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Split Step

Published: 18 Apr 2008 - 19:37 by doubleDOT

Updated: 22 May 2008 - 23:38

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Can anyone please explain the split step to me?

I've tried searching on the internet and I couldn't find any results that explained it in detail. Also, I've heard there are two types of split steps in squash.

It would be really nice if someone could also post some drills to practice the split step.


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From doubleDOT - 22 May 2008 - 23:38

Thank you raystrach. It really helped

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From raystrach - 22 May 2008 - 10:40

hi doubledot

sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your latest comment (i am working my way through a long to do list). you have it pretty right but i would make some important distinctions. these are more around the thinking behing this style of movement.

The split step is important because it provides a solid base to perform skills eg

  • quick take off in any direction
  • hitting a ball with balance

it is also important because it can provide quick movement to position yourself (eg in the back corners) when not a lot of time is available to you.

just to comment on some of the points you have made, the following might seem picky, but i think i need to make some small but important distinctions:

  • your comment about point of impact is not quite right, it is actually about individual perception. the pros will do it far earlier than beginners.
    • the pros will do it before impact, timed so that by the time they know where the ball is going they know which movement to make after the split step
    • it will be timed so well, that the bottom of the resultant dip, is the point at which they know the direction and speed they must travel
    • as you perception skills get poorer this will be later. maybe just before or at the point of impact for the top players, well after the point of impact for beginners.
    • this is where changes in pace can affect the pros (shabana is a master of it) - they can change the rythym almost imperceptably which throws their opponent out of whack.
  • i would also like to correct point 3 - this should be practised as part of basic technique, not after you have learnt it.
  • it does not have to be used all the time but it certainly helps, especially when your judgement in the back corners is not so good, or when the ball does something unexpected.
  • the real skill at a higher level, comes in doing it when it is needed most.

sorry to be so picky, but i think these are important distinctions

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From doubleDOT - 27 Apr 2008 - 13:54

So correct me here if I'm wrong.

The two type of split steps in squash I've heard about are

1. The split step when a player lands on the balls of his feet and gets ready to take off after the ball. This is synchronized with the point of impact of the opponent with the ball.

2. The second kind of split step is when the player gets to the back corner to retrieve the ball and does a little hop to get into the proper position before playing the shot (the position taught in the library when retrieving from the back corner).

3.  The split step should be practiced only after the basic movement and footwork has been perfected.

4. Somebody said it is not always possible to split step. I take it this is the split step when retrieving from the back corner because in all the videos of pros I've seen, they always do a split step before taking off (90% of the time).


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From rippa rit - 24 Apr 2008 - 07:48

rskting - I tend to agree with you.  It would be hard during a match to say that you will use a split step as all things have to be right for that particular shot to enable use of the split step, eg approach to the back corner, distance from the ball, time to get in position.  Then, it just happens or falls into place as a player gets more experience.  It is a great movement skill to have many return options depending on the circumstances.

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From rskting - 24 Apr 2008 - 03:29

ah yes, the splitostep. In my experience it is very hard to learn. Natural athletes do it unknowningly. The advantage is huge with the split step because your body is ready to go in the direction right after the split landing. However it must be done right before opponent hits the ball, so it must be matched with the point of impact.

There is also single foot split step for even faster response when pushing off on one foot. However, I am a believer that split step is a natural element and teaching or learning is going to be very difficult and never as efficient.

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From jimbob1965 - 22 Apr 2008 - 06:28

After reading more about the use of the split step by the pros as the opponent strikes the ball in the other posting, I thought I would try this during a pairs drill session over the weekend.  I have to say that it does seem to keep you on your toes, which made it feel like I was reacting quicker to my opponent's shots.  Mind you, it was a drills session so I had more time to think about it, in conjunction with all the other stuff you have to think about.

In fact, I have just come from the courts tonight after playing a match and in the heat of the battle of a league game, it all just went out of the window after the first point or two!  I can see it is going to take a lot of practice time to get this to naturally become part of my movement, but I would say, based on this weekend's experience, it is perhaps worth the effort!



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From rippa rit - 20 Apr 2008 - 08:46

Sorry I forgot to mention this in my earlier post. 

For Gold members here is is a short  video clip of Zac Alexander showing a split step on a Forehand back corner recovery. 

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From noddy - 20 Apr 2008 - 06:07

Just to add to what other people have already said, one of the main purposes of the split step is to transfer your weight onto the correct foot ready to move. If you are moving into the back corner on your forehand side (for a right hander) you widen your stance slightly transfering your weight onto your left foot then push off for your side to side step towards the back of the court.

The split step isn't something that comes easily, it needs to be practised constantly as part of your ghosting and movement training. In a match situation it's usually the last thing that needs to be added to correct movement. If your movement isn't up to scratch you should concentrate on improving this first before working on a split step.

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From alantaylor268 - 20 Apr 2008 - 00:09

Hi there,

I recently bought a dvd called power squash volume 4.  At the end of the dvd is a section explaining the split step.  The content prior to split step (about 25 mins) desrcibs movement into both back corners and includes ghosting.  DVD was quiote expensive however in my case has been very useful



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From rippa rit - 18 Apr 2008 - 23:27

Check out the "Relevant Content" tab ... here is the link to the post Split Step

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From Adz - 18 Apr 2008 - 23:22

Well basically it involves hopping on both feet at the same time, slightly spreading them for landing. The timing of the landing co-incides with the opponent striking the ball.


The hop allows you to move off quicker to retrive the ball.


If you watch allof the top current pros, they all do it. Just as the opponent swings they jump up slightly widening their legs apart.


Check youtube for some video clips.


As for there being two different types in squash, I have no idea. Technically a side split and a length split could be classed as different, but the theory is essentially the same.






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Thanks a lot!!!I will have a lot of rest from now on. Your help is really a huge inspiration. Thanks.

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