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Returning balls from the back wall to front wall

Published: 04 Apr 2005 - 09:13 by rippa rit

Updated: 11 Nov 2007 - 08:35

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Rippa Rita`s championship squash tip
Some players are referring to this shot as a "back wall boast" - but, sorry, I cannot call it that as I do not really believe it has anything to do with a boast.  Anyway, this is about returning a shot (from behind) by hitting the back wall (often a glass back wall) before the front wall.

It is not a shot most coaches would spend too much time on, or should I say a person would book a coaching lesson to learn. The juniors love the shot (eyewear will help prevent injury).

However, it sure is a way for the veterans to save some running, yet still return the ball; but, there is a way of doing a really excellent return, with a bit of practice.

The ultimate would be for the return to land on the front wall near the corner and die like a drop shot.  How do you practice to perfect this shot?
    •  Approach the back wall as though you were going to hit a lob from the front of the court. Elevation is important.
    •  Swing upwards, say, aim halfway up the back wall.
    •  Take the swing in an upwards motion with the follow through going towards the opposite shoulder(across the body), approximately in line with the front wall target.
If you get it right it will just hit the front wall and drop angling into the front wall nick.

Just keep experimenting until you get the idea. It is imperative the shot hit the front wall close to the corner.

The hardest part of playing this shot during a game is having the racket swing ready for this "back-to-front" hit.  It sure makes your opponent cross when they are waiting to really hammer this weak return, and it dribbles off the floor for a winner!
Note: This is a return for players who have no other option; it is not a good idea to attempt this shot if it is possible to return the ball in the conventional way.
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From rippa rit - 11 Nov 2007 - 08:05   -   Updated: 11 Nov 2007 - 08:35

drop.shot - this is what I believe is the way/progression the boast should be taught/learned and its interpretation of how it should land. It does not matter if it rebounds off the back wall or side wall before execution by opponent. Yes, I do teach recovery shots in the way of boasts, and drives to give a good result when caught in the front of the court and tearing headlong into the back of the court, and I suppose this back-the-front shot could be one of them.  Not sure if I am answering your question here. Back to my story .....

Three wall boast - for the beginners to medium standard (side wall/front wall/side wall), hit fairly low but safe, and the main benefit is to have it sort of jag out as it rebounds off the third wall.  It tends to catch the players who run straight to the ball as they get themselves out of position in returning it, and most probably hit a cross court shot too.

Two wall boast - for the more advanced players, eg our AIS studemts train for it. The ball is very low and fast, hits the side wall, hits the front wall about the middle of the court and about 1 or two inches above the tin, and scoots away landing very low heading towards the sidewall nick. (And, it is desirable to recover the ball before the ball actually reaches that nick)  It is a good running shot, where there is not too much time for finesse, on the move, and wanting to keep the opponent out of the middle of the court, and test the opponent's fitness, and mobility.

The shot in question - I never have thought the return should hit the back wall, then the side wall, and then the front wall.  But I do know if it is returned by being hit into the back wall (high and soft like a lob/toss), then lands on the front wall about 18 inches from the corner, and drops/dribbles down into the side wall nick (like a drop shot) is a very effective shot executed from a defensive position on court. It is good to have it in the defence armoury but used only occasionally when caught out.  If it gets the ball back into play (only option left) it has to be worth half a point!

PS: This shot in question is also back-to-front to me and that is why it is a bit tricky. and often hit unnecessarily as you have to make up your mind early how you are going to return the ball. Why? The ball you are chasing is heading towards the backhand side not very close to the side wall, you chase after it in preparation for a backhand return, but then all of a sudden realise the ball is not going to make the back wall, have to then reverse your stroke to become a forehand lob/toss (reaching out to hit it before it hits the floor twice, as it is impossible to boast because you are too far away) by hitting the ball into the back wall with sufficient height to carry the ball onto the front wall.

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From drop-shot - 11 Nov 2007 - 05:03   -   Updated: 11 Nov 2007 - 05:03

regarding the glossary you are referring to, Rita:

See Boast.
Maybe I am to naive but still I believe that "Boast" played from the backwall may hit sidewall first then the frontwall and bounce. Am I wrong?

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From rippa rit - 05 Nov 2007 - 07:20   -   Updated: 05 Nov 2007 - 15:02

In all the years of playing and coaching, I always believed a boast was a side wall shot. Well certainly a boast does not hit the  front wall or back wall first.  Therefore I believe the shot in question belongs to the drive or lob/toss family of shots.

There is nothing in the execution of this shot that resembles a boast; if anything it is more like a back wall lob I guess, certainly in its execution; and in the finish it should resemble a drop shot.....that is when it is a good shot, otherwise it is just a desparate attempt to get the ball back into play.

I have never watched any top players or AIS training squads actually practice this shot, and it is mostly the kids/juniors who think it is cool. Must admit I used the shot in the latter stages of my squash when I was slowing up because as you try to cover the front corners, it leaves more back court open. Hit with the correct angle and height can be effective.

PS - Here is an interesting Glossary of terms

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From fatness - 05 Nov 2007 - 04:57

Quote: "Some players are referring to this shot as a "back wall boast" - but, sorry, I cannot call it that as I do not really believe it has anything to do with a boast."

I was told by a well respected pro at our club that a boast is a shot that does not hit the front wall first, rather it hits one of the other walls first. Hence we get two shots, a side wall boast and a back wall boast. Why do you believe it has nothing to do with a boast Rita?No disrespect meant, just curious.

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From hamburglar - 05 Mar 2007 - 22:51   -   Updated: 06 Mar 2007 - 07:42

There are times when this shot is necessary, either it's the only or best choice you have to keep the point going. The key is in keeping it high and tight to the wall when it comes off the front wall. This should give you time to get back to the T and limit your opponent's choices at the front.

Also, play with how close to the backwall you are when you hit it. Very interestingly, you don't have to hit the ball very hard when it's only a few inches off the back, sometimes only tapping the ball up with do. Further from the backwall, maybe a foot or two off, you need to hit the ball a bit harder. Something to do with the compression/recovery of the ball shape i think. If you wait for the right time, your opponent will barely hear it hit the back wall and will just be looking around for it after they don't see it getting to the front yet.

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From drop-shot - 02 Nov 2006 - 06:52   -   Updated: 02 Nov 2006 - 06:53

According to my experience - this shot is the one you should avoid. High lob to the front wall, your opponent is just waiting there, you are still glued to the backwall, well... you know what I mean. It is good to know how to play it but in the match I would not recommend it as your secret weapon

P.S. I totally agree with Rita, this shot has nothing to do with "boast"

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From arun - 28 Jul 2005 - 17:11

great i ve tried it, it works

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