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End position of follow-through

Published: 02 Aug 2009 - 23:19 by Alder

Updated: 06 Aug 2009 - 09:25

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Hi everybody,

I've got a question about end position of follow-through for the forehand shot.

My coach trains me to end up forehand drive with having racquet face open again (so your wrist is "cocked" in the oposite direction - pinky is closest to forearm  ).

While on this forum and many videos I see that players end with racquet fact closed (see this picture )

So shot looks like - start with very open racquet - during the contact close it (but rocquet is still opened) but afterwards strart opening it again. Comparing with this first 5 images are the same, but then start opening again.



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From raystrach - 06 Aug 2009 - 09:25

hi alder

this is where things maybe a little haywire. just to make sure we are talking about the same thing i will explain my understanding of open and closed...

an open face is judged by the face of the racket that hits the ball, not the angle of the racket alone.

  • when the hitting face of the racket is at more than 90 deg to the ground (ie, pointing even slightly upwards) the racket is considered open
  • once it reaches 90 deg it is considered closed. as a swing progresses past this 90 deg point (the racket hitting face starts to point down)  it does not open again - it continues to be closed.
  • unfortunately, the term, which is similar to the postions of a door, starts to fall down a bit once it goes past the striking point

now that we have that out of the way...

in my way of seeing things, the basic backhand and forehand swings are almost mirror images of each other. if you played a tape of a forehand swing, backwards, it would look similar to a backhand swing and vice versa.

i like to see my players start  high, (racket angle either 1 o'clock - 1:30 or 11:00 o'clock - 10.30), pull the racket down and through for the swing, then return to the high position.

if the game of squash did not have walls and everything landed in the middle of the court, none of this would matter, you could hit the ball in any way you liked, but then we would not be playing squash.

the high backswing is necessary for two reasons

  1. balls can be retrieved from near the back wall far easier
  2. you can retrieve the ball from behind you far easier - that is, if you are in the middle of the court, you do not need to run so far back to retrieve the ball - a swing with the head starting high enables you to get behind the ball much easier

a high follow through is better because

  1. it prepares you earlier for your next shot - i train my players to take the ball early of possible - with this method it is possible to do so more easily
  2. keeping the racket more or less vertical on the follow through reduces the radius of the swing making it more compact (you must rebend your elbow to make this happen) and safer

in the real world it does not happen quite as neatly as all this, but this is the model i try to follow

to recap (for a normal drive)

  • backswing: racket amost vertical, elbow bent(pointing downwards), wrist cocked
  • point of impact: racket open (either slightly or more depending on the shot) elbow reasonably straight, wrist slightly extended
  • follow through: racket closed (hitting face slightly down) elbow bent wrist cocked

i hope all that makes sense

i have a short video which i will tidy up which will demonstrate what i have explained - i will post it in the next few days

(ps. all this goes out the window when you are desparate to get the ball back, you will do whatever it takes - although vital, this is merely the foundation of technique as you must also be able to improvise to some extent)

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From Alder - 05 Aug 2009 - 15:40

Hi Raystrach,

I've seen the article with pictures that you post link to, and it was one of the things that raised my question :)

Maybe this technique should be used for lob?

The way she teaches me, both backhand and forehand are opened in the end, but according to you the should be different. Does it means that the mechanics is different for the shots? so for backhand you shouldn't start closing the racquet, and after the contact finish it's closing?

BTW thanks for the comments about the wrist!





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From raystrach - 04 Aug 2009 - 10:22   -   Updated: 04 Aug 2009 - 10:26

alder, i might be wrong, but from your post i get the impression you may have a slight misunderstanding of "open" and "closed". either that or i your coach is teaching you something that i do not agree with (that's ok!)

rita's post has a good explaination of what happens but i might just concentrate on a couple of things.

  • i like to start and end the swing reasonably vertical.
    • this means the swing ends up in a postion similar to the start position of the opposite shot  ie the follow through position of a forehand is similar to the backswing position of a backhand -
    • the shot ends up closed on the forehand but open for the backhand
    • a certain amount of extension of the wrist occurs through the swing around the point of impact
    • the wrist does not necessarily need to be really strong at this point but the grip needs to be firm otherwise you get racket movement at point of impact which decreases power and accuracy
  • after striking and when the forces generated by the swing start to abate, your wrist position should return to that cocked position which means the racket finish will be higher rather than lower
    • if the opponent then returns your ball very quickly, you should be ready to play another shot with little or no extra preparation
    • because time is one of the key ingredients in your level of play, everything that can be done to be prepared earlier must be worked on
  • whilst we talk about what should happen in a swing, each of us are individuals and we all have slightly different biomechanics so each person will have a slightly different combination of attributes which contributes to their swing
  • david palmer and theirry lincou  are the two players who most closely resemble those with a model technique. both players are well into their thirties but are still maintaining their quality of play due, i believe, to their strong technical abilities

this post might also help you

does any of this make sense to you?

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From rippa rit - 03 Aug 2009 - 08:02   -   Updated: 03 Aug 2009 - 08:05

Alder - it is a good question, and the follow through can affect the direction and placement of the ball. The Gold videos probably will show more clearly the full action in the swing.  At this link you will see five related videos where you can see the execution in a continuous moving situation. The swing tends to have an arc in its movement (a half circle), and this will vary slightly depending on the shot, eg drive (a full backswing and follow through to give more power), lob (a shorter backswing with a nice long high lift in the follow through), volley (a shorter backswing and follow through as its execution is more dynamic) or drop shot (more emphasis on the open racket face).

The pictures you refer to are taken from a static situation and basic swing for beginners and meant to show key elements in the swing and grip, eg backswing, pronation/supination, hitting through the ball, extending the arm to create power in the hitting zone, making the drive a full motion right to the end of the swing, and then ending up with the racket virtually ready for the next shot (just by moving your feet and shoulders).

My key words in the follow through would be - hit freely through the ball taking the follow through in the direction of the front wall target, keep control of the racket head.  The degree of angle in the follow through will depend to some extent on the height of the ball when striking (whether the ball is lower or higher than the "tin" as well as  the distance the ball has to travel relative to the front wall.

Take a browse through the Gold videos and see if you can identify the points I am referring to.

If you are a new player try to keep things pretty simple and concentrate on the basic drive swing before getting into more complex shots.  I hope what I have explained makes sense to you.

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