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Returning hard shots / serves

Published: 06 Feb 2005 - 00:21 by shuaib

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 10:14

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Hello All, I'm to this site so I dunno if anyone has already asked / discussed this particular problem before. A few of my friends & I have started playing squash on a weekly basis over a year now. One particular player in our group has got really powerful shots, which don't give you enough time to do a proper return, hence the return tends to be weak, in which case he then gets to hit another really powerful shot or kill, and it continues ad nauseam! My question is, is there a particular strategy that can be used to break down this style of play from such a player? Thanks!

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From raystrach - 27 Feb 2005 - 13:36

dear shuaib

thanks for the feedback on the hards shots. I am glad to see you are making progress.

i am shifting your next question to a new thread. "Can't Quite Get The Drop Shot".


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From shuaib - 27 Feb 2005 - 11:10

Hello All once again

Thanks for all the suggetions. I've tried some of these and managed to make some headway against the 'offending' player.

Now a slightly different question:
This particular player also has very strong low shots (just above the tin) which often kill off a rally - I believe it's called a Drop.

So firstly how would you counter this tactic (ie how to ensure the opponent doesn't get a lot of opportunities to hit this shot, and also, once he's hit this shot, how best to return it)?

Secondly, I have tried to master the drop for some time now, however I find whatever I have read up on this type of shot really confusing: Most squash books/websites say: Keep the racket 'open' when hitting a drop. What does this really mean? Does does the racket head need to face the ceiling? If so, does this mean you actually slice the ball? In which case I find it's difficult to accurately place the ball just above the tin.

Another thing: does the Drop come in many variations? ie are both the following shots (which I have seen being played) different types of drop shots?
1- Just above the tin, but not with a lot of power, hence it falls and dies in the front of the court.
2- A very powerful shot just above the tin, which falls some distance back from the front wall, but often killing off the rally.

Please enlighten (I do apologise for the lengthy questions!).

Thank you.


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From drop-shot - 09 Feb 2005 - 00:57

Hi there,
quoting Rita:
Trust me, control will outsmart power.

This is definitely and absolutely perfect answer and should become the motto for shuaib and the other beginners. I know from my own experience how tempting it is to hit everytime with the full speed and power ... but the better player you are the more you think and control the game. Fight for the centre of the court, volley a lot and watch the ball all the time. There will be no problems with your friend anymore.

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From raystrach - 06 Feb 2005 - 14:55

dear shuaib

what rita has said is correct, but ensure that:
  • You watch your opponent serve (watch him hit the ball) - watching the front wall as many do, reduces your reaction time.
  • do not stand too far back in the court as, depending on the angle of the serve, you will find it harder to volley
  • if you can't volley because of the angle of the serve, you may find that you need to move backwards towards the server's side of the court, to give yourself room to hit the ball. if this is the case, the server may not be able to move right to the centre of the court because he will be in the way of your shot.(you will need to move quickly after the serve is hit)

Let us know how you go.

another link: Serve and Return

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From rippa rit - 06 Feb 2005 - 09:36

Shuaib - I understand the problems you are having and it is very frustrating that is for sure. I will give you a couple of ideas:-

1. It is possible to use the power generated by your opponent to your advantage just by controlling the return shot (do not try to bash it back). By controlling your racket head and keeping the ball tight to the side walls and/or corners it will slow the hard hitter down.

2. To place the ball off a hard hit you do not need much back swing either so that makes it easier to control the racket head/face. So you are using your opponent's pace to your advantage.

3. Try to keep all straight hots within, at least, a racket length of the side wall - the closer to the side wall the better.

4. When returning cross courts aim about the middle of the front wall, give or take 1 metre, so the ball then lands in the back of the court behind the service box.

5. Lobs can also be very effective.

If you have difficulty understanding my suggestions, go to the Home Page, Library Tab, hold the cursor over Strokes & Movement and check out the Lob. Also do likewise and hold the cursor over Tactics, click the tab Shot Selection.

If you are still in trouble, and keen - well, go to Solo Drills and practice straight drives and lobs. A good Lob Serve will also make it difficult to attack. Give it a go.

Trust me, control will outsmart power.

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