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Published: 07 Apr 2009 - 06:43 by Guru

Updated: 07 Apr 2009 - 19:28

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I've been playing squash for a few years now, and I was a power player, with less focus on precision. Now that I've gained more experience, especially in the last few months, I became more focused on precision, yet it seems that I've over-emphasised precision play that I'm beginning to lose my game, and it seems that I need a balance of both.

My coach always used to tell me that the swing should be smooth, not stiff, yet I'm beginning to doubt it.

When swinging; should I make a short, stiff swing for normal balls (like drives and cross-courts), or is it better to have a wider, smoother swing?

I always thought smoother swings were a good combination of both power and accuracy, yet it seems I cannot hit the ball more accurate when performing this swing than with the stiffer swing. Maybe its a problem with my basic swing? Should I change my coach?

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From Guru - 07 Apr 2009 - 19:28

Thanks a million, rippa rit! I'm going to the club now, actually. I think its now clear to me why I was havng problems. I'll certainly be taking your advice for it.

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From rippa rit - 07 Apr 2009 - 07:39   -   Updated: 07 Apr 2009 - 07:44

guru - that is a good observation and not an uncommon problem when trying to develop touch and power in your game.  Hey, I don't want to place any responsibility on the coach for this as it is another learned skill. What often happens is you get so focussed on playing touch/control and practising them so much that you forget that they then have to be combined during a match, eg one power shot/one control shot (attack and defence), depending on the shot selection required under specific circumstances on court.

About the swing, it can sort of get mucked up as you flex from power to control, just like what can happen playing a really slow touch player, and if you are not careful you also cannot hit a decent drive and start playing at the opponent's pace, then when a sitter comes along the power shot it harder to play. It upsets your rhythm.

What to do to develop the variety in your play, for example:

  • Solo practice:
    • From the back wall hit continually One hard drive/one lob (make sure the drive is a drive and the lob a lob or you will end up just hitting half of each).
    • From the centre - One kill into the nick, one drop shot into the nick (just set the shots up).
    • From the back court - One boast/one drop shot (the boast requires the power, the drop the control)
    • From three-quarter court - One boast/one cross court lob.
  • Pair routine:
    • Rally down the wall and One player attacks and one defends
    • Rally down the wall and one player Hits one attacking shot then one defensive shot/controlled, and vise versa.
  • Restricted games:
    • In reply to a boast is a drop
    • In reply to a drop is a lob
    • Attach when the ball is off the wall, defend with control when the ball is tight.

Be careful that your drives do not end up being half pace, prepare all shots with good backswing preparation as though to drive the ball.  On power you need the pronation/supination whereas on the control you need the racket head control.  Once you sort this out in your mind you will be conscious as to why the swing is not working for you.  Mind you, if your hard drive is off you will still need to practice hard drives continually (go back to basics if need be) as well as control continually, then a combination at random.

A good way to then try this out is to play a slow player and be mindful of playing your game, ie control when the ball is tight and power when the ball is sitting up and off the wall and corners.

This could take you some weeks to master, just taking one aspect at a time before moving to the next, and of course revision is always a must for all shots.

To refresh your mind go to the Squashgame Library for the basic swing key elements for these strokes.

Keep us posted.



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