, she couldn't get back quick enough to make a return.  She did this two more times and Sarah then started hanging back a bit when Carol was in the same situation.  Carol won that match.




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From Adz - 23 Jan 2007 - 20:36

If you look closely he's using the latest Dunlop Folding racquet, especially designed to get to those really tight shots. He's just demonstrating it for the crowd - Honest!


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From drop-shot - 21 Jan 2007 - 20:39   -   Updated: 22 Jan 2007 - 08:26
was it tricky from Boswell? Dunlop won't be happy...

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From SamBWFC - 19 Jan 2007 - 23:31   -   Updated: 19 Jan 2007 - 23:32

Trick shots hmm... is this not deception?


I don't really do much as I like to stick to basics as much as possible, but one I play at times is I go up to the ball as if I am going to play a drop, and then I flick my wrist and play a lob, and it works pretty well as I've caught a few people running towards the ball expecting a drop, only for it to go flying over their head :D


Couple from guys at my club:


One guy always looks like he's going to play a drive, but he somehow changes it at the last second and plays the ball against the side wall, and it hits the front wall like a drop. This gets me, and just about everyone, every time as you're never ready for it.


Another, when at the front of the court, plays a crosscourt length from say the left hand side to the bottom right hand corner, but looks to his left when playing it as if he's playing a straight drive to the bottom left corner. This is for the top players ;)


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From Adz - 19 Jan 2007 - 23:31

"The greatest trick-shot the devil ever pulled, was the 720 spin with a rolling twist off the back wall, side wall and into the front upright nick to dies down the rail"




Trick shots - great if your opponent can't read them. I've always told my students that if you can't play the shot, you'll never see the shot coming. Learn the shots, how they bounce, how they spin and more importantly, WHEN they can be played. The lists of shots are endless, including some that I no longer consider to be trick but more a staple part of my game. Here goes:

  1. *** 3 wall boast: side->other side->front walls
  2. * Backwall boast: Off backwall onto front wall
  3. ***** Backwall twist boast: Off backwall and side wall near back to land in opposite front corner.
  4. ** High boast: Just under out-of-court line from one back corner to reach other back corner.
  5. *** Mid boast: Around service level height form one back corner, to hit side->front walls and rebound through centre of court to other back corner.
  6. * Reverse angle boast: From one side into opposite front corner: side->front walls.
  7. *** Corkscrew serve: From service box onto front wall onto same side wall as service box to lob over T into opposite service area. Has to hit front wall first!
  8. ** Corkscrew: Similar to serve where ball strikes front->Side-> opposite side walls.
  9. * All manor of through legs and around the back shots.
  10. * The "backhand" forehand: Take the on the forehand side of the body but rotate the wrist to play the ball with backhand face of racquet.
  11. *** Over the shoulder drop: Whilst facing the backwall, play a soft drop over your shoulder into the front corners
  12. * Body deception: Move the body like you were playing a crosscourt but play the ball straight. Spin completely around to add a bit of flair.
  13. ** Pirouette volley nick: On backhand turn to face the backwall whilst playing into opposite front nick - looks like a pirouette in ballet.
  14. * Top spin drops: sound easy but have to be hit perfect to die in nick. Can be played whilst facing back wall.
  15. ** Volley-boast: Taken around service box area and player off side with a fast and low tradgectory into opposite nick
  16. ***** Returning boast: A normal 3 wall boast (side->front->side) but the ball returns to a given spot near the striker (a target of sorts?). More of a skill shot than a trick shot. This is easy to do but VERY difficult to get on target!


I'm sure I could go on with different variations, but surely that's enough to get you started! And for the record, every one of these shots is not only possible, but I've played them all at some time in either a match or training! The stars at the start signify the difficulty of the shot to execute!

Hope that helps for now!


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From adam_pberes - 19 Jan 2007 - 09:40   -   Updated: 19 Jan 2007 - 09:45

Okay- Also On This I Was Just wondering What do mos people define As Trick Shots? Corkscrews? Letting It Bounce Through YOur Legs, Off The Back Wall And Then Hit Through Your Legs Again? Or What...?

I'm Going To Find This Really Helpful IIf Enough People Relpy!(Come on Squashies!) As I've Got An Expression Session coming up in a tournament soon, Where you do as many trick shots as you can in 5 minutes and then the judges give you points on your performance(theres also an accuracy session(hit a 10 cent piece) but thats not a trick shot...)).

Yay Trick Shots!

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