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Adding power to the backhand

Published: 29 Jan 2009 - 14:55 by italguy10

Updated: 13 Feb 2009 - 11:16

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I am having trouble adding power to my backhand. I'm fine on the forehand, but my power on the backhand is weak in comparison. Help!!!!! Do you have any good teaching cues?

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From MarkG - 13 Feb 2009 - 11:16

Absolutely agree with your student.  I guess its about building on top of what you can already do.  It's funny that when I read back over previous posts its normaly a key word here and there that creates that, "oh, thats it" kind of feeling.  For me knowing that I cannot open the racquet too much on the backswing of powerful drives has made all the difference.  Once I get that key image I can get the feel.  I'm not sure where it came from initially, but I have this image in my mind of Lee Beachill's backhand backswing (there's a few good pics on google images) looks spot on, at least to me.  It's important to have the confidence that you are on the right track, and this forum helps in achieving that.  Thanks for all of your help.


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From rippa rit - 13 Feb 2009 - 07:59

MarkG - Raystrach has our e-coaching coming on line any time now and you will be able to send us a short video of your swing, etc.  Providing you have the key concepts in your mind the swing should gradually improve, until it feels automatic.  All fundamentals need to be revisited by all players, as we do get slack, especially when playing games to win all the time, and devote no time to skills training. All our tabs in the browser have a heap of info brought to you in different senarios so keep reading through them. The more you play, the more sense the words will make.

As my student said (a mature aged woman), I heard what you said a few weeks ago, but now I know what you mean. Sometimes the real context takes a while to actually sink in.


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From MarkG - 12 Feb 2009 - 23:27

Couldn't agree more Rippa Rit.  Although my initial post may have given an academic slant, I have been on the court doing the hard work.  In doing so, I thought I had it figured out until I started having lessons!  I have been playing or practising five days a week since Christmas, and quite a bit before then.  I have worked a great deal on the fundamentals, especially forehand/backhand drives and I feel pretty close now to where I want to be.  The technical questions are generated from my own practice, in order to clarify the last bits I'm not 100% sure of so that I don't groove incorrect fundamentals.  I'm enjoying the process.

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From rippa rit - 12 Feb 2009 - 19:57

aprice - re Sarah's swing.  Her swing is not termed excessive in that the elbow is always bent (backswing) and she takes a full follow-through (though still ends up with her racket head up), and at times she may use her body to position herself so she can take a full stroke at the ball.  With that swing she can sure crack the ball, and in particular the high backhand volley which is not an easy shot to perfect. Sarah is very quick around the court, always gets in position and ready early, and cuts off every ball she can from the middle which is quite intimidating.

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From rippa rit - 12 Feb 2009 - 19:45

MarkG - I think you have an idea of what I am saying, eg the purpose of the length of the backswing, the speed of the swing, why the open face is desirable, which shots need an open racket, how the height on the front wall is determined by the angle of the racket face on contact with the ball .  Now I think it is time to go on court, with the printout if necessary, and experiment with the swing under many situations, ie in the front of the court, mid court, off the back wall, with a ball that bounces at various heights, and also with a ball that is tight to the wall and one that is at least a metre from the side wall.

Just drop the ball, or throw the ball onto the side wall softly and let it drop, and you will get a good feed to practice these situations.   In the Library there is a Shot Selection chapter, there is a Troubleshooting section for further reading.

Let's know how it goes.  It is impossible to expect to be able to do these things automatically and all of these situations need a heap of practice.  Always try to practice the correct shot off the right ball.

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From MarkG - 12 Feb 2009 - 16:07   -   Updated: 12 Feb 2009 - 19:30

Thanks Rippa Rit for going through it bit by bit...very much appreciated.  All makes sense.    I was practicing yesterday and was pretty excited with how things were going - so I don’t get into bad habits with my practice, could I clarify….


“The more power you want in the swing,  the more rotation of the forearm you need.  If you do not open the racket face the amount of rotation will be limited by that factor.”  Forearm rotation is the key, both the amount and the speed.  I take it that to maxmise power, you should rotate the forearm to its maximum in the backswing.  Do you recommend going to the maximum or just short of it?  Also with the speed of the forearm rotation on the throughswing, do you have any advice on maximizing the snap without over doing it (closing the racquet face too much)?


 “The speed of the swing/rotation creates more power; if control is the primary concern (and not power) it is better to slow down the swing; if you do not open the racket how will you get under the ball to lift it to length when there is reduced power?  Remember it is the height on the front wall that gives length.”  As you say the racquet face must be open, so if you’re reducing power on a shot, which would you recommend:  opening that racquet face a little less (still open), and so reducing forearm rotation; or keeping the same amount of forearm rotation and just slowing down the stroke?


Thanks again, Mark

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From rippa rit - 12 Feb 2009 - 13:42   -   Updated: 12 Feb 2009 - 13:53

MarkG - Taking your questions one at a time:

In order to produce more forearm rotation and power, is there a limit on how much you should open the face on the backswing, other than having the backswing look the same for all shots? The more power you want in the swing,  the more rotation of the forearm you need.  If you do not open the racket face the amount of rotation will be limited by that factor.

2.      With increased forearm rotation is it still desirable to impact the ball with a slightly open racquet face? Generally yes, depending on the height of the ball at the point of impact (all relative to the height of the "tin" and the distance the ball has to travel; then dependent if it is a short or long shot you are hitting). You cannot get backspin on the ball if the impact of the ball with the racket is flat.

3.       On the backhand side, my coach has said that it’s not the same as the forehand, and the racquet face should be open very little, if at all in the backswing, and at impact the racquet should likewise not be open (square). By square that could mean at rightangles to the side wall, but that is nothing to do with open or closed racket face. You can have your racket square to the side wall and open.  I do not understand what your Coach is talking about and of course I do not want to contradict your coach. I don’t quite understand this as even more so on the backhand side, forearm rotation seems critical to generate power.  And having a slightly open racquet face at impact seems to control the ball better especially from the deep back court. I don't know about the open racket controlling the ball, but it does alter the trajectory on the front or side wall. Are there any differences with forearm rotation and racquet face angle between the forehand and backhand?  Not really.


I note in the ‘hitting with an open a face’ post, forearm rotation applies to drives only.  I understand that with the lob and drop, but was wondering about variations regarding the boast if the ball is at a reasonable height?  The ball would need to be high to not open the racket face on a boast or drop shot, and then it becomes a different type of stroke to the basic - short sharp shot. Also, on drives when wanting more control, is it advisable to reduce the amount of forearm rotation? The speed of the swing/rotation creates more power; if control is the primary concern (and not power) it is better to slow down the swing; if you do not open the racket how will you get under the ball to lift it to length when there is reduced power?  Remember it is the height on the front wall that gives length. Or as Daveamour mentions in order to have the ball die better at the back?

Does this help you understand the geometry of it. ?

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From aprice1985 - 12 Feb 2009 - 09:06

One thing that really surprised me was just how big Sarah's swing was, it looked huge to me, i often worry that mine becomes excessive when i go for the hard hitting but i think if i swung like her i would decapitate most of my opponents, might enable me to win!

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From MarkG - 12 Feb 2009 - 00:24

Thanks very much Rippa Rit

No worries will leave it at that.  Thanks for the links…very interesting!

Back to the initial topic!  I have been working hard on my technique, initially building it up piece by piece so to speak.  In doing so I kept my forearm rotation to a minimum in order to keep things simple, which really helped with my accuracy.  Anyway, although somewhat powerful (less so on the backhand side), I recently introduced more forearm pronation/supination into my stroke.  The power increased as you would expect, without any real loss of accuracy.  Although I key in on a few ‘feels’ I have so that the racquet face doesn’t turn over too much, it’s an effortless, in control, sort of power.  I have read several posts on the topic including: pronation/supination, whipping the drive, and hitting with an open face.  If I could clarify a few things….

1.        In order to produce more forearm rotation and power, is there a limit on how much you should open the face on the backswing, other than having the backswing look the same for all shots?

2.      With increased forearm rotation is it still desirable to impact the ball with a slightly open racquet face?

3.       On the backhand side, my coach has said that it’s not the same as the forehand, and the racquet face should be open very little, if at all in the backswing, and at impact the racquet should likewise not be open (square).  I don’t quite understand this as even more so on the backhand side, forearm rotation seems critical to generate power.  And having a slightly open racquet face at impact seems to control the ball better especially from the deep back court.  Are there any differences with forearm rotation and racquet face angle between the forehand and backhand? 

4.       I note in the ‘hitting with an open a face’ post, forearm rotation applies to drives only.  I understand that with the lob and drop, but was wondering about variations regarding the boast if the ball is at a reasonable height?  Also, on drives when wanting more control, is it advisable to reduce the amount of forearm rotation?  Or as Daveamour mentions in order to have the ball die better at the back?

Thank you


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From rippa rit - 06 Feb 2009 - 09:40   -   Updated: 06 Feb 2009 - 20:19

MarkG - We might have to agree to disagree on this swing topic.  So, you looked at the biomechanic videos where we have a good contrast of styles especially looking at John White v David Palmer, then John White v Brett Martin. There is a good comparison with Sarah Fitz and Nicol.  Once these videos play through a panel appears with other matches so take your time looking at these points as discussed.

Brett and John are very powerful hitters, and flashy, and you think who cares about text books, especially with Brett having so much wrist movement, and at times little follow through.  Brett's reflex is incredible. Not too many circles in lots of his hits.

David and John together make a good comparison (and there are about six top player's being examined in this link). So we have David a very technically correct shot maker most of the time, and John being fairly  relaxed in all departments.  I like these short videos as it gives a good comparison of different styles, different individual characteristics in players, yet at the same time shows key points in the swing.

I still cannot concede the bit about the circular swing.  In all the examples of on-line, side-on, etc as discussed in your post,  there is no stroke that has to be adapted to a ball being hit from as many angles, and heights, as squash, eg in front, parallel, behind your body, using side walls, etc. The squash peramaters are basically:

  • The contact point in relation to the body and wrist and racket face apply to angle.
  • The racket face also applies to height.
  • The backswing, pronation/supination, releasing of the elbow, follow through assists power.
  • The follow through basically finishes as the arm is straightened and then the racket is back in the "ready position"  for the next shot (thus only requiring turning of the body to be positioned for the return). This might appear to make a circle, but the shot is over anyway once the elbow straightens on impact.

All of the players in those video analysis at some stage (very young) started off with similar basic swing key elements, some had more coaching than others in the initial stages of their squash playing, and each had different inherent attributes, eg reflex, speed, natural ability, flexibility, athleticism, arm length, stride etc.

When we have our e-coaching on line soon, you are welcome to send in a short video clip for appraisal and I will take a look at how you are going with the swing.  Which player in those videos seems to suit your style, eg David Palmer, John White, Brett Martin, might be something to look at too.


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From MarkG - 06 Feb 2009 - 01:39


I apologise to Italguy for getting off topic – I should have started a new thread.  Good to read all of your posts.  Thanks very much Ripa Rit. I must admit I have become hooked on the game, and read your post with interest.  I played tonight with a former Indonesia number one, and it is mind blowing how good he is!  Anyway, my apologies as - lacking visual images - explanations using the written word can get complicated.  What I was trying to get at is simple though:  the squash shot motion (excluding overheads) has a circular nature to it; not that of a straight line.  Having said that, well respected coaches wouldn’t say to follow through straight if it didn’t work; and I can say I think I understand part of what is meant from my own practice, and recent improvement with accuracy [on a forehand I feel (may not be true) the handle come around to the left, while maintaining my wrist cock, which almost feels like the racquet face is lagging, or heading towards the target].  However, taken literally, following through straight can lead to, in my opinion, less power and accuracy (with misses tending to the wall side).  Perhaps what is being described could be explored and better described.  Take the impact position of a forehand, for example.  All things being equal, if you hit the ball too far in front of your left foot the ball will tend to go left; too far back will push the ball to the right.  If you could follow through on straight line then it wouldn’t matter where you impacted the ball.  So, the swing has a circular nature to it.  Anyway, back to playing and….practicing!



I noticed the books on the the next bit only if you’re interested in technical stuff.  From Jim Hardy, #1 PGA 2008 Golf Instructor:

“All endeavors where a ball is to be hit, thrown, rolled, shot, or kicked, can be divided into two groups.  One group, which is not golf [or squash], I call on-line games.  This is where you and the object are located on the target line.  Throwing darts, shuffleboard, bowling, pool, croquet, and shooting a basketball are all on-line games in that you are standing on the target line, and the object to be hit, thrown, kicked shot, or rolled is also on the target line.  The motion for all on-line games is pretty much straight back and through.  The other relationship that can exist is what I call side-on, where you are to the side of the target line and the object to be hit, shot, etc., is either on the line or will be released on the line.  Hockey, polo, baseball, *tennis*, golf, and throwing a discus are all side-on endeavors.  These side-on endeavors all have a circular nature.  We are to the side of the object.  The object is over there on the target line and we are to the side of it.  The swing has to go in a circle; it cannot go any other way.  If anyone tells you to swing on a straight line, ignore them.  Trying to swing down the line as far as possible is dangerous to the health of your game.  Straight lines and [side-on] games do not mix.”

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From Good Length - 03 Feb 2009 - 09:31   -   Updated: 03 Feb 2009 - 09:53

 Some good points in there but as a player who has recently had my backhand much improved by some coaching I would offer you this simple advice:

Prepare early - get your racket back the second you start to move to the shot. get in the habit until its second nature.

Keep away from the ball! This was my biggie. Getting too close and having a weak stabbed swing as a result.

I've heard some people describing getting your elbow back and some saying rotate your shoulder but one causes the other so they are basically the same thing. Either way if the swing starts from the correct position and you are a nice distance from the ball, so you can swing through the ball, it's hard not to hit it with power and accuracy! 

It's  as simple as that. focus less on the swing, and more on your position and your preparation and the swing will happen as a result. And once you get it, you will really be able to feel the difference.

As with this advice and with everyone else's. It's all very well but get a even a couple of lessons.

You will learn, much quicker if you have someone there who can see specifically what you are doing wrong/right and can give you instant advice and feedback.

Trying to understand/follow our advice is as likely to get you some new bad habits as fix some if you don't get it right. I now know exactly what it feels like when I do it. And I can recognise it very clearly in others. And the terms I'm using make absolute sense to me. But I doubt you will instantly get what I'm saying until you have actually experienced it. Imagine for a second, trying to describe a new colour to someone who has never seen it... Even the most poetic of words would be incapable of making them understand what the colour was actually like for them to see ;)

Even with a great understanding of what you SHOULD be doing, often you are not 100% aware of what you are ACTUALLY doing. Particularly if you are focusing a some specif things, others will be totally outside your awareness...

You might be concentrating on rotating your shoulder but were your feet in a good place? How balanced were you? and did you bend your knees and get low?? Did you twist or keep steady? Did you transfer your weight across through the swing?? A coach will point out things you had no idea you were/weren't doing and then help you practice the right way enough so it becomes second nature and no longer need to think about the details.

If coaching is definately out, try videoing yourself as an alternative.

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From rippa rit - 03 Feb 2009 - 08:52   -   Updated: 03 Feb 2009 - 09:21

Well, Mark we have got "Paralisis by Analysis" in this one.  Hey, don't get me wrong open debate is good, though a bit hard on the forum.  

I have searched for a couple of good links with some really good matches too for your observation.  Some of these players I know personally, and John White was in my squads at about 11 years of age (he would have had to start at 8 to attain a State ranking at that age), so he has been on court for 26 years for at least an average of 2 hours a day (most likely twice a day), so playing this game to him is now "like falling off a bike". Sarah FitzGerald was also a junior and subsequently Aust Junior Champion, come World Champ, which happened when I was at the top of my coaching career, so I have observed a fair amount over many years.  At our annual Coaching Conferences there was always heated debate, and on court demos, etc about these topics, often followed by a talk by a Sports Scientist (Biomechanist); interesting, but I am not sure if anything was ever really resolved, though there were some theories re-enforced. Biomecchanics - Science of Coaching.  Squash is the poor cousin of tennis and there has not been the amount of dollars put into research for squash.

For sure, not every top player uses the same technique all the time.  A Sports Scientist (from Canberra Uni) used Heather McKay as a subject for analysis, and produced many frame by frame shots of the strokes for coaches to discuss, and to try to conclude why Heather was such an unbeatable player over more than 15 years. Heather represented Australia in Hockey, became a Racketball Champion when she was in Canada, and the biomechanics seemed to come after the fact.  Her forehand swing seemed to alter on her return to Australia and there was more snap in the wrist, and the question is, was that because of her added wrist strength from racketball (heavier ball, shorter racket); it certainly was adaptation.

No matter what the analysis, skill is defined in my head as "strokes hits consistently with a high degree of accuracy" and after that it is tactics, and mental ability, with a fitness level to suit the ability.

Finally,. on power on the backhand, key points:

  • Supination/rotation of the forearm
  • Length of the backswing
  • Shoulder rotation
  • Control the racket head
  • Knee flexion
  • Weight transfer
  • Follow through the ball (the elbow straightens, the racket head is up)


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From bosartek - 03 Feb 2009 - 06:53   -   Updated: 07 Feb 2009 - 15:05

As for the original question, drop-shot is right... keep it simple! Rita and weiran have some good advice.



Your points are all legitimate, but I don't think too many people really dissect the matter in such technical detail. You're right in that the actual swing and body mechanics are far too dynamic to restrict to a simple explanation, especially when looked at in slow motion. The problem is that the brain does not [consciously] process information on such a small time scale and in such detail. Models are simply representations and, by using the model as a guide, your brain will make the necessary adjustments to take care of the details. If I remember correctly, those slow motion segments were mostly to demonstrate good wrist position and where the racquet ultimately finishes, but what occurs through the actual ball contact is a complicated result of biomechanics and physics that your brain processes subconciously. In other words, it's interesting to look at, but don't try to do your brain's job for it!

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From daveamour - 03 Feb 2009 - 05:02

Ok I think all this is quite difficult to discuss in text.  I think taking a lesson or two from a coach would be good then you can go over this on court which would be much easier!

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From drop-shot - 03 Feb 2009 - 01:10   -   Updated: 03 Feb 2009 - 01:10

My goshness, people, what's going on here? LOL

italguy10 did ask very simple question and let's not confuse him with elaborates and complicated scientific language. Please, let's make it simple for him and for the othe adepts of squash. Squash is (should be) game of simplicity based on perfect technique. 

And how does it feel for this poor boy? He is swamped with the articles and long answers and I am sure he is LOST!

With due respect to all of you, "weiran" made the best answer. Keep it simple.
P.S. I am talking from the user's perspective - I am not certified coach, not a PSA player :-D

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From MarkG - 02 Feb 2009 - 23:16


Hi Rippa Rit, Dave, Bosartek, and all

I hope I’m not pushing my luck, as I know I’m not qualified, but I’m assuming most members are students of the game and welcome discussion.   

To clarify, by ‘side-on’ I mean that the ball is to your side or next to you.  In basketball, for example, the ball is directly in front of you/over head with the follow through being straight at the target.  In golf, the ball is next to you which means the swing path follows an arc or curve, with the follow through going left or to the inside.  This is true in both in driving and putting.  Rippa Rit, granted the target is bigger, but so is the distance – being off by the width of a racquet’s head after 10 metres will be on the next fairway after 250 metres!  Anyway, I mean to use this to illustrate that squash too is a ‘side-on’ game.

So back to squash…

Try standing next to a wall and playing a forehand without your racquet, so that your finger tips brush the wall at impact, palm facing the target.  Notice where your hand is after impact as you follow through.  I bet it’s not brushing the wall, nor is your palm directly facing the target…?

In relation to the racquet face:  Assuming a firm wrist and the racquet in line with you forearm, the racquet face - therefore - remains square to the curved path.  So post impact, the motion will arc around, and the face will continue to stay square to the arc; which means the racquet face continues around too.  It goes more around in a horizontal swing, less around in a vertical swing, but both go around.  So for right-handers the path and racquet face go around to the left; the backhand to the right.

I just looked at Mike Way’s DVD again and you’re right he does say the racquet face follows to the target.  It may ‘feel’ this way, however, if you look at the DVD in slow motion, both the swing path and racquet face do not continue straight at the target as he says.  On the backhand side, the swing path curves around to the right, and the racquet face also goes right of target (or more correctly stays square to the path).  It is surprising the degree by which this happens when watching in slow motion from the behind the player.  [I tend to believe that pros are so good at making manipulations to achieve correct contact, as they are so close to be on the correct path to start with.]  The only other thing that happens is the racquet is held off by limiting the amount of forearm rotation.  I suspect this is what is meant.  That is, the concept of following through straight relates more to forearm rotation.  In other words, limiting the amount of forearm rotation will keep the racquet square to the arc for longer, thereby increasing accuracy. 

If you’re still with me, what do you think!?

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From bosartek - 02 Feb 2009 - 18:13   -   Updated: 02 Feb 2009 - 18:26


When Mike Way is describing the follow-through he is talking about where the racquet finishes in relation to the target and not the shape of the swing itself. In this case, "straight through" means that the racquet (either the racquet face or the racquet itself) will be pointing toward the target on the front wall at the finish of the swing. Another way to think about it is by looking down from a perpendicular plane above the swing (imagine being on the ceiling directly over a player and watching him hit). From above, the swing should follow a straight line path to the target in line with the path of the ball. This serves as a model to help visualize the follow-through and is where the "vertical swing" comes from that Rita is describing.

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From rippa rit - 01 Feb 2009 - 18:43   -   Updated: 01 Feb 2009 - 18:46

Mark - I like it when players start to analyse what is going on in their game, and also try to understand the mechanics of the strokes.  Once you get a gist of this you can troubleshoot your own weaknesses and help correct your play.  Take a look at the Troubleshooting section too as that will be helpful.

I had to put my thinking cap on for this reply.  You touched on a few things.  Just a few comments on what you mentioned:

  • I would have put cricket, bowling, darts and basketball more in line with Rifle Shooting where you are taking aim and there is no rebounding.
  • Golf is a Vertical Swing (and I think that might be where your mind started to go off in another direction - no pun intended!).  When you use a vertical swing, as in golf, you don't have to get out of the way in a hell-of-a-hurry to recover court position.  Well, unless you are on the green, I think your target area would be considerably larger than on the front wall of a squash court. The tolerance for down the line drives on a squash court is about a racket head width.
  • Top players can improvise no matter the grip, angle, stance, speed, etc. Take a look at a few of the videos especially the one comparing vertical and horizontal swings.  There will be Relevant Content on that topic too for good reading. 
  • One of our hardest hitting Pros is John White (185klm ph) and at that time he probably was using a vertical swing where accuracy was most likely his secondary consideration, and I am sure he would have used his wrist as well.

What do I think, you asked:

  • Like Dave, I understand what you are saying, and sure it is confusing, especially when every person you talk to has a different theory, including coaches; of course when you are playing badly everyone watching is a world beater! The best matches are played in the Shower/Dressing Room.
  • Unless you are a top A Grade player, I would not be thinking too much about a vertical swing, and it will happen naturally sometimes when you get trapped too close to the ball or the corner.
  • I guess using a vertical swing is a bit like using a double-hand in the swing, and there are times when a single hand would be good (horizontal swing), and times when a vertical would be useful (but only for power).  I love uncontrolled power.

Are you more confused now than before?

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From daveamour - 01 Feb 2009 - 17:47


I agree and understand totally with what you are saying.

I don't know if I am right but this works for me.  Let your arm follow it's natural curve but try and force the straight line just a little bit and this I think aids accuracy.  The arm will still follow its natural curve but slightly less and doing this I think as well as improving accuracy also helps to stop an excessive follow through which can of course be dangerous.

Also you can hit the ball differently  - ie a full folow through when you have lots of time and are playing a powerful drive for example but in quick reflex type hits a more controlled hit when you stop the rackert from completing it's natural curve.  Ths of course applies to both forehand and backhand.  Check out Jonathan Powers on Youtube as he does this a lot.

Also on the backhand I think you can even stand slightly more than side on - ie turing more towads the corner just slightly and this gives you more power I think.

Just my thoughts and it certainly works for me.


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From MarkG - 01 Feb 2009 - 14:42

Hi Rippa Rit

Being new to the site I would to thank you for the terrific information provided.  I'm quite new to the game but I'm working hard!

I bring this up with hesitiation as I lack your experience, so I say this with the upmost respect.  I've got a theory- and thought you might be interested!  I'd like to comment about the concept of following throught to the target, as you mentioned, as does every person of note, including my own coach.  Jim Hardy, number 1 PGA golf coach 2008, talks about 'side-on' versus 'down-the-line' motions in sports.  Cricket bowling, darts, basketball, would be examples of a 'down-the-line' motion; golf and baseball, examples of a 'side-on' motion.  Many people in golf say to follow though straight, however, due to the side-on nature of the game he proves this to be false.  Squash too is a 'side-on'game as you are standing to the side of the ball (with the execption of a smash directly above your head).  Given this side-on motion, the natural path of the racquet is a curve or an arc, not a straight line.  Imagine standing straight up, putting your arms straight out and swinging them around; the shoulder is a fixed point so the hands will follow a curve.  The racquet too will follow through on a curve, and not directly at the target.  It may seem like it is due to the turning motion of the body, but the actual path follows a curve.  When I look at player footage and focus just on the racquet this holds true.  It was funny that on one of Mike Way's DVDs he emphasises following straight through, yet his demonstration shows his follow through doing the opposite.  I also tend to think that further power is obtained by swinging around on a natural arc due to cetrifugal forces (merry-go-round effect).  What do you think? ; )


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From rippa rit - 01 Feb 2009 - 07:59   -   Updated: 01 Feb 2009 - 08:48

weiran - good advice.  On both backhand and forehand drives, having the elbow bent is important in the swing, but "tucked in" might be a bit severe, as there does need to be a gap of about 3 or 4" (10cm) between the elbow and the hip during the swing, and the arm straightens on impact (during the follow-through) as it goes towards the target.  I emphasise this because if the arm is too close to the body the swing may then follow through across the body instead of flowing away from the body towards the target/flight path of the ball.  This in turn helps the accuracy of the stroke.

In this video of the backhand drive you can the key points quite clearly. Notice to get the added power there needs to be an "unwinding" action as all the muscle forces come into play.

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From weiran - 30 Jan 2009 - 20:04

 I found these tips helped me get more control and power on my backhand:

  • Get your racket into position early
  • Keep your elbow tucked into your body
  • Hit through the ball and finish your swing

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From drop-shot - 30 Jan 2009 - 18:21   -   Updated: 30 Jan 2009 - 18:30

Picture of Greg Gaultier will show you how to add incredible power to your backhand:

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From rippa rit - 30 Jan 2009 - 09:45

drop shot - having trouble putting in a link?

If you want to add a link, just copy it, then paste it in the box (using the little World icon) - the link in the post has to be highlighted to work.  If you want to remove a link, the icon next to the World icon will come up, and that will get rid of an incorrect icon, and you can start all over again...hope that helps with the links.

Meantime I edited the link in the post for convenience.

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From rippa rit - 29 Jan 2009 - 18:59   -   Updated: 29 Jan 2009 - 20:50

Italguy - the backhand is supposed to be a more natural shot than the forehand, so they say.  However, not for me, especially to generate controlled power. Power is one thing, but control is another thing just as important. There has been alot of discusseion previously and there are many resources for you at the "Relevant Content" tab (see in the column on the left); and "Relevant Videos" and you will need to make a few notes as you browse these resources.  The Library (as drop shot suggested) goes through the basics of the stroke, and the action you are looking for.

There are videos placed appropriately in the Library/Squash Technique to assist.

After reading these tips and revisting your swing, let us know how you are going.

We have some video swing exercises coming soon, which will break down the swing into small components, each component having a purpose during the swing.  Meantime try this holistic approach and see how you go.  Solo practice is the key to grooving in the swing, and can be practised at home as well.

Good luck.


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From daveamour - 29 Jan 2009 - 18:34

Use your other arm for counter balance and to add power.  Practice this on your own.  Also really turn your body and get your shoulder to the target.

Look at this picture here: backhandFP.jpg

See how David'a left hand is forward  - as he hits it will pull backwards creating counter force.


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From drop-shot - 29 Jan 2009 - 17:59   -   Updated: 29 Jan 2009 - 18:01

Hi there ... I am sure you can take some adventage of watching the videos on and browsing the squash technique section.


1.go through searchbox (upper left)

2. browse through the Squash library (upper bookmark)

3. Read through our prior discussions ( power&;GL:1;DIV:#22a8d8;VLC:2AA8D8;AH:center;BGC:22222b;LBGC:FFFF66;ALC:2aa8d8;LC:2aa8d8;T:eeeeff;GFNT:2aa8d8;GIMP:2aa8d8;FORID:11&hl=en)

and you're there. I am afraid people ar tired of answering the same question now and then...

[The good hint is to imitate frisbee throwing. Keep in mind the power of the stroke is generated through the proper swing.]

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