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Watching Ball when opponent behind you

Published: 19 Mar 2007 - 01:30 by snuffy

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:29

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I was watching the Ashour/Palmer match and noticed something interesting. When the opponent is behind you, quickly take a look at them and then switch your view to the front of the court at the moment they contact the ball. In effect you do not really see the racquet contact the ball as your view has now switched to the front wall...

After years of watching the front wall, I am now trying to watch the ball at all times. However often I am slow to react to a hard hit shot, as by the time I follow the ball and react the ball is behind me.

Can anyone clarify this?



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From rippa rit - 24 Mar 2007 - 08:10   -   Updated: 24 Mar 2007 - 08:23

Yesterday I was listening to a radio interview with some our top legends, and they did a great job, speaking knowledgeable, fluently, and intelligently about many areas of the sport, including the state of the game today.
Sarah FitzGerald answered a question liking squash to chess and boxing.  Why boxing?
You jab, jab, and then right hook; never stop moving; float and move. 
Good one Sarah.
I liken the watching of the ball to this senario.

Here is the movement at the Canary Wharf, and it looks more like skate boarding. Look at the lean on John White. !

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From fishnicker - 24 Mar 2007 - 04:12

Watching the ball at all times is a must.  There's a pic somewhere (maybe this site?) of Mo Khan in his prime and his eyes seems to bore holes in the ball!

Another downside of not watching the ball when your opponent is behind is that you may be guilty of not clearing, and even worse,not attempting to clear.  That can be the difference between a stroke and a let.

I don't have a problem seeing the ball from the opponents racquet to the front wall (although maybe thats psychological - I just think I see it) but I find if I'm fooled by my opponent's shaping before the shot, I will make the correction based on the ball's path to the front wall, not it's trajectory after hitting the front. (Although if I've badly anticipated the shot, I'm wrong footed anyway, and can't make the correction!)

If you watch the pro's, it looks as though they're peeking around a corner, and both eyes seem to be pointing towards the ball.

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From SuperSage666 - 21 Mar 2007 - 22:18   -   Updated: 21 Mar 2007 - 22:18

Watching the ball when it is behind you is vital for movement, a little hop, skip or dance on the opponent's downswing will get your feet moving and make it easier for you to get to the ball, regardless of your opponent's shot.

If you watch the front wall, you will only have the sound of your opponent hitting the ball or the ball coming into sight to react too.  This will often have your feet moving late or very late respectively, and make it a huge disadvantage in getting to your opponent's tight shots.



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From rippa rit - 20 Mar 2007 - 13:40

You will judge the ball better if you watch it squarely, as opposed to seeing a black spec out of the corner of your eye, and at the same time see the opponent's body movement and swing which will also help you anticipate the type of shot being hit.

Always move as you watch the ball, and if you are too close and within the "line of fire" move out of the way but do not take your eye off the ball, and be ready to run.

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From snuffy - 20 Mar 2007 - 07:58

Good advice.

I guess watching the ball/watching the opponent is something that gets better with experience.


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From parecia - 19 Mar 2007 - 07:13

Hi snuffy. You must follow the ball everywhere in the court, before and after your opponent has hit it.
When you get good enough you will learn where your opponent is going to hit the ball and it will be easy to follow it.
Never watch direct to the front wall, or when you find experienced player you won't have any chance to win...

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From hamburglar - 19 Mar 2007 - 07:09

IMHO, you only watch the ball before your opponent hits it and after it comes off the front wall. The ball is probably going 120 mph on the way to the front, but only a third or so of that speed coming off the front wall. It's going way too fast to see the ball on the way to the wall, but you can watch your opponent's preparation and body position. When the ball comes off your opponent's racket, it's up to you where to look, but like to keep the front wall in the peripheral of one eye and my opponent in the other peripheral---the ball is just a blur, but you can see if they're driving, dropping, boasting or going cross-court and that is half the battle right there.

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