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Dealing with Power shots

Published: 14 Nov 2008 - 09:21 by snuffy

Updated: 25 Nov 2008 - 15:46

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Hi!

Any suggestions for how to deal with hard power shots?

I seem to be really intimitated by hard shots. Even when they are hit right to me, I usually cough up a loose ball to the middle of the court.

Should I move out of the way and let the ball bounce of the back wall (just to give me some more time).

Any solo practice drills for dealing with hard shots?

 

Thanks!

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From snuffy - 25 Nov 2008 - 15:46

Thanks for the tips guys.

I took a couple of lessons with a "pro".  He noticed a couple of probems that affect my accuracy and power when under pressure from a hard hitter.

The first problem occurs on the backhand. I do not "cock the wrist". i.e. the racquet is not pointing to the sky at 90 degrees. Rather its more like 30 degrees. I dont know why, but my wrist feels "tight" when i put the racquet at 90 degrees. My grip is "decent" and I have looked at the grip resources on this site. I Could use more of a finger spread for a better V.

Any tips for getting prepared early (on backhand)? My pro gave me some drills so I can "freeze" in proper position for a millesecond before hitting the ball. Just to think about it.

Second problem is related to the first. Not in a good position when I get to the ball. My racquet should be up quicker...

 

Thanks!

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From drop-shot - 19 Nov 2008 - 09:20   -   Updated: 19 Nov 2008 - 09:54

"Any suggestions for how to deal with hard power shots?"

Well, I'll try once more (recently I got 404 Error if I try to post a reply here)

In my humble opinion yo do not really need these long answers. Squash is pretty simple game in a way.

I think I still recall one of the most important topics touched here -"Don't Like It - Don't Feed It..." and based on that I would say - do not give him/her opportunities to play power-squash. What do I mean by that???

1. Play soft - lobs and drops to the corners will take away the power from the opponent's racket;

2. Try to play tight balls (right, I said TRY  )

3. Do not get into whack-war

... and make it comfortable for you, step-by-step. If you want to make everything at once, you'll do nothing...

Cheers.

 

 

 

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From raystrach - 17 Nov 2008 - 10:59

hi snuffy

just a couple of points that might clarify all the advice that has been provided below.

as i have said numerous times in this forum in one way or another, time is one of the big determining factors in how well you play. giving yourself more time to hit your shots and giving less time for your opponent to hit theirs.

there are three main areas where you can give yourself the necessary time to make a good return from a power shot.

  1. the speed and placement of your hit
  2. the time at which you know the way the ball will be travelling
  3. the time it takes you to prepare and produce your shot

all the things that have been suggested below must be directed at one of these three areas

Your Hit

adz and rita have said it previously in a possibly different way. the harder you it to your opponent, the quicker the ball will return to you.

so hitting the ball to the corners (mainly back corners) and away from the opponent will give you more time to prepare for the next shot

Which Way Is It Going

You need to look for all the cues in the swing and positioning of your opponent so that you can judge early where the ball is headed for there is plenty of info available in the court movement section on this. the earlier you know, the quicker you can prepare

Speed of Preparation

98% of squash players prepare too late for their shot. you are almost certainly on of those. what a lot of the skill work which has been suggested below does, is to improve the technique. you should specifically work on your preparation technique. preparation must be early, and usually a lot earlier than you think it needs to be. (trust me on this - over 25 years of coaching and it is nearly always the case)

the other thing that early preparation does, is to bring the racket head under control. most people have only marginal control over the racket head at point of impact, that is why the ball is sprayed all over the place.

the last element to this element is the production of the shot. most people hit too flat, which makes it extremely difficult to direct the ball with any consistancy. open the racket face to control the ball more.

that should give you something to work on for the next few years!!

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From Adz - 16 Nov 2008 - 07:03

Don't forget I wasn't talking about the standard figure-8 routine. By adding the kills and pick-ups it develops into a much more worthwhile routine.

 

Picking up the shots acurately and consistently is extremely difficult but something that you should spend time practising.

 

Also, if you're playing a hard hitter you should work on keeping the ball as tight as possible. If it's on the wall then they can't swing wildly at it!

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From mike - 15 Nov 2008 - 22:26

Automatically returning a hard shot in kind is an instinct you must control. YOUR shot is your decision so be deliberate about it. A hard response could work, but make sure it's you, not your opponent that decides for you. Often playing the opposite works well. A tight, slower game with awkward lobs can distrupt a hard-hitters rhythm and force errors from them.

 

"Whats your thoughts on the Figure-8 drill? Should this be a core solo routine? I havent incorporated this into my own solo routine, but going forward I'll try to work it in. For your info i'm probably a mid-D player."

I have nothing against the figure 8 drill, but personally I don't think it's a core skill. It's quite difficult, especially doing volleyed figure 8s, so there are probably better focuses for your time. No harm in doing it for fun though, or to guage your improvement, but I wouldn't spend too much time trying to get them happening. Continous straight volleys may be a better intermediate step to learn control without the complexity of angles. (I can't do 8s consistently myself )

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From snuffy - 15 Nov 2008 - 08:32

Fantastic info! Thanks ADZ, Rippa Rit and Mike. It will take me a while to digest all the info. I'll work on some of the solo drills to get accustomed to reacting to hard shots.

My first instinct when playing a hard-hitting opponent is to hit hard. This usually ends up in loose balls down the middle or late hits where the ball hits the wall then hits the side-wall ending up down the middle.

The que points of "CONTROL" is great. I'll actually write this down and have it in my bag for review in-between sets.

Whats your thoughts on the Figure-8 drill? Should this be a core solo routine? I havent incorporated this into my own solo routine, but going forward I'll try to work it in. For your info i'm probably a mid-D player.

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From Adz - 14 Nov 2008 - 21:55   -   Updated: 14 Nov 2008 - 21:58

Snuffy,

The skill levels of your opponent will make a huge difference when it comes to power. Anyone with enough speed in their swing, or a bulky body type, can put power into the ball. But the big difference comes when dealing with someone who can add direction to it! An opponent who can mix power and direction can cause all sorts of problems, and my only advice would be to get into the best position you can and retrieve from there.

Some nice drills I've worked on before: Start with the front court figure-8 routine, where you stand on the T and play the ball off the front, onto the side so it comes back to you on the T, and you then play it onto the other side of the court to make a looping pattern. Add into this volley-kills, but here's where the retrieval bit comes in....... Pick up the kills back into the loop. I don't think I'm explaning this very well, but basically you'll be hitting volley kills and immediately retrieving the ball back into position. This will get you used to picking up shots low down and quickly with CONTROL. That's the word you must keep in your head.... CONTROL. If you have it then you can pick up the shots and actually do something with the ball. When the opponent hits hard and low you can retrieve high and soft, giving yourself more time to get back into a good position. Every fraction of a second counts so get yourself used to softly lifting the ball to give yourself more time.

 

Now it's a different ball game with someone who cannot direct their power-play. Usually you find that the "bashers" (as Rita called them), will only play power shots in certain directions (the hard cross-court drive is a normal one). This is becuase they "hack" at the ball instead of using a good swing which limits the directions that they can place the ball. To generate power you have to move the body in an ergonomic way and this leads them to twist the trunk naturally and alot of these plays will take the ball in front of themselves leading to a crosscourt shot (especially on the forehand!).

 

Now this is VERY important to allow you to get into a good position before they play the ball. You can get yourself prepared to return their shots. Now the one thing I tell the people I coach when they get to a certain level of opponent, is to NEVER HIT THE BALL FASTER THAN YOU CAN RUN. Playing quick thinking opponents means the ball will be back at you quicker than you can recover your position. Hard hitting players (ones who aren't of a very high standard) cannot recover their position quick enough. Often they're left way out of place on the court giving you space to kill the ralley off there and then with the right shot selection, especially if you moved into the right positions to begin with.

 

Now I'm not for a second saying that all this is easy to do. It can take a long time to learn to read the opponents shot direction, gather a shot arsenal to kill the ralley and to learnt o retrieve those low hard shots effectively. But once you've started to do it, power players will no longer be a worry. In fact you'll love playing them because they'll put the ball on your racquet time after time and the match will become virtually effortless!

 

That's when you move up in standard and have to start worrying about people who hit the ball faster than you can see directly in the nick. I have one to play in 3 weeks time and I'm not looking forward to it either!!

 

Cheers!

 

Adz

 

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From rippa rit - 14 Nov 2008 - 16:38

Snuffy - this link is a good read and has lots of good info about your opponent and how to deal with what he dishes out, including hitting hard (maybe even bashing).

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From mike - 14 Nov 2008 - 14:23

If the ball is going to bounce off the back wall you may well be better off leaving it and giving yourself time to play a more controlled shot. A bad shot hit early is worse than a good shot hit later, even if your opponent has more time to recover as well.

 

As for practice doing something with a partner will probably be of the most benefit, however I think you can still improve with solo practice.

Once you are well warmed up (i.e have spent some time hitting standard length to get a feel for the ball) try hitting hard yourself. If you can get comfortable at watching the ball at pace, making quick shot decisions and still hit a controlled (hard) shot you won't be so intimidated in a match situation.  The trick is to have your mind ready to make decisions quickly so you can still exercise some sort of ball placement despite the pace.

 

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