Info for Your Squashgame One Sided? + VIS vs. NSWIS

Published: 28 May 2007 - 19:24 by adam_pberes

Updated: 10 Sep 2007 - 02:02

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Hello Everyone!

While is a great site which I have used alot, I have just realised one downside.

In Australia There are two types of squash that are generally taught. The NSW Institute of Sport Teaches The Way which is on this website, Or The 'Horizontal'(?) Way. The Victorian Institute Of Sport Teaches The Veryical Way.

The Difference Between These Two Types Is, Well, As it says. The NSW way is to hit the ball at the height of its bounce, and have a faiur distance between you and the ball. It  is also the same stroke for all shots, just different timing.

The VIS teaches the vertical way, where you have the ball closer to you, and you hit the ball at the bottom of it's bounce, just before it hits the floor, Supposably, the VIS swing allows players to have a 'straighter' swing and followthrough, which allows them to hit the balls tightly down the walls easier...


Any thoughts on/if should have diffeerent ways or just general discussion about these types of styles? 

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From nickhitter - 10 Sep 2007 - 02:02

The only pro I've seen who tends to at least look like he is hitting the ball vertically out of the back is John White. very whippy, big arm action and lots of power. he seems to stand closer to the ball than most other pro's in that situation too. so I guess given the power created in these shots and the success of John's career in general, the technique is valid. Although it's not something I've ever been coached to do.

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From crider - 09 Sep 2007 - 22:48

G'day,  I'm an ex-Roger Flynn Junior. 

Top of the bounce (mid-court and forward) was an opportunity for a nick-kill-shot; as played by Phil Larmer, Anthony HIll, Shane Reaper, Simon Baker, Billy Hadrell, Micheal Joint, Michael Fiteni, Paul Price, Geoff Wilcox, Gary Windus, Adrian Goudie.  Rarely seen now.

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From rippa rit - 31 May 2007 - 22:12

Adz - Did you get your tongue mixed up on this one - please confirm.

"So I guess from your earlier post, I'd say that I teach the vertical swing first and then introduce the vertical swing at a fairly advanced level." 

The long and the short of it is, from what you say,  when you understand the game, the strokes, the court, etc. you can play the shot how you want, irrespective of what the norm is - of course.  Yeah, when you know what to do, it is easier to understand it when someone explains it to you what to do, sort of theory.

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From Adz - 31 May 2007 - 18:24

Hhmmm, on reading closer to your post I realise that you're asking a question which I did not answer!


I traditionally teach a horizontal swing, along with a variety of different swings for different volley heights (elbow position definately comes into play, as does the movement of the shoulder into a shot). However, the only way that I know to keep the power in a shot whilst the ball is deep into the corner is by using a more vertical swing. This is certanly an advanced technique to learn and perfect, and I only teach it to students who are looking for that other alternative when recovering a deep shot.


Rippa, from the description of your friend's swing, I can't see how he could be hitting the back wall when in the back corners, unless he wasn't using enough vertical motion in his swing (in my case I'd say that my elbow wasn't high enough to create the vertical motion).


So I guess from your earlier post, I'd say that I teach the vertical swing first and then introduce the vertical swing at a fairly advanced level.


For anyone else who hasn't read more of my posts, my general belief in squash is that you need to understand a shot before

  • You can play it properly and at the right time
  • You can see it being played against you and counter effectively

A classic example of this is the attacking volley boast. When a player isn't used to it their attempts will be loose and a poor shot. Also they won't see the shot being played against them and be that much slower to react when they do face it. Learning everything you can about the shots and nature of shot play will give a huge advantage when it comes to racquet skills.


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From Adz - 31 May 2007 - 17:56

I'll try to get someone to record the swing for me, but it'll have to be after the weekend cause I've got a tournament starting Saturday (my first since being back on my native soil!)


I'll try to explain how I play the shot (just in case I've got crossed wires on this one!).


When an opponent plays the ball deep to the back corners, there is a small window where it becomes increasingly difficult to ball the ball out of, and this is where a traditional swing would make contact with the back wall during the swing (when you are stood very close to the back wall). At this point, any attempt to swing through the ball would result in the racquet hitting the back wall. When in this position I stand so that my upper body is over the ball (which is low and rebounding back off the wall). As the ball becomes lower it moves further away for the wall giving more space between the wall and the ball in which to swing. By raising my elbow above the shoulder (kind of like you're going to punch the floor) and then whipping the wrist through causing a circular motion at the point of impact, I find that I can play the ball in almost any direction from the back corner (including a reverse-angle boast!). The cross-courts can be hit with quite a lot of power, and certainly surprise people who aren't used to the ball coming out at that angle from those positions!


So as I said in the earlier post, this shot seems to match the description of the "vertical swing" in that it is played when the ball is very low to the ground, the racquet comes vertically down onto the ball and the player needs to stand very close to the ball (in my case directly over it!). If this is the same shot that was described above, then I'd be happy to try and get a few video clips for you (although my mates will definately take the mickey about me taping myself on court for a squash coaching website!)


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From rippa rit - 30 May 2007 - 21:23

Adz - any chance of posting a video of your vertical swing please, and/or one of your students? 

Sure we all have all sorts of swings at various times during play depending on many factors, and many times we stuff them up too, or fluke the return.  If you run or rush too close to the ball the swing sure goes vertical, however,  that does not make it an ok shot for teaching purposes. 

It is unlikely a coach would get a student to run in close to the corner with the purpose of them learning to hit a vertical drive?  A different story to a player misjudging the ball and having to do a vertical swing to get out of trouble. 

A true story - there was a guy at the club who used to use a vertical drive for every shot he played, including his boast and drop shot (which was virtually non-existent) and he could not for his life hit it using the horizontal swinging action.  Yes, he got to C grade and stayed there, and the swing looked like a boomerang.  This was the result:
  •  any ball tight to the back wall or corner he mostly clipped the wall with his racket
  • hit the floor with his racket as he waited for the ball to come out
  • he stood fairly straight while swinging (good for the knees); not a stable base of support
  • bad for getting back into position quickly and efficiently
  • at times the swing was bordering on excessive especially if you were trying to get out of the way of this large swing.
Also, in a ghosting drill how many steps would that player take from the centre court to the front or back corner?  More than 3?  Is it likely recovery would be impeded?

So, just thinking a bit further ahead, to teach the volley, their is need for a different swing or like my friend I spoke of in para 4 there were two types of volleys possible, one real high up, and one real low down - and the drop volley I think might have been missing from his array of strokes.

So, what are you saying:
  •  teach one lesson using a vertical swing, and another using a horizontal swing?
  • teach a horizontal swing until they can play, then introduce the vertical swing.?
  • teach a drop shot with a horizontal swing this week, and a back wall boast with a vertical swing the following week?
I would have also thought that the adjustment should come from the footwork and body positioning and not, intentionally, from the basic swing.

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From Adz - 30 May 2007 - 20:02

Firstly I would have thought that by having this thread open it shows that does not just condone a single type of play.

As we have discussed on numerous other threads, there is always different schools of thought on a situation and no-one is right 100% of the time. If there was only 1 correct way to play squash, then we'd all have been so regimented in its practise that we would have no need for a website like this to exist at all as no-one would ever wonder anything about squash as we would all play the same way (whilst using the same racquet and the same strings, the same shoes and the same kit!).


So you see there needs to exist different schools of thought. A different way to do things to cause advancment in the game. Just because one organisation prefers to teach one methos and another prefers to teach something else, it doesn't make either of them WRONG! Far from it, in fact I'm happy that the two disagree. As a player and a coach it is my duty to learn the arguments of both sides and to show both methods to a student. Whichever one works best for them is the one I will continue to teach them, but they need to know that different methods exist to further their understanding of the game.

For example..... If you teach someone to play the ball off its vertical turning point (when it stops bouncing up and starts to move back down), then yes they have time to hit the ball, but also the opponent has time to read where the ball is going. This player will learn that everyone should hit the ball at the top of the bounce and either:

  1. Will be caught out by someone taking the ball on a half bounce
  2. Move too early when someone holds the ball that bit longer


On the other hand, if someone plays the ball near the floor, they could get caught out by someone who takes the ball earlier in its tradjectory (e.g half bounce or vertical stop point).


You need to understand and play against all styles of play to be a well rounded player. Which you believe to be "right" is a personal opinion and can be proved right or wrong in circular arguments forever and a day. The true answer is that squash is as individual as handwriting. No two players play exactly the same, and those who understand all aspects of the game are already ahead of a play who has tunnel vision that their method is the only one that works!


p.s in response to an earlier comment by Rita, I have a vertical swing on my forehand which allows me to hit crosscourts from very deep shots on my forehand. I find that I can play shots out of the backhand corner which other people struggle with. Downsides are that I have to go very close to the back wall to play this shot, and this leaves the court open if my return is loose. My personal choice is to vary the styles of play and bounce to best suit the weaknesses of my opponents. A one-dimensional player is soon undone!!


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From rippa rit - 29 May 2007 - 17:56   -   Updated: 29 May 2007 - 17:58

Viper - I know of no player who has a vertical swing, developed on purpose.  If anybody does, as I said in my post, we would like to see the link to have a look at it.

I attended a National Coaching Conference in Canberra (I think it was) about 12 years ago where Roger had the floor for some time talking about this theory of the vertical swing, resembling a golf swing is how he described it.   I know the AIS coaches and Roger have come to blows about this concept.  And, in fact, I thought that was the end of the story, but maybe Roger persued it into his VIS coaching career. I do not know.
As I know, prior to the vertical swing days Roger had a few prodiges in Anthony Hill, Michael Joint, and Michael Fetini whom some of our members probably have seen play as they are based overseas.
One of our NCC members said today when I asked what happened at the last Conference regarding the vertical swing the reply was "nothing". When I insisted, they went on to say, Victoria have a very divided elite group of players, them v us, sad and split.  It appears some of the elite players do not  belong to the VIS, and have their own private coaches.  In fact Craig Rowland spent three weeks last year in Victoria coaching a top junior prior to a major event.

Please, take what you want and leave the rest.

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From Viper - 29 May 2007 - 08:43

Some videos showing both styles would be good Rita.

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From rippa rit - 29 May 2007 - 07:21

Wooo - I was hoping to read something about the vertical and horizontal swing - so getting back to the subject of technique - for those who are trying to get their squash swing right, and from those who follow the pros closely,  can we have a few links to the pros using:
  • the vertical swing, for examination and comment?

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From Viper - 29 May 2007 - 01:01

Interesting as always, wheels within wheels.

It is not dissimilar to state vers. federal politics really like this torrid marriage, federal govt uses the carrot and stick approach as leverage.

We have competing agendas > court operators, state associations, the state institutes of sport, squash Australia and the Australian institute of sport.......phefffffff...... scary stuff !


Do they all ever get in room together, now that would be a "reality show" to watch 

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From raystrach - 29 May 2007 - 00:43

you are right on that one viper, but has been said a number of times here, squash oz cannot dictate to the states what they do. in addition the ais, whilst it cooperates with squash oz, is run by the ais. the vis is something of a competitor in terms of getting athletes to an elite level (and it is a victorian government program, not a state squash program, although as at the national level, there would be close cooperation).
for some, that is a good thing, for others a bad thing. personally, i think it would be more productive in the case of squash, for there to be more cooperation.

i think you could step in viper, as an intermediary, to get the two factions singing from the same hymn book, if indeed they are singing from different ones, now that Karen holds the reins at the vis. i simply don't know if things have changed down there or not, since the departure of roger flynn.

the other thing is that there have been changes made to the high performance structure at squash oz in recent times which uses a different approach to the way things are done in terms of elite development. greg huthcings is now the high performance manager and he seems to be taking a very planned and strategic approach to the problem. he is capable of bridging some differences in approach, if they exist.

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From Viper - 29 May 2007 - 00:27

You would have to agree the structure you have described is not ideal, yes ?

Is not the sensible progression state squad > national squad > pro ranks ?

If so having different teaching philosophies at state level to national level an impediment to developing a player ?

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From raystrach - 29 May 2007 - 00:13   -   Updated: 29 May 2007 - 00:29


as in all sports,
  • the AIS is just another squash program albeit one that is funded nationally, whereas the state programs are funded by the state governments.
  • unless the national body contributes in some way to the funding of the state program, it usually has very little say in how it is run
  • the only impact it has is in the strength of the relative arguments
  • there is always criticism of all programs no matter how good or how successful,  as there is always someone who reckons they could do it better
  • if you have specific criticism of the ais program don't hold back - go for it - enlighten us all of the areas, in your opinion,   they need to update!!

there are a couple of circumstances why you would want to hit the ball at the bottom of the bounce, eg
  • to break the rythym for deceptive purposes
  • off the back wall so that it gives you more swinging room
  • when you cannot get to it any earlier
that said, there is every other reason to hit it as early and/or as high as possible including the one you suggest

as for the title of the post and us being one sided...

any time someone wants to put about 6 years of work and a combined 50 years or more of coaching/playing experience into a squash website, let them go right ahead - they can push whichever barrow they wish with the very best of luck from us. for us, to promote anything else but what we firmly believe to be the right thing, would be a disservice to the 450 or so visitors we get each day to this website.


thanks for raising this issue. i would love to hear the members views on this topic, because it goes to the heart of what we are trying to do with

  • how many other websites not only put up all they know on the subject of this sport, but then are prepared to back up what they say with reasoned argument , if necessary on a one to one basis?
  • we welcome debate on this issue both on the  general principle and on the squash technique.
  •  why is it that other websites steal our content word for word, and then claim it as their own

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From Viper - 28 May 2007 - 23:34

Does not the AIS dictate to member states to teach the the same technique style, right or wrong style, it would be clearly silly to have them different, other wise once a state player was picked up by the AIS they would have to rebuild their technique, that is madness, does this happen, surely not ?

Also is it not the case that some players choose to bypass the AIS as their teaching techniques are, lets need of an update ?

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From mike - 28 May 2007 - 23:09

When the ball is at the top of its bounce there is a moment in time where it has no vertical velocity. IMO hitting it here is a lot easier to time than near the end of it's descent when it's falling.
It's almost along the same lines as stopping (yourself) for your shot. With the horizontal method the ball and your body can be as still as possible which I'd expect to give greater control.

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From raystrach - 28 May 2007 - 20:19   -   Updated: 28 May 2007 - 20:21

hi adam

you may well throw in that the AIS also coaches the horizontal way.

to my knowledge, it was roger flynn  who started the vertical swing and although i do not know the exact intricicies of the technique, i suggest you look at results over the past 10 years or so.

how many top players have emerged out of the VIS in that time? roger has a lot of good ideas, but i personally do not agree with this aspect if his coaching of technique. i don't know if this is still the case, but he used to liken a squash swing to a golf swing.

needless to say that there has been quite a bit of heated discussion at the top level of coaching circles over this over the past few years.

also, i don't know if karen morrissey (the new vis coach) is still coaching this way.

not that that there are not some advantages of hitting the ball low at times, but when this is the central way of hitting the ball, i believe it puts a player at a huge disadvantage.

we are just about to introduce video content and we will be able to demonstrate why a more horizontal racket is far more effective .

so adam, please don't feel so cheated if you have not been exposed to roger's style of coaching.

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