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Wrist Injuries & Proper Stroke Technique

Published: 26 Apr 2007 - 02:41 by allymcteo

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:22

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Hey Everyone,

I've been playing for about a month now and just recent suffered what feels like a sprained wrist, and I'm just wondering if it's because I'm hitting the ball with an incorrect stroke.

I've looked at several websites on proper stroke technique but I keep getting conflicting opinions.

One site said: " Wrist cocked - i.e racquet and forearm should form a 90 degree angle with wrist turned as far back as possible towards your body.  When you swing, you 'release' the wrist so that it ends up pointing away from your body in the follow through."

Another site said: " So stroke the ball, and keep that wrist rigid. IE DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, snap the wrist. We are not playing badminton here. Keep the wrist as stiff as a board, and use your back swing, early racket prep, and follow through to get the power in the shot."

Is it just me...or is "cocking the wrist and the releasing" the same as "snapping the wrist"?

Anyway, I looked up squash injuries and apparently it's common for squash players to have wrist injuries: "Racquetball and squash require a snapping motion of the wrist, so tendons and ligaments of the wrist are frequently injured.  Squash players are prone to bursitis and tears in the fibrocartilage tissues of the wrist resulting in pain in the outside of the wrist."

I just wanna know if anyone out there can give me some advice on how I should be hitting the ball and what sort of treatment is there to help speed up recovery?  And are there wrist guards I can wear or something that I can do to avoid wrist injuries in the future?

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From allymcteo - 27 Apr 2007 - 12:07

Wow, thanks for all the quick responses!

Well based on everyone's replies I've come to the conclusion on a few things:

1. I'm probably using a slight wrist flick at times.  Bad badminton habit which is hard, but not impossible, to break.
2. My forearm muscles are not yet strong enough to keep up with excessive playing, not to mention the wrist flicks.
3. I've found that by the 5th consecutive game my hand and forearm are getting tired from gripping the racquet.  Possibly from gripping the racquet too hard.

I've also found that because I have smaller hands, it's more difficult to generate more power, and because of that I may have been using more of my wrist than forearm, (also resulting in the wrist flick).  I started to choke up on the racquet grip more as a result.

Ultimately, I think it's a culmination of alot of problems.  But primarily, most likely a need for me to build more muscle and strength in my forearm.

Thanks for all the info and advice guys!  I'll keep you up to date on my progress!

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From rippa rit - 27 Apr 2007 - 07:40

Ally - you are probably holding the racket for grim death too and that will make your wrist tired and strained.  This is natural when you have just started to play and want to master the grip and the swing.
Try the theory of "hit and grip" and relax the hand and arm in between.

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From Adz - 26 Apr 2007 - 20:46

So many schools of thought on this one, and unfortunately most of them are right!

 

The movement of the wrist in squash is governed by the strength in the wrist tendons/ligaments and the muslces in and under the forearm. Mentioned in an earlier post are Jon Power and David Palmer, both of whom have phenomenal wrist and forearm strength.

 

Overuse injuries are a serious problem for people who first start playing, and you might find that your wrist has a dull ache feeling, or your forearm feels like it has a knot in the muscle. This is quite common, especially with the wrist bent back slightly during play, as it places the forearm under continual tension which it is not used to. Remember that the forearms are muscles and like any other part of the body they need to be warmed up before heavy use, and strengthened to maximise potential.

 

Once you've built up strength in the wrist, a 'snapping' motion is far less likely to cause you injury, and can become an effective tool of play like any other. This just needs to be built up gradually and cannot be expected to arrive overnight!

 

Wrist guards or strapping are useful to aid recovery of injury, but should not be used to prevent injury, as the body comes to rely on them and a natural weakness could be formed which will only lead to injury in the future. The best practise is to build up resistance and strength over time using a variety of flexibility and strength exercises.

 

When I teach beginners how to swing the racquet from first principles, I tend to show them how to let the wrist break naturally during their follow through. This doesn't give the power that a more experienced player will get, but it does give them a swing which is far less likely to cause injury when first starting out (as the wrist ins't undergoing any unnatural motions).

Adz

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From rippa rit - 26 Apr 2007 - 08:57   -   Updated: 26 Apr 2007 - 09:00

Welcome Ally.
If you have only been playing a short while you probably will be confused with some of the squash speak.

Firstly, it is a pity you were not able to enter our first CHAT trial (only happened yesterday) which was a real flop in our eyes, and the topic was about the grip and swing and your question would have been a perfect example for discussion.

Secondly, by going to the Home Page/Squash Library/Strokes Movement you will find some pics and info to help you with your game.  Don't forget to click around all the submenus, pages and more buttons.  Short video clips will be available soon throughout the Squash Library menus, so keep coming back.

Thirdly, the Members Forum, has an archives section and there would be at least eight threads about the grip, regripping, gripping the racket, etc would be a good read to start.

Technique is important to prevent injury (not only your wrist but your shoulders, elbow) - the forearm pronation and supination are the key to the swing, and the firm wrist controls the racket head which in turn controls the direction and height of the ball.

You have started an interesting journey so keep coming back as you progress.
Good luck

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From missing_record1 - 26 Apr 2007 - 06:02

I think you should always keep your wrist firm through a stroke, regardless of how much you cock your wrist to begin the stroke. Your forearm will naturally pronate/supinate through the shot, which many people consider a "wristy" motion but in fact your wrist is firm. Jonathon Power keeps a firm wrist but exaggerates the pronation/supination of his forearm. His stroke has a lot of flair but his wrist doesn't break through the shot.

If you have a floppy wrist that snaps through the shot then I think you are setting yourself up for an injury -- not to mention that this is a technique that generates relatively little power and deception. I know very few high level (college and higher) squash players that have had wrist injuries, other than from falling on their wrist. Pro tennis players seem to have a lot of wrist injuries, though, probably because the wrist needs to support a much heavier racket and the shock of a much heavier ball.

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From nickhitter - 26 Apr 2007 - 04:56

Is it just me...or is "cocking the wrist and the releasing" the same as "snapping the wrist"?

...no they're not the same thing, one referes to horizontal (snapping) movement, the other vertical (cocking). HOWEVER, you will still get conflicting opinions and even the pro's use different tecniques with regard to this. If you read through other threads you will see that I am currently trying to learn a specifically 'snapping wrist' shot, demonstarted by Jonathon Power. he is a very wrist flicky type of player, whereas David Palmer keeps a very strong wrist for 99% of his playing, for example.

As far as I can see the arguments boil down to wrist flicks give more deception yet increase the risk of injury, whereas keeping a stiff wrist is easier for the opponent to read your shot, but increases control and is better for your body mechanics.

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