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Uneven use of legs

Published: 29 Jan 2009 - 14:36 by mike

Updated: 30 Jan 2009 - 13:28

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This last week or two my right leg has gotten a sore and tired very soon after getting on court. It's not painful, just a dull ache and tirdness. It seems to start about 15 mins into the first game, and I suspect I'm overusing my right leg.

I know when I'm waiting to receive serve I tend to lean onto that leg to be ready to push off. I think I picked that habbit up watching pro matches.

My preferred footwork model is to hit of the right foot pretty much everwhere except for the front right corner, where I think leading with left works better (easier to hit straight or cross court or drop).

I do a little bit of off court training, like squats and hamstring curls so my question what should I do to rebalance my lower body?

I've also been told that my muslces are much tigher on the right side, and that leg is also less flexible (hamstring).

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From adam_pberes - 30 Jan 2009 - 13:28

Sorry about that! I forgot the mention that I include the swing with part of my movement.

Whenever I think of 'ghosting' I naturally think feet movement swinging aswell.
SO what I do (front left corner) is take my 3 steps up -ending up with my right foot forward, making sure that my last step was <i>adleast</i> half a lunge, hold it for half a second, and then practice my shot.

I randomise which shot I'm going to play, I decide in that half second hold. Drop, trickle, drive, lob,crosscourt, whatevs.

And idea if you do this with a partner is as your doing your lunge/ holding is to get your partner to call out a shot!

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From rippa rit - 30 Jan 2009 - 12:02

Adam - sure that is an excellent idea, but you must go to the next step in this exercise and add the racket to the movement, followed by the full swing appropriate to the shot you have moved to play during your stroll around the court.  We don't want this really coordinated mover who then turns unco when the racket work is put into play.

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From adam_pberes - 30 Jan 2009 - 11:03

Mike-Can't be bothered putting the effort into ghosting?

SO instead of putting effort into my ghosting BY running or jogging, I don't put alot of physical effort into it.

This is how I do my ghosting:
Personally, I take 3 steps to every corner, and 1 lunge-step to the side wall from the T, thats my technique, appropriate the amount of steps to fit your style of course!

Basically, I walk around the court, doing my ghosting routines. I dont concentrate alot on doing it quickly, unnless im feeling extra motiovated. Generally, I'm not  :P but I still do them, I just walk around the court with the correct footwork, actually thinking about where my feet are going while Im doing this.

Sure, it would probs be better to do this under pressure (time/speed) But I find that this does help keep my technique that little bit better, as this is getting my body use to that technique, Even though Im just walking!


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From rippa rit - 30 Jan 2009 - 09:34

Mike - if this is a matter of leg power, the veteran of NQ squash Austin Adarraga, Snr used to go up Castle Hill in Townsville regularly as part of his training routine, and take his students with him; so, find a good steep hill, or a good set of steps to run up and down in your lunch hour, and see what happens then to your strength.  Heather McKay and Jenny Irving used to train in Sydney by running up a set of steps regularly, until exhaustion too I might add.

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From mike - 30 Jan 2009 - 08:50

Thanks for the comments guys. Ghosting has been on my list of things I should be doing for ages, but I never real feel moved to do it when I am on a court. I'm sure it would help me move in a more balanced way though.


Same with flexibility work, occasionally I'll do a stretching session, but it's quite uncomfortable and unsatisfying in the short term. An issue of discipline no doubt.

I don't think I overtrain, only playing about 3 times a week now and usually only one or two other sessions (sometimes none )

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From rippa rit - 29 Jan 2009 - 16:06

Mike - you have mentioned having a problem with your back in an earlier post, and I suspect this leg problem could be associated with your back too.  Equal use of the legs for balance would be good, as well as flexing the knees to get down to the ball. Yeah, those short boasts do kill as you run up the front to retrieve them (lots of bending and twisting).  What do I really think:

  • Have a one hour full body sports massage once a week until you loosen up all over.
  • Do more flexibility work, more regularly. Concentrate on the lower back exercises which do not have to be difficult exercises either.  The Physio will be able to give you a more specific list. By the way the AIS do one total gym session a week purely on flexibility.
  • Join a Yoga class.
  • If this problem persists, an MRI would help define the source of the problem.

Write down the specifics of your training schedule to see if there is any tendency to repetition (weight being taken by the one leg), eg overtraining, more training on the one side, more training going to the front of the court, lack of equal balance when driving the ball, running around an oval tracking with the inside leg, picking up the ball using the same leg to take the weight, etc..

Let's know how it goes.


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From adam_pberes - 29 Jan 2009 - 15:23

I use to have the same problem, except it was my left leg, as this was the leg thatI favoured all over the Court.

I went to my physio, he did some massage to help remove old scar tissue and loosen it and also gave me some stretches to do. Luckily for me, my physio also plays squash! SO he reccomended getting some coaching or doing some drills to fix up my footwork.

I started doing the star pattern ghosting drills and such, and everything down the backhand (right handed player) I played with my right leg infront, and everything down the forehand, with my left leg infront.

It hurt my right leg at first, as it wasnt use to doing as much work, but after a week of doing these patterns I found NEITHER  of my legs hurt as much. Ontop of no-pain, I found my movement was also better! :)

SO, I'd reccomend changing your footwork really, then you'll be better balanced and the pain should subside.

But either way, it sounds like you have to build up your flexibility. You said you do gym training, but have your included flexibility training into this? ANd I don't just mean A warm-up / cool-down before and after training. You shouuld try to include some flixibility sessions into your routine to help releive the pain, prevent further injuries from happening aswell.

With flexibility training, it will also allow you to work better at the gym, as your  muscles arent tight which will allow them to go through the full range of motions!

Thats my view of it all anyway...

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