Info for Your Squashgame

The dreaded back corners

Published: 23 Mar 2005 - 11:55 by noxious_emotion

Updated: 02 Dec 2008 - 16:36

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I'm only fairly new here so this may have been discussed at some stage already. I've been playing squash all up for about 12 months now, socially, and figured that some more serious competition would help me to improve my game and also provide opportunity to talk to people significantly better than I am. I joined the local competition (as a reserve) and have loved the challenge of new opponents and enjoyed the social aspect of it as well. One thing that I have been struggling with, and I figure most people probably do at some point, is digging the ball out of the back corners. I have found myself either using two hands while wedged against the glass more often than not, and the outcome is often unpredictable at best. I have been going along to watch the A-Grade games because for one they're pretty exciting, and also to try and see how the better players do things. What I've noticed is that most of them actually stand almost looking into the corner and somehow manage to get a full swing at the ball which obviously gives them much greater control over the shot. In my own practice I have tried to replicate that, without much success. I was wondering whether anybody had any tips that they could offer, or even another approach to it. Maybe it's just a matter of practice, practice, practice?? Double thumbs-up for the site too, great info, great articles and overall I've found it really useful!!

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From rippa rit - 15 Feb 2008 - 07:44

Try to move about in the box to return the serve to make your opponent try some other serve.

Give yourself plenty of room....get away from all the walls.

More on this in the Latest Library discussion tab for gold.



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From steak09 - 14 Feb 2008 - 22:53

 I have tried to hit it on the volley earlier either before the first contact with the sidewall or immediately after without any consistent success. That was my best way of playing the shot but I am looking to alternate my returns so I don't fall in a pattern and to throw him off.  When I think about it now he does send the ball off the sidewall right in front of me. I didn't stop to look at where the ball hits the sidewall but where it falls on the court. I play this guy again tonight so I will try moving upwards or backwards to receive the serve to see how it goes and post the result.

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From hamburglar - 14 Feb 2008 - 21:17

relatively speaking, the serve should be the easiest time to return this shot, because you know which corner of the court it's coming to. Is there any way you can take it earlier, reaching up high? You will need to move forward or backward to adjust because he's trying to hit the sidewall next to where you're standing.

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From steak09 - 14 Feb 2008 - 14:26


I am having the same trouble with my game. I play every now and then with a player who sends it in the back corner but on a serve. The ball always hits the side wall right below the red line but it only bounces back slightly giving me chance to play it off a second bounce on the back wall. The ball is also hugging the side wall closely... I have practiced the advice above but I still have difficulty to return the shot. I am desperate to beat this guy and need additionnal advice.

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From hamburglar - 15 Jan 2008 - 02:31

something else to think about is if you're using the correct temperature ball. If you're a beginner, and use a double-yellow ball, of course if you let the ball drop into the back corner, it will be very difficult to get out. The pros make it look easy to get it out of the back mostly because it is easier---with a hot ball. Try using a Pointfore red or blue dot ball and you'll have a better idea of how the ball bounces for a pro.

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From rippa rit - 14 Jan 2008 - 11:15

Here is our other post to go with this thread.

Back corner pain relief..

Just a comment about facing the back wall.  That will be necessary when the ball is really tight (not always evident when turning to chase the shot) and a boast is the only option to conceding the shot. That does not mean if the ball bounces off the back wall/corner (attacking boast or drive possibilities) or side wall enough that you cannot straighten up your stance to then be parallel to the side wall.

If the ball really skews into the back corner you will not get the correct angle on the side wall to carry the ball onto the front wall, if you are parallel, as your racket swing will resemble more like a knife blade cutting between the floor and the ball.

Try this out for yourself by throwing the ball softly and low into the back corner so it bounces very low and tight, then try swinging lifting the ball high and far down the wall to get the ball to hit/make the front wall. Sometimes it can be a really good shot as it dribbles off the front wall.

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From adam_pberes - 13 Jan 2008 - 21:56

Also, try to hold the frip further up, as that way there is less racket to get in the way of the swing as the turning... radius (?) is alot shorter! Thereturn will be higher aswell when the grip is shorter!

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From SamBWFC - 09 Dec 2007 - 04:53

Ohhhh the back corners! I remember when I first signed up to here and it was one of the things that I struggled with! Now I look back and laugh!

I'll do a quick summary of what I think you should do in the back corners:

  • Racket preparation early, up and ready before you get into the corner

  • Have a strong stance, and do not get too close to the back or side wall. This is important. Lean down slightly

  • WAIT for the ball to come out of the back. This is one of the things I noticed is essential in getting the ball out of the back. Wait for the ball to bounce off the back wall, wait for it to drop slightly, so it is level with yourself more or less, then take a swing at the ball.

  • The swing should be U shaped i.e. open your face up and get underneath the ball

  • Push off and move back to the T. Do not stand round and see where your shot ends up.

To be honest, I personally don't think that facing the corner/back wall is important. I think the most important thing is to wait for the ball to come out as much as possible, take your time with the swing and hit upwards. With these three, you can actually stand as if you're playing a normal straight drive, and have no problems.

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From aprice1985 - 07 Dec 2007 - 07:59

The one thing that has made a major difference to me is staying away from the side wall, keep back, step in and swing under the ball, always give yourself as much room as you can, easy if you anticipated the shot, hard if you are sprinting full pelt backwards!

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From Stonehands - 07 Dec 2007 - 03:47   -   Updated: 07 Dec 2007 - 03:48

First, to the original poster, you are embarking on an extremely fun and exciting challenge in playing squash!  I have been playing for 4 years and have moved from 3.0 to a 5.0 level.  When you start to see results, welcome to the adiction that is squash! 

I have not had lessons, so technically the advice on this board is better than I can give, but when I was in your shoes I did the same thing you seem to be doing... watching the good players and then spending some time on the court to figure it out on my own.  The key is to feel comfortable in the back corners.  I use to hit for hours (not all at once), long drives standing in the back corners and digging out the next long drive.  It is now one of the strengths in my game - at least I feel it is.  When I had trouble returning a drive from a dig I learned first to hit a boast, which is not a good shot to use in that situation, but may be the only option if the ball is buried in the corner.  I have surprised opponents who think that their ball is so buried that it is not returnable simply by boasting out of the corner. 

When learning/practicing the boast I would picture another squash court right beside the one I was in with the side wall being a sheet of glass separating the two courts.  I would then picture in my mind hitting the ball from the back corner to the far front corner of the squash court next to me, and presto, I would hit a great boast. The next step is to try to hit a rail with the ball deeper and deeper in the corner.  The pro's almost never hit a boast out of the back corners, but it is difficult to get to that kind of proficiency.  I am currently working on try to return more rails than boasts from the back corners. 

There is always something to improve!

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From rippa rit - 18 Mar 2006 - 18:33   -   Updated: 06 Dec 2007 - 20:00

Hi - this post from noxious emotion is 12 months old but it says it was updated today, and it does sound to be very similar to the back corner post that is currently in the forum.
Ray went to a lot of trouble and put in this post/link about "back corner pain relief".

When I read this stuff about the back corners I want to put my shoes on, get my racket, and get on the court.  
Everybody please give this a try next time you get on the court  before you start to attempt practising hitting the shots off the back wall/corners, ie

  • take the racket up to the tin, stand it on its end, and measure the height of the tin.

  • walk to the back corner of the court and mark the height of the tin on the side wall, back wall and/or floor area to get the perspective of distance and height, and elevation required.

  • now, slowly move from the centre of the court, taking long lunging strides,with the racket back (to form the backswing), keeping about 2m from the side wall.

  • the body should move facing the back wall, lunge as though to recover a ball lower than the tin, say 15cm off the floor, and visualise doing a return to length, or a boast.

  • take particular notice of the angle of the racket face, and whether it will in fact get under the ball sufficiently to return the ball above the tin (for a boast), and/or land 5m high on the front wall if it is to rebound (lob) down the wall to length.

Under pressure, it may even be necessary to swing with the racket parallel to the floor to actually get under the ball to get the required elevation, especially if the ball is lower than 15cm.

If this is "double dutch", the demo will have to wait until we all get on court.

Your comments on what I have said would be appreciated.  Try it out first, then let me know please.
To take your squash to another level this is a vital area of your game.

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From rippa rit - 08 Apr 2005 - 07:16

RallyEd, thanks. Yep agree; to practrice ghosting is the first step towards perfecting footwork, racket work and movement. Squashgame will expand the ghosting content soon and that will tie in nicely here.

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From RallyEd - 07 Apr 2005 - 04:57

I am not a coach but I will share what I was taught. rpaulos' suggestion is good but you can work on movement first. Try this with your racquet but without a ball

1 - Standing at about the corner of the service box (Just outside the back of the service box)
2 - Move right foot(Forehand), Left foot (backhand)about a pace and a half (In 1 step)
Move the hitting leg forward with your racquet up and ensure you are directly facing the corner.
3 - Strike the ball to either make a cross or a drive.

When you are comfortable with the movements, try out rpaulos' suggestion.

Hope this helps and if anyone can finesse this explanation please do

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From rippa rit - 06 Apr 2005 - 13:49

Folks, as I was thinking about this back wall suddenly I could feel a circular arena as the playing field (court), not a rectangular box. So that explains why squashgame have taken so much bother and got so involved about this retrieval from the back wall stuff. Yeah.

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From rippa rit - 04 Apr 2005 - 21:17

Dear members, about these back corners. There are a few things I do when teaching players to feel comfortable approaching the back corners. It is important to feel at ease otherwise there seem to be arms, legs and racket swings going all over the place, and panic seems to set in. Solo practice or have another player feed the ball by:-
1. Standing at about the corner of the service box, with the opposite hand throw the ball about 50 or 60cm high on to the back wall 30cm from the corner, not too hard, step in - wait - bend - and hit the ball with rhythm, no rushing.
2. As you get better at feeding the ball, gradually throw the ball lower, step in - wait - bend - and hit the ball with rhythm, no rushing.
3. If you feel more relaxed, try to be more specific. If the ball comes off the wall, and you can get either foot level with the ball, hit a drive, lob or boast from that position.
4. Finally, even if it takes a couple of weeks, move closer to the back wall, gently throw the ball 15cm high on the back wall, to rebound about 15 or 20cm, get the racket back as far as you can, get down as low as you can, swing with the racket face virtually parallel to the floor, aim as high as you can and as far down the side wall as you can, and hit the ball as hard as you can, and please let me know what happens? Where does the ball land then?
When playing a game, keep out of the service box. With some chalk,draw a line from the corner of the service box to a racket length from the back wall, and across the back wall doing the same for the other service box. So now you have half a rectangle sort of shape which is your boundary for moving to the back of the court. If this does not make sense I will have to get Ray to make me a flash drawing.
Let me know if you need more explicit instructions please. It is important to give this a go as at the moment there is a "stalemate" happening I think. ?

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From drop-shot - 04 Apr 2005 - 18:51

To Noxious_Emo,
yep, this is what I have experienced. The back glass over hit lob, whatever, backhand or forehand is easy to read from your opponent and what is even worse, you hardly controll the ball unless you are David Palmer or anybody from top 10 :-)))

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From noxious_emotion - 04 Apr 2005 - 12:06

Ray, that article is excellent, thankyou. It all makes sense now and I will work on that in my personal practice. I played a guy last week who was doing a really good job of lobbing/tossing to the back corners. On the tighter shots I was probably only able to return half of them and most of those were far to loose/short to be useful. Thanks too Rita, for your input and comments.
Slavi, that's an interesting comment about the shot off the glass. There is one guy in our comp who has practiced that particular shot so that he can get the majority back. Becomes quite predictable though, and easy to read.

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From raystrach - 04 Apr 2005 - 01:45

Just for you guys - a new article:

Those bloody back corners

make further comment there

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From drop-shot - 03 Apr 2005 - 17:39

Good morning to everybody.
First of all, letm me say I am mourning the death of JPII, but life's going on, so ...
back to shovelling without quotation marks. Rita, I agree with following the ball ALWAYS with the body length to let you swing etc. Maybe my question was not precise enough, so let me rephrase it. Even yesterday, playing tournament for amateurs and C-players I saw a lot of failed attempts to lob the ball hitting the glass wall. The guys thought it is going to be spectacular hit, but nine out of ten was too high or too loose. So my question was if I am right to not turn back to the front wall whatever it takes? Even hitting the regular boast (I have learned it) you should square your body with the corner, so you are facing the side wall, still NOT being turned back from the front. Do you have any opinion on that? I am sure you have...

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From rippa rit - 02 Apr 2005 - 09:47

Slavi hello - I still want to be the fly on the wall!!
There seems to be something missing in how I am describing this "shovelling" business. Shovelling definitely has to go as it is not in the squash dictionary perse!
Always follow the ball with your eyes and travel with it about a body length away being in a position to strike the ball, at any time, if at all possible that is. Yes, sorry,I know if it is going so fast etc, anyway just keep chasing it until you can get parallel to it. In this way it is possible to swing at the ball (have a backswing ready to hit) at all times (no shovelling). Then, if the ball rebounds off the side wall, and back wall, just keep moving parallel with the flight path of the ball back into the court (repositioning your feet and balance as you go)- now you can see the opponent. If the shot is that overhit the choice of returns is as good as if it never even made the back wall.
If the opponent's return does not sit in the corner, or nick area, it is not a particularly good shot at all, so just get into position, racket back (the more you turn towards the back wall and even a bit further than that the better backswing), feet balanced, and hit the ball with authority.
Got any idea how to practice for that shot, please?

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From drop-shot - 01 Apr 2005 - 21:51

Hello everybody,
speaking of the back corners, glass wall etc., one question comes to my mind. Or not a question but kind of conclusion. It comes from my own experience and watching the proffesional players. So, I think that most of the B or A-class players are facing the front wall (eventually side walls) but they avoid turning back to the front wall to not loose the visual contact with the opponent. So, when they "shovel" for the ball on the glass, it takes one second and they're back. They avoid facing the back wall, while a lot of my friands and peers truly enjoy hitting the glass wall with the ball, rarely successful though. I hope you understand what i am talking about. What's your opinion about it?

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From raystrach - 24 Mar 2005 - 01:27   -   Updated: 18 Mar 2006 - 13:54

dear noxious the players you saw turned toward the back wall were doing the right thing. if you back up to the back wall, your backswing will go back and hit the wall. as you turn more towards the back wall, the backswing starts to go parallel to the back wall. from here the least you can do is to play a boast. there are a number of articles that cover this - try this link: Return Help! (this is the article that rita suggested.) please come back to us if you don't quite get it. it is something extra we may need to put into the library. best of luck!

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From rippa rit - 23 Mar 2005 - 21:34

Hi n_e:
Thanks for the compliments too. Your problems are understood, and if it helps any, you do not have them alone. I do try to get new members to navigate around the site so they can then do a bit of research as required. We had 8 posts at the beginning of February on this topic with a few people throwing in their 2 bobs worth. Go to Members Forum, Forum Archives, and there is an article Return Help! written by jim (scroll through the posts).
Also, if you go to the Home Page, hold the cursor over Library, and click the tab Strokes & Movement, there is a sub-menu Serve Return, scroll down, use the "more" tabs at the bottom of the tips, and you will see some diagrams which will be useful. If, after giving these ideas a try for a couple of weeks, whatever,put another post up letting me know where and how you are going with those hints.
n_e practice is really good, but perfect practice is even better, so it is important to keep striving for gradual improvement and keep going back to the site for new ideas.
Let us know how it all turned out?

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