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Open vs Closed Stance

The open stance provides greater  margin for error in positioning and strokeplay

The open stance provides greater margin for error in positioning and strokeplay

Published: 05 Nov 2004 - 00:00 by rippa rit

Updated: 04 Jun 2006 - 13:53

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In the last fifteen years, particularly since the establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport Squash Unit, there has been much discussion amongst coaches as to the correct footwork, eg the advantages and disadvantages of certain court movement, and the use of the term front foot.

With the Australian coaching system now using the "open stance" as its preferred footwork model (see fig.1) the front foot has changed from being the foot nearest the ball to the foot nearest the front wall.(fig.2) With the open stance the "right and wrong" front foot has little relavence. Positioning of the shoulders assumes more importance. It is usually easier to get the shoulders pointing to the target (desirable)with the open stance.

From my experience, beginners need very specific guidelines when performing a skill, and instructions need to be consistent. However, as in any skill, once a person becomes experienced, they can adapt their shot for an A1 result.
What is important to perform a skill accurately?

  1. Balance (when striking and recovering from hitting the ball).
  2. Co-ordinated movement, which includes both racket and feet working fluently.
  3. Controlled swing (arm movement).
  4. Controlled racket head (accurate aim).

If the line through both the feet and the shoulders do not point towards the target while striking the ball it can be more difficult to be consistent and adjustments have to be made to attain accuracy. Also, if the feet are too close together it is difficult to maintain balance while striking the ball.

Open stance
This is the ideal footwork (though not always possible) that allows balance on either front or back foot while striking the ball, makes it possible to recover balls that hit the nick, bounce off the wall at an awkward angle, or are further away to reach than anticipated. Other advantages are:

  • Weight can be transferred into the shot in the direction of the ball (more power)
  • The hitting zone becomes bigger (greater ability for adjustment)
  • Movement becomes smoother and easier on the body
  • Easier to stay balanced

Closed stance
Although sometimes necessary it should be avoided if possible. This movement has some disadvantages:

  • Makes it difficult to remain balanced while striking the ball, since the swing tends to bring the body forward, making it difficult to recover effectively.
  • Your weight tends to go to the side wall, rather than the front wall target area.
  • It is difficult to transfer weight in the direction of the target resulting in a loss of power.
  • The swing tends to close also, making the arms and sometimes the feet cross over. (Good for ballet, not for Squash!)

    Try out the open stance if you haven't already. If you are used to the closed stance, I know you're going to have some fun experimenting.

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    From raystrach - 04 Jun 2006 - 13:53

    don't worry david

    nothing you have said has been taken personally at all. as for the diagrams, they are fairly clumsy attempts to portray certain stuations which are seldom cut and dried in any case. having said that, i think they get across to some members, what the hell we are talking about.

    i always look forward to your contributions as i don't see any down side to the debate. this one is still going full steam ahead 6 months after it started and you were the one who got the ball rolling - thank you! 

    as all members should realise by now, although we (rita and i) put our own point of view forward quite strongly (and even we don't always agree), we are equally interested in promoting different and dissening views. i am pretty proud of the fact that desite having contributions by all sorts of people from all around the world, the discussion s far on this thread and every other without exception, has been conducted in the right spirit. hopefully no one point of view will prevail as that will leave us with a very boring world.

    you may have also read my current "geek" post which has comments along the same lines.

    as for the content of this post, i hope every one continues to make their contribution and to read those who have gone before.

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    From rippa rit - 03 Jun 2006 - 16:24

    David, no problem.  Open discussion is good.  Ideas are always good - take what you like and leave the rest.
    Suffice to say, there has never been a coaching manual written, or attempted, that I know of, and in some cases even made the printer, after enormous hours spent, and still sitting in draft form in the archives, 'cos it is almost impossible to get a panel of coaches to agree on matters that are really not all that critical when all is said and done. And, I might add, by the time it is then produced, invariably is outdated.
    At what point does something become critical?  So, we have the individuality in coaches and in players, and some are more innovative than others, etc.  We need the lot, so maybe that keeps the balance.
    Sad to say, some of this I feel has parallised the coaching system in this country.

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    From dmennie - 03 Jun 2006 - 13:49

    Hi Rita/Ray,

    I should clarify my last post, I was not aiming anything desparaging at the coaching manuals as I believe you both had a big part in writing them, if my comments were viewed that way then I should apologise, however I stand by my observations  and opinions as we all are entitled to our own. In a nut shell I am saying that there is no one perfect way for every body and all players will find there own way eventually. Specifically I do not see proffessional players with their footwork as the original diagrams show. This debate will go on and on there are examples for both open and closed stance but neither is absolutely correct for all game situations. All knowledge is good, take what is relevant and disregard what is not

    All the best

    David M.

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    From rippa rit - 02 Jun 2006 - 07:47

    Biz -  Sounds positive.
    Really a lot of this stuff works itself out as you try to progress the students. Progression is certainly the best way to introduce new elements, eg static, repetitive, control feeds, automotion, and so on.  So what happens then:
    • So, they keep running to get to the ball which is good, but then are so intent on hitting the ball they forget to think of the position of their opponent, and what would be the best shot to play. Results, they hit it back to their opponent.
    • Then you get them to slow down, wait, think where the opponent is, and the feet glue to the floor, so they sort of "stop".  Game falls apart.
    • So, the next, you get them to get in position, STOP on command, and they over balance, and cannot wait another second without swinging.  WRONG.
    Hey, this must be what keeps coaches in a job

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    From BizarreCo - 31 May 2006 - 18:39

    It's quite funny that I tried the fundementals of the open stance vs closed stance when training with one of the juniors last night.

     

    As a bit of history, I've only been training the juniors in my club for a little over a year now, and when I first got here I noticed some galringly obviously flaws in their games (Lob?!? What's that then?? Recovery shots - we don't use them either!). After 12 months of hard word and constant stopping, explaining, demonstrating, coaching and going again, we've finally got some of the juniors beginning to think about what shots they're playing and when. Then even retrieve high enough to get time to recover to the T - Success on that front!

     

    So last night I took the next logical step - Shot selection. Once you have an array of shots at your disposal, the next logic stewp would surely be to learn to play them as often as possible to give you as many options as you can. Only then did I realise that the next problem came from their movement / stance. If you take open vs closed then these guys have shut up and locked the door! They don't seem to have any freedom to play the more unorthadox shots from set positions (like cross-courts from deep within the back corners). So we worked on a more open stance, better balance, better timing. Low and behold it worked!! I was in shock that it worked so quickly and the results came so fast. By the end of the 2 hours we had all sorts of shots coming from all over the court.

     

    Next thing to get to grips with is the "arrive early - play late" ideas to add deception and options to their game!

     

    I hope that I've interpretted this thread correctly into my own coaching (but even if I haven't, then it still gave me more options to help the juniors!).

    Cheers

    ADZ

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    From rippa rit - 31 May 2006 - 08:43   -   Updated: 31 May 2006 - 08:46

    Ok - firstly, the reason for the added picture of feet/legs was to explain to Viper what a Closed/Open stance looked like as I thought he was still vague about the description and terms, so I went looking for some shots no matter what era.  Is that now clear nor not?  Any further discussions on just that point?

    Then, during discussions it was intimated only open stance was used recently and not by the old timers, but I then put some pics of Hunt and Khan back in the 70's showing open stance.   So players have used a mixture of those two stances.

    Now, we have had a shift of discussion from where/ who is the most up to date, and more progressive in coaching techniques.  Well, that is what I am reading anyway.

    If we are going to pick the innards out of this we could go on for ages and it depends where you look, what you are looking for,  and what you see, and at what level etc.

    The final analysis is, and what BizandCo said made sense too:
    • be balanced when hitting the ball (don't overbalance)
    • be able to effectively/accurately play  the greatest variety of shots from that position (hard/soft/short/long)
    • be able to recover easily with the least amount of wasted energy.
    • know the best shot/most effective shot to play from the position you are caught in.
    Now, if a player can do that consistently and accurately, why would a Coach want to interfere
    irrespective of Open/Closed/SemiOpen/Preferred Foot/NonPreferred Foot?  Some of these finer details are individual because of our body type, our limb length, our centre of gravity and so on - therefore what might work up the front of the court with the non-preferred foot may not work for another - we must keep individuality and a certain amount of flexibility and unpredictability in our coaching methods.

    You could say I am talking rubbish.  That is ok too.  However, having coached at school level, junior club level, regional and State level every person is an individual, and if you cannot achieve by one method you must be flexible in your approach. 

    What a player can do running at excessive speed, and at a controlled speed are two different things - so we must not have unrealistic expectations either of what should and should not be done.  And, 'cos Palmer can do it so I can do it attitude.

    And, I have more to say too "oh please"

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    From Viper - 30 May 2006 - 21:54

    Well I cannot seem to get any direct answers to my questions but as Davids list is conspicuous in listing no Australians in the forward thinking/currently innovative  camp then it is fair to assume it is us ( australians) who are advocating and still coaching an open stance which by definition is passe'.

    quote:

    "Thierry Lincou; James Willstrop; Nick Matthew; Jonathon Power; Amr Shabana the list goes on."

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    From BizarreCo - 30 May 2006 - 21:19   -   Updated: 30 May 2006 - 21:20

    Certainly a strong one for discussion, and just because I was feeling left out, I thought I'd add my 2p worth!

     

    As an earlier junior playing up to international level in Wales (note: this was before Chris R came to coach!), the focus was very much of "correct" movement and footwork - which was being suggested as the closed stance detailed above. I've put correct in inverted commas as this no longer seems to be the only correct way of playing (hense the open stance method). Indeed thinking back to the training as a junior (which I gave up for some time), there was a definite shift in the target on the training between the time I left and the time I rejoined the county level training some 2 years later.

     

    This new training focused far more on being able to hit a variety of shots using one type of stance. Also on being able to use a variety of stances to play a given shot! This gives the player much more confidence of playing shots without needing to be in a 1970's textbook position (which was being taught previously!).

     

    Some basics remained the same:-

    Use the follow through to move into your next position, go with the swing as opposed to against it and natural kinetics will do the work for you.

    The aim is to be balanced and free to swing when playing your shot. Weight needs to be spread correctly and able to move in a way that maintains balance throughout the swing.

     

    Like I said, just my 2p worth

    ADZ

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    From dmennie - 30 May 2006 - 21:03

    Hi Guys,

    This debate will go on adfinitum,

    The suposition and the original diagram for closed stance I find is INCORRECT because if the heals line up across the court indeed you will have a lack of balance and all the other points already made, the feet remain shoulder width as humans tend to walk with feet beneath the shoulders. The squat advocated as open stance is too slow to attain while playing a competitive match. Players will generaly place one foot ahead of the other this puts weight transfer behind the ball giving more power with less muscle/effort. Recovery to the Tee is quicker speed to the ball is increased etc etc etc. The coaching manuals used in Australia were published in 1999...this is almost 10 years ago and still we try to teach this way.  The squash world is moving on and we still show coaches to coach as as we did in 1999. Because then we(Australia) were successful. The rest of the world went wow this looks different, how can we improve this. And they have!!!! Thierry Lincou; James Willstrop; Nick Matthew; Jonathon Power; Amr Shabana the list goes on.To feed a ball and have a player squat at the ball is quite easy....this is a new dimension.....it is easy to teach, but the player then finds he has to adapt what he has been shown in game situations because it is ineffective!!!!! Adaptability to adverse conditions....human nature at its best. But why not show the way that works in the first place. The squat I was first shown in 1980 and my coach subsequently dropped it for all the above reasons. Front Foot ; Back Foot...whatever.... just be well balanced always and have more options to play  than the opponent .

    Keep the debate going

    All the best

    David M.

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    From Viper - 30 May 2006 - 18:42   -   Updated: 30 May 2006 - 18:57

    Hi Rita, Ray,

    I am sorry but it will help my understanding  to get a clear answer to my fundamental questions, ie :

    1. Is there currently two schools of teaching, ie one school pushing a closed stance and one pushing an open stance ?

    2. If so who is teaching what ?

    3. I seem to read in general  England is pushing a closed stance and Australia an open one is this the case ?

    4. What are other countries like Pakistan, Eygpt, etc advocating ?

    5. Is the open stance a relative new idea and was it started in Australia ?

    6. Would the majority of Australian coaches teach the open stance ?

    7. Exactly what does the AIS advocate ?

    As I said I am with you in that we hit the ball with whatever it takes given the speed of the game now.

    Having said that it seems so natural to me to approach the ball with what you are calling a closed stance.

     

    thanks Viper

     

    Can you play the second sample video in this link please ( attacking) :

    http://www.jpsquash.com/jpsquash/p_dvd.html

    Looking at just the backhand and especially the first half of the video, when both players have time to set up their foot work to hit the backhand ( especially when moving to the front of court) it seems clear to me both Palmer and Power are choosing to hit with a clear closed stance, ie the backfoot toe is near the front foot heel.

    Do you agree ?

     

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    From rippa rit - 30 May 2006 - 14:54

    Viper - to continue the debate about open/closed stance.
    Here are a couple of scans I can now add to help this debate.
    Maybe a simple way to describe Closed stance is when the toe of one foot is in line with the heel of the other.
    The biomechanist quotes "a closed stance should not be used as it hinders stroke fluency...... the non-racket limb is used to assist body balance."

    Am I getting warm?

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    From JJSOOTY - 18 May 2006 - 02:48

    This post is really interesting as I have never been coached (and never seen anyone use) an open stance before.  I have always played with a closed stance and have never even known there was a different technique taught that was thought to be better.  I appreciate that Rita will know loads more about this than me but I tried this open stance last time I was on court and found it notver balanced at all!  This could be for many reasons:

    • Standing too close of far away from the ball
    • not having a smooth swing
    • difficulty in altering the swing to the different position
    • not bein very practised at the technique! 

    In any case it just doesn't seem to work and I feel totally unbalanced and non of my shots flow like they should.  I understand that at the top level being able to have weight on either foot from the same position allows better access to shots but at club level you have more than enough time to stride for the ball with whichever foot is suitable.  I've always been taught that having your feet parallel to each other isn't good for accurate shots.  Straight drives seem to require an odd swing that doesn't feel natural.

    Anyway I've had a good rant and I'm pretty sure that all my points are now going to be slaughtered by the experts but the open stance just doesn't seem right to me.

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    From rippa rit - 17 May 2006 - 14:59

    Viper - here is my quote from a few posts ago:-
    " you think I have a memory like an elephant?  Well, I keep lots of records is more the point.
    I have an Aust Squash Championship Series from 1978 so will comment on the action photos of the players.
    Qamar Zaman (PAk) - well balanced open stance of a backhand.
    Geoff Hunt (AU) - well balanced, backhand preparation, weight on back foot, open stance.
    Mohibullah Khan (Pak) - very wide base of support, open stance, backhand backswing.
    Hiddy Jahan (Pak) - hips rotated, backhand swing, knees flexed, weight on front foot, open stance.
    Roland Watson (Sth AFR) - well balanced, backswing, open stance."

    Viper - there are basics, and there are modifications, and provided the modifications still match the basic principles, it is then a matter of at what stage of your squash career you feel confident to leave the basics behind I think and become more adaptable to any given situation, depending on court position, time, shot selection, accuracy, etc.. 

    For sure, it is a good idea to take out shuffling and juggling feet out of the court movement.
    It is the position of the racket, and angle of the swing that is the most important in the execution and if you are standing on one knee and can do that it is ok....let us not get confused with coaching from a basic level, to playing at an elite professional level, as there is no comparison.

    Take yourself out of a squash court and compare what we are talking about with a pianist, guitarist, ballerina, ice-skater, or whatever. 

    When we did not have such good video coverage of matches we did not have this confusion.
    Sometimes players look at these champs and cannot understand why they cannot just do it...it is a progression all the way through on all accounts of the total all court development, including tactical, physical and mental not just technique, or footwork alone.  All of these attributes should be included in the training from an early stage of playing or we get this imbalance, eg A grade forehand, B grade backhand, D grade tactics, C grade volley,  C grade drop shot,  and  maybe little physical  training other than squash.  Result, after 15 years maybe B Grade ......Sooo  what more can I say.

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    From Viper - 17 May 2006 - 07:57

    A little clearer. I must be having a blond moment !

    The history of this technique change still confuses me.

    1.All/most players used a closed stance before Hunt and the AIS invented the open stance around 18 years ago or so, yes ?

    2. England in particular still advocate the old closed stance, yes ?

    3. What does the rest of world squash use in general

    4. Does it follow it is mostly Aust AIS that are advocating this open stance ?

    I must say I tend to agree with David how do you move weight sideways (towards the front wall) through your knees ?

    quote :

    "The swing in both and closed stance does transfer weight forward, but in the closed stance it transfers it more towards the ball, not the front wall.  Which is what I am talking "

    thanks Viper

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    From rippa rit - 17 May 2006 - 07:00

    Viper - in the top diagram Ray has shown clearly a closed stance.  Notice the feet positioning - the leading foot is basically pointing towards the ball not the front wall.   The open stance is really
    showing the feet and shoulders parallel to the side wall, and the shoulders pointing to the target.

    Viper all of the photos that I mentioned of our great players are open stance when in position - however, as I said under pressure they are taking their weight onto the front foot, and it is always the preferred foot.  The photo of Palmer is the non-preferred foot (does it look obsolutely as comfortable as even Ricketts with both feet in flight?).

    The swing in both and closed stance does transfer weight forward, but in the closed stance it transfers it more towards the ball, not the front wall.  Which is what I am talking about in the above article.

    Geoff Hunt has advocated the open stance feet positioning and swing since the inception of the AIS which off the top of my head is about 18 years ago.

    The books you are reading are quite old - for example I met Heather Blundell (Mackay) in Canberra, had a hit just before the arrival of Hashim Khan to conduct clinics in Queanbeyan just 47 years ago.....over time there has been National Coaching Conferences, visiting overseas coaches, and sports scientists consulted, seminars held yearly, where on-court demonstrations, etc have been attended by all Directors of Coaching in Australia, etc. so things are evolving all the time in some subtle ways.

    Are you clear or not?

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    From Viper - 16 May 2006 - 22:00   -   Updated: 16 May 2006 - 22:05

    I am still confused with all this and I need to ask my question again to try and get it clear in my head :

    1. In time past champions like Hunt, McKay, Fitz etc ( and all us club players) approached most shots with what you are calling a closed stance, ie front foot forward and back foot drawn back and in. this was the taught and excepted style of play, until

    2. In recent times the Aus AIS started to teach a new open footwork where the feet were more side by side to the wall, I presume this was taught to current champs like Palmer, Ricketts, Grinhams etc ?

    3. Meanwhile the English are still playing with a traditional closed stance, yes ?

     

    I have a few older squash books and they all show footwork as what you are calling closed with hitting off a leading front foot with the back foot drawn back and in.

    This is how I feel I approach most shots.

    This is how it feels natural to approach most shots.

    I have tried at home here to practice hitting with feet aligned to the wall as you have shown in your sketch and it feels very uncomfortable and cramped.

     

    I am well aware that in todays speed of game one must hit off both the front and back foot as there is not time to always have perfect footwork, and in my games I do just this.

    But I do try to hit off the leading front foot with my shoulders aligned more open to the back of the court, as I find more space to play 2/3 different shots with the same set up and it also enables me to transfer my weight smoothly on impact with the ball.

     

    Could you please clarify points 1,2 and 3 for me please.

     

    BTW I can not understand your "open stance" setup being called "open" when really it is at best neutral, ie both feet are equally parallel  to the wall. open to me would see ( on the forehand) the front foot at 11 oclock and the backfoot at about 5 oclock.

     

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    From rippa rit - 16 May 2006 - 19:44   -   Updated: 16 May 2006 - 19:58

    Viper - that photo of Ricketts is an excellent in motion shot  He looks technically pretty correct since he is in such a hell of a hurry to recover the ball.
    Ricketts has got his front foot forward, the basic stance is open, but he is strapped to get to the ball and has hardly any part of his feet on the floor.  If you try that you will probably end up on your neck!!
    Maybe if Ricketts misjudged the bounce and could not quite reach he would take the other foot forward, but for sure he is not going to shuffle around at this point to get the other foot in position,since the ball is dropping lower by the second  - and at this point he obviously has no choice but to hit the ball hard - what else can he do when under this pressure and your opponent on your shoulders?  - not much.
    However, if the ball was shorter, he probably would have taken the other step.

    We have said in our How to Play and Strokes and Movement there is no wrong or right foot any more - that is old hat. 
    Unfortunately those photos I refer to in the Aust Cship Reports are black and white and probably would not come up well when scanned.  There is no facility to add photos to the replies as yet either.....in fact I have just come across one of Palmer in the 2000 Report Cover so I will try to scan it and put into a new post.

    Viper - I looked at that link -Lesson 4 -  but I claim parliamentry privelege
    Ask them what they are indicating, and how they teach, and who that they have coached that use their methods, etc. and then tell us.

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    From Viper - 16 May 2006 - 16:57   -   Updated: 16 May 2006 - 17:16

    Thanks for that post Rita.

    I must confess I am not much the wiser.

    Does the AIS currently teach an open stance ?

    Does the English game advocate a closed stance?

    If I read the posts right both you are Ray would teach people an open rather than closed stance is that right?

     

    I would love to see a couple of pictures showing the difference clearly.

     

    For instance what stance is ricketts taking here :http://www.squashsite.co.uk/2006images/supers53.jpg

     

    thanks Viper.

     

    What is this advocating, open or closed ? :

     

    "Lesson 4 - Footwork and movement

    Try to always hit of the "front foot". If you are right-handed the 'front foot' will be your left foot when playing a forehand shot. Keep the heel of your "back foot" up off the floor a little - i.e. balance forward on the 'front foot' . This allows you to rotate your shoulders and to swing freely at the ball which allows your elbow to bring your arm through . This helps to reduce the excess wristiness [is there such a word?].

    Though the trend is to hit off the 'wrong' foot - problem is long term possibility of knee, hip and lower back damage - good balance is essential - if hitting of the 'wrong foot', the body is not utilising perfect balance. This habit puts a lot of stress on the lower back in particular but also causes you to use much more wrist than necessary - also causes you not to turn your shoulders and to put a lot more effort into power shots than should be necessary.

    Idea is that you sidestep your first step, so you push from the balls of your feet (like a little jump), and move in a sidewards motion to about 1 foot away from the origional position, then you "fall" into a step, which gets bigger with each step you take. 2 steps after the side step to the sidewall from the T (horizontal), and 3 to the back corners. Try not to move in a straight line, but more in an arc. (unless you are moving horizontally in which case you can move in a straight line). Anything diagonal, move in an arc.

    Side-skipping to the ball is good on the right hand side if you are a right handed player, where you take the ball with your right foot forward, lots of pro's do it. Saves time, effort and valueable energy. Try doing the horizontal ghosting though to put some good basics there first. Remember, we all need solid foundations to build on, in any walk of life, right. However, I find it difficult doing the same on the backhand, unless I am really pushed for time.

     

     

    http://squashclub.org/main/e-lessons/lessons/intermediate_lessons/lesson4.shtml

     

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    From rippa rit - 16 May 2006 - 15:20

    Viper - you think I have a memory like an elephant?  Well, I keep lots of records is more the point.
    I have an Aust Squash Championship Series from 1978 so will comment on the action photos of the players.
    Qamar Zaman (PAk) - well balanced open stance of a backhand.
    Geoff Hunt (AU) - well balanced, backhand preparation, weight on back foot, open stance.
    Mohibullah Khan (Pak) - very wide base of support, open stance, backhand backswing.
    Hiddy Jahan (Pak) - hips rotated, backhand swing, knees flexed, weight on front foot, open stance.
    Roland Watson (Sth AFR) - well balanced, backswing, open stance.
    Bruce Brownlee (NZ) - running for a backhand shot, well stretched, knees well bent,weight well in front on front foot, backfoot ready to take weight as he recovers. Closed stance because of the situation.
    Aly Abdelaziz (EGY) - moving forward, front  knee well bent, weight on front foot, back foot ready to recover.
    Moqsood Ahmed (Pak) - moving forward, knees well bent, weight on front foot. ready for the unwinding of the swing, and recovery onto the back leg.
    Cam Nancarrow (Au) - moving forward in flight, weight coming onto the front foot.

    I suppose from all of these the obvious thing is open stance when you are in position and of course when under pressure it is necessary to lunge out in front as far as possible - so that part is normal. There is a front foot approach to the ball by all of the players.
    The other factor is the weight  transfer to the front foot....though in todays AIS coaching there is no wrong or right foot approach to striking the ball.  Whatever foot comes first I guess is the approach to that when players are in flight.

    Looking at the pros are one thing, but coaching a raw beginner is another.
    I know nothing of Power's background as a player.

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    From Viper - 16 May 2006 - 09:56

    This is an interesting discussion.

    Could you clear  up some questions for me please:

     

    1. As a rule the AIS has been and still is teaching an open stance ?

    2. In contrast the English players are taught and play a closed stance ?

    3. What stance did Power use ?

    4. What stance did the champs of old use, especially S Fitz, Hunt and McKay ?

     

    Thanks Viper

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    From raystrach - 13 Dec 2004 - 16:57

    Dear David

    Thanks for the continuing debate!

    I must say that I wholeheartedly agree with most of what have have said here. The basic ideas you express are correct, but as the say, the devil is in the detail!

    The other factor not mentioned so far is individualisation. Not every player responds in the same way to any one way of doing things. Different things work better for some rather than others.

    Most, if not all coaches just want to see their athletes become the best they possibly can be. Debates, like in this forum, can only help.

    By the way, an invitation is still very much open to present some of your thoughts in your own post. We are all for encouraging differing points of view so that the members and visitors can make up their own mind.

    rs

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    From dmennie - 13 Dec 2004 - 11:01

    Ray/Rita;
    The main points of relevance to actually playing squash with regard to movement and positioning would be as follows-
    Always be on the T in a balanced postion when your opponent is playing their shot. This will allow movement to any point on the court. This sounds simple but is in fact easier said than done. Elite players restrict their movement to the corridor up the centre of the court(extend the service box lines the length of the court as a guide) only reaching into the wider areas to retrieve well postioned shots from the opponent.If you can force your opponent into these areas on a regular basis he /she will be covering more court than you. It is a simple concept that the player doing more work will eventually make more errors due to fatigue ie forced and unforced errors as they want to end the rally more quickly.
    The speed of recovery to the T enables a player to always be in this postion and control the play. This will enable the player to play at higher intensity to the opponent, in other words the opponent will always feel rushed because our player is on their shot while they are still recovering.(See anyone who has copped a beating at the hands of Sarah Fitz.)More opportunities will present themselves as a result of the added pressure on the opponent etc.
    If the British players have a technical flaw it hasn't affected Lee Beachill, Nick Matthew, Peter Nicol,James Willstrop, etc and the numbers they are producing keeps on rolling on.
    No one system is better than any other it is the evolution of the game itself via the players and their coaches at the cutting edge ie making their livlihoods from their raquet.
    As a coach I am always looking for a better way. The health and well being of my players is my prime concern.
    Staying injury free while training and playing at the highest level for each individual is the main goal.
    All knowledge is good
    All the best
    David M.

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    From raystrach - 10 Dec 2004 - 19:11

    Thanks again dmennie.

    it is good to know that we agree on one thing. That training methods must evolve and improve and we must not be blinkered by the past.

    I know from personal experience that John White hits the ball extremely hard, but the fact that he is close to 2 metres tall with very long arms might account for that.

    Also, the fact that quite a number of Squash players are getting injured is testomony to the fact that Squash is a very demanding game. A number of our very best players from the past have paid dearly for their success. They were playing with a closed stance in those days.

    I know Rodny Martin who has been influential in the development of many of the current Australian stars, believes that the way many of the Brits are playing is actually a technical flaw to be exploited!

    In my own coaching I changed to coaching predominantly open stance about 7-8 years ago. At the time I was sceptical about its effacy for beginners and poorly skilled players but I am now convinced that it is more effective.

    I could go on but it might be best if you were to provide a post in our SquashForum or SquashInfo sections about Squash footwork and technique. It would be most welcome - in the interests of debate.

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    From rippa rit - 09 Dec 2004 - 14:56

    Hi dmennie - the debate continues. This topic always opens a can of worms at Coaching Conferences, and mostly the conclusion is - "we agree to disagree". I think the more you struggle to get to the ball the more closed the footwork,especially when forced deep into the front or back corners under pressure. Looking at world class players I have coached, and after their return from overseas, tend to get to the "hitting zone" before the ball gets there - that's fast stuff!!
    Generally, if caught in a closed stance, my gut feeling would be to focus on recovery to the centre court, rather than power (hitting a winner).
    It is good to know a bunch of top players (Queenslanders) were in our training squads from Under 13 to Under 19 years reaching top rankings, eg White, Grinham, Kneipp, Cooper. Therefore, I could put my neck out and say the fundamentals are fostered at an early age. The squash mind is probably what develops much later.

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    From dmennie - 09 Dec 2004 - 11:31

    Thanks for the reply Ray,
    John White holds the Guiness world record forthe fastest hit ball of any sport conducted at the Canary Wharf Tournament in UK this year....not using an open stance.(Backhand Drive)
    To set up in the Open stance requires more steps.(See your diagram above) To have a hitting point to allow cross court shots requires the player to either open the stance thus telgraphing the shot or hooking the ball from behind the front foot leading to elbow injuries with repetition.
    Injuries to a number of top Australian players should prompt us to look at how they play and train to sustain these injuries. Anthony Ricketts- Knee and recurrence; Stewart Boswell- back; Scott Arnold- Knee.
    The point you make on more strain being put on the knee by pushing back is making the assumption that you are going backwards to return to the T. This is not so as this movement is also to slow and un econmical as in the standard 6 point drill routine still taught for years and years.The human body moves much quicker going forward than in reverse. There are are more efficient movement drills ie 120's (See the article on Squashplayer on Neil Harvey coach of Peter Nicol).
    To see where squash is at on the world stage will enable us to adapt our current methods of training to produce players who are competitive .
    To be dominant in this era we must look to future methods to see where training should be going to gain an edge
    All the best

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    From raystrach - 08 Dec 2004 - 22:52

    thanks for the reply, dmennie

    in the spirit of debate...

    i'll preface my reply by saying that in any match, there will be a combination of open and closed stance used. The point is, if you have time use an open stance.

    now your points...

    i have not played or have seen play the current top 10(for a number of years), but looking at the Squashpics site, there are many examples of the top plyers using this technique. I would go so far as to say that most would play open most of the time on the forehand especially. check out the top players in your area!

    the knees might not go sideways but try bending one leg whilst straightening the other - sideways movement! the stress is greater by having to go to the shot and pushing back off the shot. with an open stance you tend to go through the shot.

    the open stance makes hitting the ball far more flexible (the hitting zone is bigger) this will increase shot selection, make it easier to recover and have less chance of getting trapped.

    as for less power, body weight in the centreline means greater balance which leads to more power. balance is probably the biggest factor in good squash technique. its hard to generate power when you are off balance.

    i hope this makes sense. please provide more reasons why this is not so!

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    From dmennie - 08 Dec 2004 - 09:56

    In the spirit of debate maybe these points should be noted.
    1.How many top 10 WorldRanked players use this technique?
    2.Knees are not made to go sideways!!
    The weight transfer will stress knees/hips and back sideways.
    3.More steps are required to recover to the T.Too slow
    4.More strokes are given away due to overcommittment within the corners ie getting trapped in the front corners by the incoming opponent.
    5 Less power is actually developed because of hitting with body weight in the centreline.
    6.Tendency to hit ball behind front foot leading to lack of shot selection and variety to any given situation.
    These are but a few points

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