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Different Strokes for Different Blokes

Published: 19 Jun 2008 - 14:00 by raystrach

Updated: 26 Jun 2008 - 07:24

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It never ceases to amaze me how people manage to play Squash. Squash is a very technical games which benefits those who can use the correct technique to its fullest extent.

And yet i have played people whose technique, accordiing to the text book at least, is woeful. I have been beaten badly by those same people. They have found a way to play which, whilst it may not suit most people, satisfies the fundamentals of Squash play. For whatever reason, the unusual way they play, still works.

This operates at all levels of course and to greater and lesser extents.

I was struck by the technique of a teenage girl i have started coaching recently. She is quite a good player with a reasonable technique. We have been doing some work on her forehand which is her major weakness. Although she hits the ball very well when in the middle of the court, the back corner is the achilles heel. She is progressing well, in making the changes to reduce this problem.

But it was on the backhand side where I noticed a real strength. I try to coach a variety of footwork styles so that the player can hit off either foot. I was pleasantly surprised when she attempted to hit off her left (non preferred) foot on that side, expecially when the ball was slightly behind her. A few years ago i was against this technique on the backhand.

Although, she felt uncomfortable doing so, I was immediately struck by how her accuracy improved once she use the left foot. When some others do it, they struggle right from the start and it takes weeks to "get it". She adapted immediately.

In this instance, it was the fact the this technique improved her shoulder position in relation to the ball. When she takes the right foot to retrieve a ball that goes behind her, she tends to turn her back on the ball, meaninig the the shoulders are no longer parallel to the side wall. She does not do this when using the other foot.

She now needs to practice this so that the discomfort subsides. She will get more accuracy and her recovery to the T will be quicker. But doing things the new way for her, will improve her game and help her get better results. Others might only use the technique occasionally because it does not add to thier game.

This really highlighted to me how individuality is of prime importance when assisting people improve their game. I remember watching a coach spend 20 minutes on getting a player to slightly change the way they were hitting a ball. The player was hitting the ball beautifully, but it did not suit the coach's picture of what the stroke should look like.

The coach would have been far better in spending the time on something that mattered.

The fundamentals are a starting point, not an end in themselves. At the end of it all, we need to ask the question. Is what i am doing going to increase my enjoyment of the game?

it does not matter who you are, the answer must always be YES!

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From rippa rit - 26 Jun 2008 - 07:24

dead_nickHow can i get to ball stay low?   Sorry I should have answered that too. Things to consider:

  • the height the ball lands on the front wall
  • the amount of spin imparted on the ball
  • the speed/power in the swing

Try out a little experiment by trying to hit the ball to land in the same spot on the court (put a foam cup or racket down on the court), then by alternately hitting, for example, 1 hard drive, 1 medium drive, 1 lob, etc. then start doing the same thing and mess with the amount of spin imported, especially on the drives, and you will get the idea.





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From rippa rit - 25 Jun 2008 - 16:15

Backspin makes the ball sit-down.  If you backspin the ball at about 20-25past on the dial (if the ball were a clock), that will impart spin.  If you hit the ball flat at 15past the shot be be relatively flat.

There is no need for grip adjustment to get the spin, provided you have the squash grip right.  However the angle of the racket  face must be controlled by the wrist/forearm.  Drop shots are good examples of this, especially when the ball is very low, and almost onto the second bounce.



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From dead_nick - 25 Jun 2008 - 14:44

How can i get to ball stay low. i see some players hit a hard ball thatinstead of bouncing high it spins and stays low. Is this due to grip adjustment or a wrist movement? 

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From rippa rit - 19 Jun 2008 - 19:14   -   Updated: 20 Jun 2008 - 07:36

I guess this means not to take away a strength in an effort to get other improvement.  Oh better still, develop a couple of different strokes to suit the strength as well as develop the weakness.

This takes me back to a student that, incidentally, became a top player in the Australian Defence Force. He had this incredibly hard, low, and flat down the line drive which won heaps of points (mostly hit from the midcourt area). It also made mistakes because of the precise nature of the shot. When I asked him to give that shot away during a match, because of the low percentage, his game fell apart.  He looked lost on the court, did not seem to enjoy the game as much, and even lacked motivation to win. The aggression and attack was lacking.  This shot obviously did a lot for his confidence when it was "on". So, I said, if that is what it means to you keep doing it, but if you hit the "tin" too often you must aim a little higher to avoid the errors.

 Note: To wack the ball hard and flat there will be grip adjustments necessary.

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