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Hate the Grip/Love the Grip

The V formed by the thumb & forefinger points to the left shoulder

The V formed by the thumb & forefinger points to the left shoulder

Published: 14 Jan 2005 - 08:17 by rippa rit

Updated: 29 Oct 2007 - 07:40

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The sooner you can master the grip, the sooner your game will get on track. If you have trouble keeping the grip it will surely be something to do with the swing. Squash players use the angle of the racket face to control the speed of the ball and swinging with a grip that keeps the racket face flat does not allow for the "control" element.

To capture the finer points, get over the grip, and get on with the thrilling parts of the game.

  • The thrill of skill comes when drop shots are experienced, and boasts sit down in the front of the court. Especially when the opponent cannot retrieve the ball.

  • To get used to the correct grip, solo practice until the swing is mastered.

  • Trust me, when you get the feel of your grip/swing your game will improve out of sight.

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From rippa rit - 29 Oct 2007 - 07:36   -   Updated: 29 Oct 2007 - 07:40

aprice - you answered your own question here?

OK you need to practice more and not play so much to win.  A winning game will be, for example,  one where you hit 3, 4, or 5 accurate returns of serve. Ideally, a whole session of restricted games, or pair drills would be beneficial incorporating these shots you mention.  Repeat each drill a dozen times, and then when there is ten minutes to go play a game and relax.

Say, start with the return of serve. What?

  • Go to the Squash Library/StrokesMovement/Return Serve.
  • Get all the key points.
  • Where to stand.
  • How to move into position (parallel to the side wall).
  • Target point on the front wall (suggest the aiming point be about a racket length from the side wall to start with and slowly get it tighter).
  • Take a look at the volley/return of serve videos to visualise what you are trying to achieve, eg racket preparation, swing.

It will come if you are very persistent and methodical with your training. The more balls you hit the more you are training your perceptive motor skills.

Here is an article which I think you will appreciate that will help you understand what I am trying to bring into your skill, as there is a sequence necesssary to put this whole thing together into a whole piece....true.

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From aprice1985 - 28 Oct 2007 - 21:32

My game might be ready to play tactically but the mind is not!  I make mistakes on the return of serve (too wide), i miss drop shots, never lob and pick the wrong shots when the ball is mid court, i never manage to keep rallies going.  Maybe i will start a blog "how not to play and learn squash"!

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From rippa rit - 13 Oct 2007 - 13:42   -   Updated: 13 Oct 2007 - 13:44

aprice - I miss those little smilies in the browser, as this remark gets the thumbs up!

Now that you are comfortable with the grip your game will be ready, or should I say more receptive, to play tactically.  Your journey through to this point would make an interesting read?

Any comments on the suggestion or renaming the article "Love the Grip"?

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From aprice1985 - 13 Oct 2007 - 08:31

I would like to have this article renamed "love the grip" as i have changed in the last year to a proper open grip from a much more closed one and it makes such a difference and retrieving is so much easier, i cant imagine ever going back to the old ways!

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From rippa rit - 13 Oct 2007 - 08:15

Sagey - and besides squash is so attractive because all your "lousy shots" come back into the court, and you do not have to go fox 'em.  Without the correct grip it is most likely the "tin" will get a fair share of the shots though. 

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From SuperSage666 - 05 Mar 2007 - 20:38

2 true Rippa: Also, the very high front wall aids variety. 

I think it was Nazrulla Khan (but I may be mistaken ( 2 long ago ) who gave the advice to his students: "You have been gifted with a huge front wall, use all of it, not just the few inches above the tin".

Maybe he had students like moi, who, for the first year did nothing else but crack the ball low and hard.   Didn't bother to learn how to lob a ball until twelve years later.

Though, I think this is getting away from the grip thread.

Keep yr face open,




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From rippa rit - 05 Mar 2007 - 17:26

Sagey - the fact that the tin is not too far off the floor makes all the difference to lots of things.

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From SuperSage666 - 04 Mar 2007 - 21:03   -   Updated: 04 Mar 2007 - 21:42

Yes, Rippa, I read that book too, though many years ago.

I've read quite a few other coaching and general squash information books as well, some mention the more open grip.  Though I sat in on a coaching clinic about eight years ago where a coach showed me what he called the Jahangir grip, which starts as the standard "Shake Hands Grip" with the racket opened an extra 8 degrees.   I found it very uncomfortable, but some juniors that play a lot of tennis and table-tennis found it impossible to stop themselves from rolling their wrist over, though just a fraction.   The extra 8 degrees seemed to compensate for this slight roll and created some pretty accurate shots from these kids.   I cannot use it myself, because it feels so  uncomfortable due to my  old racket handle's rather square cross section, when I get a racket with a round handle cross-secion, then I think that grip will be easier to maintain.  Most of the newer rackets are suitable for this grip.

Something else about stokes and racket angles I came across recently.

A study that came to light in the last Coaches Conference showed that a study of all the worlds best tennis players, found that; At impact with the ball (regardless of spin) on their best or most consistently accurate shots: The racket was almost perfectly vertical and in a horizontal plane that was tangential or 90 degrees to the line directly to the target.  The initial follow through followed this line.  

In other words: The initial ball  impact of a great shot is almost vertical and in line with the target, the racket then moves angular to create the particular spin required.   

My observation differs greatly from this study, as I often see their rackets moving upwards to impart a top-spin, but not all these shots are their best.  There may be something useful in this study after all.    It does seem somewhat practical. 

Though tennis is mostly ground strokes, for squash, both the vertical and horizontal planes should probably be 90 degrees to the line from the target.  As I put it to my friends, racket face towards the target at impact and initially moving directly towards that target.  Mmmmmm, sounds like what we have been instructing players  to do for the last 30 years. 




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From rippa rit - 27 Feb 2007 - 21:49   -   Updated: 27 Feb 2007 - 21:52

Sagey - just to keep this going, this bit of your post is a bit intriguing -  "I have found some players perform better with what some call the 'Jahangir grip' (racket more open  on the forehand than the traditional squash grip)."

Sagey - the racket has to be more open on both the forehand and backhand no matter how you hold the racket.  Hopefully at the same time have a controlled wrist.  The degree at which it is open when striking the ball will depend on the shot, as well as the height of the ball at the time of impact.

Clearly, open face shots are boast, drop shot and lob. 

So, the next question is, if you do not have an open face racket what shots are left to play? How much variety will there be in the game?  etc etc

On Jahangir's grip (from his book I just got from the 2nd hand shop) he has a very short hold on the grip (choking the racket) with about 2.5 inches of the handle showing below the grip in fact.  And when Rodney Martin came back from his overseas tour he also changed his grip to what looked like he copied Jahangir.

Quote from Google "Rodney Martin: - 1991 World Champion beating Jahangir Khan in the final."

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From SuperSage666 - 27 Feb 2007 - 20:07

I think that the correct squash grip is extremely important.

Though I have found some players perform better with what some call the 'Jahangir grip' (racket more open  on the forehand than the traditional squash grip).   As I have coached tennis players who tend to use their wrist to open up the racket face for squash, rather than have a grip with an already slightly open face.   As soon as they get tired, their brain appears to forget this wrist movement and they start consistently finding the tin or the floor.  

So my message has always been to them: 'Lose the tennis grip, adopt the squash grip and give the brain one less movement to forget.  

Because, when under pressure or tired, the brain will forget unfamiliar or semiconscious movements and cause unforced errors.    With a grip that does not require extra wrist movements to be consistent, then your shots will more likely stay consistent under pressure or through tiredness.  



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From rippa rit - 26 Feb 2007 - 17:43

Just a word for tennis players on this one.
So the tennis player changes the grip, so they think, and proceed to twist the wrist in such a fashion as to still really have the same grip as previously.  This really prevents the swing from developing, and the shot remains a sort of jab, and the elbow sticks out further preventing the swing from happening.
Any player that has a flat face on the backswing will surely not have the correct swing and most likely the correct grip either.

It is most unlikely playing will fix this swing and grip problem.
I suggest, get the racket, take the correct grip, move around pretending to swing and hit an imaginary ball (ghosting).  Lunging around of course, not standing upright.
It is near impossible to change a bad habit when 6 key things have to be addressed at the same time, especially while tearing around the court avoiding running into the walls, and of course, I forgot to mention, hitting the ball too.

Boring.  Yes, but it is the easy way to learn how to do it. 
The sequency of movement is the key to getting it right, eg
Watch the ball - racket back - feet into position - wait - hit.

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From rippa rit - 26 Oct 2006 - 07:34

tbacon - I do not quite understand the points you are making - so I must be missing something.
You are comparing tennis and squash?
Before I go any further is it a biomechanical analysis we are looking at?
Are we comparing grips? Or swings? Or court movement? Or maybe footwork?
Are you disagreeing with the grip and suggesting we change our grips playing squash?

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From tbacon - 25 Oct 2006 - 12:35   -   Updated: 25 Oct 2006 - 12:35

Grip changes towards the wonderful grip recommended above involve:

1) the actual grip change;
2) change in impact pt (e.g., from tennis eastern to squash moves impact pt. back in stance);
3) change in swing path (e.g., tennis forehand path is level leadinng with palm; squash FH starts down and then levels leading with ede of hand 9or butt of racquet).
4) and perhaps in some cases - necessitates a change in distance from the ball (further away with proper grip).

So changing grip is not enough!

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