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Rotation of shoulders

Published: 11 Aug 2008 - 09:13 by doubleDOT

Updated: 25 Sep 2008 - 20:21

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Hi everyone,

I've had a lot of people telling me to bend my shoulders and have a high backlift for a proper squash swing. One person at the courts told me that my stroke should not be "determined" and that my hand should move freely with my upper body. I guess what he meant was something I've read in a lot of places: get the power in the stroke from the shoulders.


I've checked out the images in the library and watched some videos of the pros and I've seen that the rotation of the upper body is not as pronounced as some people say it should be (the upper body should be almost facing the back wall for a forehand drive), even when the players have plenty of time to play the shot. Also contrary to what that guy told me the movement of the arm is very much "determined" and independant from the body.


Which swing would you people consider better and more effective? I've been practicing without rotating the shoulders too much so far and haven't been able to get TOO much power into the shots, something the coaches at the courts often point out to me.



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From rippa rit - 27 Aug 2008 - 08:27   -   Updated: 27 Aug 2008 - 08:29

This is a good photo of James Willstrop preparing for a mid-height volley.  Note the balanced stance (see the left arm, weight on the front foot),  controlled arm (the shape of the "tool"), height of the ball (as he moves to take the shot).  There will be very limited rotation of shoulders if accuracy is the requirement.

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From rippa rit - 17 Aug 2008 - 09:25

DD - at this link you will see two photos that are very specific to the shoulder movement and body rotation as the players move into position.   Notice the further back into the back corner the ball goes the more the body/shoulders need to twist to get into position.  The speed at which the ball is travelling will also be taken into consideration.  The balance/footwork will then vary depending on how tight/low the ball is into the corner, and whether the balance will primarily be on one leg or both.

At a tournament last weekend the really top players kept the ball flying around the court, then when I went to watch the Graded players the ball sounded like a "big frog hitting the floor with a plop sound", and this will make a big difference to the amount of backswing/shoulder rotation/lunge and racket preparation to retrieve deep shots as there will be a huge loss of speed on the rebound of the ball.

Can you relate to my points?

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From rippa rit - 14 Aug 2008 - 07:48

doubledot - I just had a thought about your comment "bend my shoulders".  It is difficult to bend your shoulders without flexing your torso and dropping one shoulder. The sort of flexion you need is like, eg put your right elbow on your left knee, and that sort of takes you into a backswing position; notice then your knees bend, your shoulders turn as your hips/torso flexes; that is an exercise I have used to give students the feel of the movement.  Repeat that same exercise on the opposite side. 

How easy this becomes will depend to some extent on your build, eg stocky, lean, flexible.

The trick, as Raystrach points out, is to get the required relaxed movement and at the same time control the wrist, arm, racket head, and swing.  For soft and high controlled shots down the "line" (shots you use to get back into position at the T) you do not need the power and require less momentum/power in the swing.


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From raystrach - 12 Aug 2008 - 08:35   -   Updated: 13 Aug 2008 - 08:25

more power yes, but less control becasue there are move moving parts which are rotating.

the pros tend to get their power from swing speed and timing with significant but limited rotation of the shoulder and hips.

these parts(hips and shoulder) have the effect of kick starting then accelerating the final part of the swing which is the forearm snap (pronation, supination) you must start with an open face racket for it to be truly effective and consistant.

in theory, (uni research theory that is) the most power is obtained by keeping the shoulders parallel to the direction of the hit and by tranferring body weight in the same direction. i would not be separating out the arm from the rest, rather, separate out from the point of the  hips.

from the hips down is the transportation vehicle and operational platform - it  has to move the top bit around the court efficiently and when it get there, needs to provide a solid balanced platform from which to work.

  • at most times the shoulders will be relatively parallel to the side wall except
  • at the back wall where they will be turned towards the back wall at up to about 45 degrees (look for back corners articles in "relevant content")
  • at the front court especially on the forehand where they may be  turned right around when we are stretching forward to recover a very short shot
  • just remember there are always exceptions when you do anything just tp get the ball back
  • on the forehand there is generally less of a need to keep the shoulders in this direction

To improve your power,  practice a side arm throw on the forehand (not unlike a baseball pitch or skimming a stone on a pond) and the slinging action on the backhand (not unlike slinging a frisbee)

finally, you must keep a firm grip of the racket and a firm wrist. often there is too must unwanted movement in the racket head at the point of impact. this results in a less than "clean" hit.

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