Info for Your Squashgame

Mike Way's way of footwork?

Published: 17 Feb 2008 - 16:46 by shib

Updated: 17 Nov 2009 - 08:44

Subscribers: Log in to subscribe to this post.

Can anybody explain mike way's take on footwork? I'm currently having troubles with smooth court movement and not putting my weight into the shot, well, basically movement in general. It seems that the footwork dvd could help me, but unfortunately I cannot afford to shell out nearly $70 plus shipping.

squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


Please Note: The most recent replies are now at the top!

From jayjay - 17 Nov 2009 - 08:43

Hi Everyone

My coach is mike way. I think he would help you if you contacted him.


thank you!


Back to top

From fishnicker - 26 Feb 2008 - 05:45

Shib - ADZ gave some great answers and I think is far more qualified than I am to talk about footwork, so I'll leave you with his recommendations.

But I do own the Mike Way DVD and I'll try to describe it's contents - $70 may seem like a lot but I feel it's been worth it.

The DVD consists of J. Power and Graham Ryding doing footwork and ghosting drills overdubbed with coach Way giving tips on the particulars, intercut with scenes of top male pro's.  The pro matches usually reinforce the particular drill he's talking about, but not always.  Coach Way talks over the match footage, and concentrates on describing the footwork (but he can't help himself applauding nice shots when they do come up!)

Basically he stresses more hopping and skipping to the ball instead of running.  Of course, this is all displayed very nicely by the match footage (White, Palmer, Nicol, Beachill etc.)  He also says there is no right way or wrong way to do things - it depends a lot on your indiviual style and body.

Best thing about the DVD?  He describes the split step in detail!  I confess that I never quite understood the split step but he breaks it down very well, shows you different versions depending on where the ball is going and there is extensive footage of every single pro doing the same thing.  One thing he reinforces is the "rhythm" of back court movement, ie: don't always try to get back to the T as fast as possible if you'll be standing still for a while once you get there.  Try to time your arrival at the T with your opponents shaping of their shot.  And once they move their racquet to swing, you do your split step - with your feet landing just after the shot. 


This DVD concentrates on the forehand and backhand corners, and doesn't go into front court movement at all, except for a brief bit on the split step used to move forward.   He also covers the swing preparation, squared off stance in the corner, stepping into the corner and hopping into the corner.  A lot of his advice concerns the appropriate footwork for different pressured retreivals. 

Drills included:

ghosting from the T to the back (forehand and backhand) corner in 3 variations (high pressure = lunge, mid pressure = hop step, low pressure = walk into squared off) and movement back to the T.

ghosting continuously from the T to the front left and right service boxes (no real stopping at the T)

ghosting contiuously from the T to back left and right service boxes (V shape, no stopping at the T)

There is more match footage than drill footage.

The downside is that he's not the most precise in describing the footwork, and I found myself slo-moing the drills. 

And on a funny note (after remembering a debate on this board about strong vs. weak foot) he points out long pro rally where every shot is played of the back, weak foot and says you should be able to do this too!

Back to top

From Adz - 22 Feb 2008 - 23:58



That's a really hard question to answer. The reason being that everyone's body moves in a unique way, and to understand how you move on the backhand I'd really need to see you play.

I guess from a text-book definition, the feet need to be shoulder-width apart giving you good balance, with the front foot (assuming right handed - right foot) slightly in front of the other foot. Body position should have shoulders perpendicular to the wall when in "cocked" position. By this I mean racquet wound up ready to swing. At point of strike, shoulders should be parallel to the side wall and you should be striking the ball somwhere between your two feet for a straight drive. I say somewhere between as this can vary depending on how you hold your racquet, your wrist position, your forearm rotation, hip flex etc. During the swing, the front shoulder should dip slightly towards the ball (once again please see Nicol David for a perfect example), at which time the body weight transfers mainly off the back leg, through the center (balance point) and onto the front leg. Done correctly, the ankles, knees, hips, waist and shoulders all move together (think of a golf swing for example), and this allows the body weight to be transferred into the ball. This movement done at speed is what creates the power of the shot.


So that's the text book stuff for a basic, STATIC shot, which leads us onto the more interesting stuff.


Here you really need to see a clip of Nicol David playing a backhand, straight or cross-court drive from a full lunge position. James Wilstrop also does this particularly well. Here the shot becomes much more difficult to execute due to the movement to the ball becoming part of the weight transfer mentioned in the earlier example. The start point of the body weight is actually before you move into the lunge position. Body weight is being transferred into the ball, but the destination point is no longer fixed as it was in the first example (the front foot that was static). Here the front foot is moving into the lunge position and thus the end point is dynamic until a split second before the ball is struck. Many top players only just plant their foot as the racquet makes contact with the ball. Now the difficulty with this shot is how the shoulders dip and twist in order to generate power. I remember reading an article that claimed that the body weight pressure on the legs increases 3 times during a lunge (so if you're 2 stone overweight like me you end up with an extra SIX stone of force to deal with! OUCH!!). But during a lunge, this extra force can work to your advantage by providing extra power into your shot. You need to get the body pivoting and shoulderS rotation in harmony (note the S meaning BOTH shoulders need to be moving - twist your waist!). When achieved correctly, the body weight will start at the top of the motion arc, move through to the strike point and then up through the follow-through allowing you to make a more effortless recovery (as opposed to a lunges weight routine which only goes up and down with no rotation).


Anyhow, I think I've done enough rambling on about this one for now. If I can find a good video clip showing this I'll link to it in another post, but for now I'm heading back to sleep!



Back to top

From shib - 22 Feb 2008 - 22:56

can someone describe to me the footwork and stroke on the backhand? My backhand is particularly disconnected from my footwork.

Back to top

From jimbob1965 - 22 Feb 2008 - 07:13

Yes, I did not think of Youtube.  The clips are a bit grainy but it's good enough to appreciate the movement, if not where the ball is.  I have just watched a few clips and agree with your analysis Adz.  It's also the economy of movement that impresses me - how she can reach where she needs to be with a quick couple of skips, even though she looks quite short height wise.

I think I need to invest in Sky.  Is there a lot of squash shown in Sky these days and on which channel?  Just got to convince the wife that it's a good idea for the benefit of the whole family!




Back to top

From Adz - 22 Feb 2008 - 01:18

Indeed, youtube seems to have a few useful clips on there. Looking closely I think I can understand how she covers so much court space - look carefully at how often she is at full stretch in the lunge positions. It's the position of her upper body in these lunges which is so impressive. Even at full stretch she still manages to get her shoulders turning into the shot to increase the power. Very impressive, but I'm not sure how long a body can take stretching like this without getting serious wear and tear on the joints and tendons. I know if I tried to stretch like that as often as she does, I'd be retired and in an armchair in under 2 years due to my legs giving up the ghost!!


As I said, definitely worth looking at the clips of her playing. On youtube or anywhere else you can find them!






Back to top

From shib - 21 Feb 2008 - 00:45

thanks for the pointer adz, as jimbob said, it's quite hard to see womens' squash. but I looked at youtube and did find some clips of her playing. From what I see she moves very fast to the ball and back to the T, maybe her rather pronounced split step helps? yeah, and the positioning generating the power to play a shot.. definitely need to learn that. my footwork seems rather detached from my strokes.

Back to top

From jimbob1965 - 20 Feb 2008 - 02:31

Adz, I don't hve Sky so can you point me to anywhere on the net where I can download some of the top women's games as I would very much like to see what you mean re Nicol David?  I was unable to download the last Women's World Open games due to some technical issue with my set up here and there is no PSAlive equivalent yet for the women's game.

Whenever I have watched women's squash at the top level, I have always been impressed by their technique and movement, e.g. I saw the final of the Wolverhampton Open in 2006 between Laura Lengthorn and Vicky Botwright as I live not too far away from there, and it was a real game of tactics compared to the men's final, which was all about power.  Even though they can still hit the ball really hard, I get the impression that they have to rely more on their tactics and movement and so perhaps put more effort into honing these particular aspects of their game?

I see that PSAlive streamed the womens games at the recent nationals, so I may download a match or two out if interest.  Can anyone recommend a good match to take a look at?



Back to top

From Adz - 20 Feb 2008 - 01:18

You know I've been thinking recently that most of us quote male players as role models for movement and stroke actions, but after watching the squash on Sky recently I've decided that the best movement player in the world at the moment has to be Nicol David.


I'm going to briefly mention the fluidity of Ramy Ashour being something special, but this guy also has a phenominal shot capacity that most of us mere mortals can only dream about, but now I'm coming back to Nicol David. She's been world number one for a long time, and deservedly so. No disrespect intended when I say that she's quite short, so you wouldn't expect her court coverage to be as good as some of her (much taller) rivals, but there in lies the ultimate compliment: Despite her size, her movement is SO GOOD that she is still possibly the best movement player in the world.


I was sitting watching her match with Natalie Grinham and I was just blown away by her body movement and easy of court position relative to both her opponent and the ball. It becomes easy to see how such a player can be the best for such a long period of time.


Shib, sorry I can't add anything about Mike Way's movement tips, but I can honestly recommend you watch Nicol David for some visual pointers. Specifically the way that she flows into her backhand shots, the way her shoulder dips into the ball in almost any position, and the power she generates from highly effective movement.


Whilst I was in university, I was fortunate enough to meet two coaches who understood both court control and fluid movement more than any other players I have ever met. I learnt so much from them that I didn't know before, and have used this knowledge to improve my own movement, and more importantly my own understanding of movement on the squash court. I have since begun to teach my new refinements to my own students who have all made massive leaps forward in terms of how they position themselves in the court as well as to play each shot. Simply saying "get to the T" is not enough to make you have great movement and great positional play.


I'm happy to go into more detail if it's needed, but currently time is rather precious as I have loads on in work, and even more on at home!


If you want to know more I'll see what I can do to explain further in another post.





Back to top

From hamburglar - 18 Feb 2008 - 23:45

I've seen it once, and I seem to remember it's about balance and shoulder rotation.
On forehands, if you're a righty and step across with the left foot, this naturally rotates your shoulders so your back partly faces the front wall. If you step with your right foot, you must make more of an effort to rotate your shoulders to generate power. As you swing, you should bring the back foot forward, so you can shuffle the other foot back, and return to the T. Similar for the backhand, however most people step across for the backhand. You can go to the wall with both feet planted (graham ryding does this a lot) as long as you get good shoulder rotation.

Back to top

Sorry, only members can post replies on this and all other Members` Forum items.

Join Here - It`s fast and it`s free!

Check other member benefits here...

Support Squashgame

Support us here at! If you think we helped you, please consider our Squash Shop when purchasing or make a small contribution.

Products Now Available

US Squash Shop



Squash Balls


Squash Rackets

Sport and Leisure

Video Games