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Debating as to which foot to hit off!!??

Published: 27 Apr 2009 - 15:57 by chaos01

Updated: 30 Apr 2009 - 13:53

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I have a question that I think alot of people have. I have ben playing squash for a reasonable length of time now and have been creeping up (fairly quickly) up the grading lists in NZ. At the moment though I am having a debate with people as to what foot you should hit off.

Heres my view, and I am keen to here others views and points on this as when watching pro's and top players here in NZ there seems to be no hard and fast rule.

Ok so , my opinoin is that you chop and change wat foot you hit off. I find that 99% of the time on the backhand whether it be a drop, stragiht drive etc that I will hit off my front foot, soetimes however, for example when hitting a cross court I will off my backfoot and at times when I am trying to deceive the opponent into thinking that I am going to hit a crosscourt byt I actually hit a drive.

HOwever, when it comes to my forehand I often hit off my back foot. Main reasoning for this is I saw Jonathon powers instructional dvd and he said it really didnt matter what foot you hit off and actually made a good case about if you hit off your back foot it is easiuer to get back to the T and it is less steps and typically your right leg will be stronger. This pretty much goes for all shots I play on the forehand, 9 times out of 10 they will be played off my back foot - and with reasonable accuracy and length too. This includes up the font part of the court to when playing drops and lops.

So my question is, is this correct, partly correct or am I learning some really really bad habits?????

Thannks people and hopefully someone can clear this up once and for all.


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From raystrach - 30 Apr 2009 - 13:53

hi chaos

by back foot and front foot i assume that you mean the foot closest to the back of the court and the foot closest to the front of the court.

in an ideal world, you should be hitting the ball whilst transferring your weight from the back to the front foot using an open stance. this provides many advantages which i won't go into here (see them in other pages on

the problem is, we are playing people who want to make our lives playing squash, a hell on earth - any opponent worth their salt is trying to make it as difficult as possible for you! so here is the key word:


you want to be balanced whilst still having the option to play alternative shots and have a low probability to stuff up.

you will acheive that by generally keeping the shoulders parallel to the side wall, remaining balanced and keeping your distance from the ball so you can have a full swing.

the only time this changes is when the ball is close to the back wall and your shoulders should run across the back corner of the court (ie 30 - 45  degrees to the side wall).

by this you can see that the position of the feet become less important. thier main role is to cart you around the court and get your shoulders in the right place in relationship to the ball. probably the biggest thing that needs to happen is to keep your feet well apart to help maintain balance and provide a good base for the swing.

achieving this takes a lot of judgment and a lot of trial and error. we are not all built the same so you will find that things that work for one will not necessarily work for another. it also requires your feet to make fine grained adjustments automatically as you are getting close to the point of racket ball impact.

while this all seems simple enough, we are talking about very advanced skills which are something that most people aspire to but do not always achieve

of course, sometimes every rule in the book goes out the window in trying to retrieve an difficult ball and we revert to trying to muster every ounce of skill possible just to keep the ball in play.

have fun!

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From rippa rit - 29 Apr 2009 - 07:22

It would not be a good idea to try to hit off the same foot on forehand and backhand as that will cause a lot of continual strain on the same hip. Balance is the most important thing irrespective of which foot/leg is forward.

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From hamburglar - 28 Apr 2009 - 22:18

Hit off either foot, whichever gets you into position faster. I do find that hitting off the back foot allows you to see more of the court, and you can therefore be more deceptive.

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From rippa rit - 28 Apr 2009 - 08:26   -   Updated: 28 Apr 2009 - 17:41

With this "opposite foot" concept, especially on the forehand, just be careful that you are not hitting too many cross courts. With the ghosting footwork training try to cover a range of shots played from various angles/positions as well as from different heights ranging from volley to ankle height. 

There are five videos (see the extra videos at the bottom of the video) in this series showing various movements to the ball

Should we be also discussisng the split step with this post?

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From daveamour - 28 Apr 2009 - 00:37


I think your understanding is spot on.  In addition its often about what is most natural at the time.

Generally though I think youll find backhands off the front foot comfortable and forehands off the back or front both comfortable.

I often practice ghosting and try different movemenets to simulate these differeent types of footwork.  for example when ghosting and in the T you could get back to play a backhand out of teh back left corner as follows:

Large step on left and large step on right

Normal step on left, skip on left, step on right

Normal step on left, normal step on right, skip on right

And so on with realistically about 4 or 5 variations  - some designed for speed when you are in a rush and some for maximum comfort when you have more time etc.

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From rippa rit - 27 Apr 2009 - 18:20

chaos - you will see some Relevant Content relating to this topic by putting your cursor over the Relevant Content tab (in the top lefthand column when logged in) as well as Relevant Videos. For a beginner I think using standard footwork and good balance together with weight transfer is a good starting point.  However, as more shots are developed and movement becomes more fluent the important thing is balance, and movement off the ball (recovery).  Shoulder rotation can then compensate for the lack of swing that often happens when hitting off the "back foot" or should I say the "opposite foot". The better you become the more shortcuts you can take. 

If you have long fluent strides and effortless court movement I would not be too concerned with your front or back foot approach, provided you can play practically any shot from a given position.

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