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open racquet face vs. cutting ball

Published: 06 Mar 2005 - 07:16 by bonito

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 10:24

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I am a fairly experienced player and play at a fairly high level. Both my parents were good squash players and I have been taught the game for the mostpart by them. However, I have been questioning myself in some of the things they have emphasized, and there seems to be many different schools of thought in many things.

I have generally been taught to put a lot of cut on the ball, and to do so with a very open racquet face. I know it is generally agreed to have the racquet face open when hitting the ball...but how open? When I have a very open face, if I try hitting the ball hard, the backspin from the very open face I hit with usually results in the ball biting down when it hits the front wall and I believe it makes it easier to cut off at the midcourt. It also seems to prevent me from turning my forearm (hand) through the ball on impact resulting in me having to swing harder to get the same power I would get with just a slightly open racquet face. Is what I am saying off base? Is there certain situations where you would want to open the face up very open and really try to cut the ball? What are players exeriences here?

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From rippa rit - 08 Mar 2005 - 08:47

Hello Bonito - I have been reading over the posts and wondering if we have overlooked some very basic points, as follows:

1. It is imperative to have the correct grip, otherwise none of what we have spoken about will work.
2. An open face is such an advantage because:
(a) it gives lift to all the low bouncing shots;
(b) the backspin slows the ball down (also beneficial on a
hot day when the ball just seems to keep jumping up);
(c) the spin makes the shots into the front corner nicks
sit down;
(d) for deception, it can fool the opponent who is
expecting length, and the ball lands short and low;
(e) prevents the number of errors (tin shots);

Finally, you could say it makes delicate shots sweeter!

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From raystrach - 06 Mar 2005 - 23:02

dear bonito

two main points:
  • if you are being cut off midcourt one of (or a combination of) a few things are happening -
    • you are aiming too low which means hitting too short
    • you are too predictable - maybe too many straight or crosscourt without variation - try throwing in a few high deep lobs
    • you are being read too easily, giving out too many cues when hitting. can you play a two wall boast and a deep drive from the same preparation?

  • if you do not have an open racket face when rotating the forearm on the drive, your preparation is probably too closed
    • take a look at some of the top players when preparing - the racket face is often parallel to the floor
    • some of our pictures in the library show a very open racket face which closes as the stroke is made
    • also take a look at the squashinfo posts "pronation/supination by rita et al and the guru's "open face is a winner".
    • it is my experience that people usually have a more closed face on preparation than they think they have!

    let us know if this makes any sense!

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From rippa rit - 06 Mar 2005 - 08:06

Bonito - I can understand your question and confusion about the open racket face. I got 3 main points from your post,eg

1. Racket face, how open? The angle of the racket face depends on the distance from the front wall, the height of the ball, and the target on the front wall. So, just do a little exercise for me please - stand at various distances from the front wall, the ball at various heights, make a target on the front wall suitable for the proposed shot, eg lob, drop, drive; draw a straight line from the sweet spot on the racket face to the front wall target - that will give the angle of the racket face.

2. Open racket face shots (no forearm rotation) - lob/toss, drop shot, stop volley, lob service, boast.

3. Open racket face shots (forearm rotation) - drives, hard serves.

Bonito, this is a fairly good guide, and as you get more confidence experiment a little with the angle and forearm rotation. One thing I know for sure is the lower the ball, the greater angle of the racket face, and the less forearm rotation. Why? To get the ball above the "tin" (get the height on the front wall).

When you have done a few experiments plesse let us know how it went. Good luck with that.

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