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missing the ball

Published: 04 Dec 2009 - 09:52 by aprice1985

Updated: 31 Dec 2009 - 14:17

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Recently one of my biggest problems has been outright missing the ball when i try to play shots, it is most common when trying to hit the return of serve that I either just dont hit the ball, or is mis-hit it so much that it flys off wildly.  Occasionally it is also out of the back of the court, both before and after the ball has hit the back wall.  On the return of serve i think i may be taking my eye off the ball and looking at the target on the front wall instead, if this is the case any solutions?  Any thoughts welcome

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From DJ613 - 31 Dec 2009 - 14:17

 get someone to feed for u and keep your eyes on the ball throughout the entire stroke of your ball.  much like federer does in tennis.  don't look up until the ball has hit the front wall.  a more advanced way to do this and improve court sense is to get someone to feed to u where u stand at the T and hit length back to the feeder.  when hitting the ball watch it all the way through your stroke and dont look up until the ball has landed in the length so u see where it lands.  

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From jacob123 - 26 Dec 2009 - 14:42

hi , it is so wonder full and i enjoy it .

jacob

workout routine

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From rippa rit - 19 Dec 2009 - 08:45

aprice - so you can hit the ball when you feed it to yourself or a partner feeds it for you? 

Check out these things when returning serve:-

  • Stand close to the middle of the court (be ready to then travel as your brain gets the various clues, eg soft high, hard, tight, take it early, step in and punch the ball, take a full controlled swing etc.)
  • Stare at the opponent's ball toss as they prepare for serve, while watching the contact with the ball (open racket, type of swing, swinging upwards, sideways, high  ball toss, low ball toss, etc)
  • Follow the ball with your eyes all the way from the opponent's racket to the front wall (at the same time preparing yourself to move into position for a high shot, a hard shot, an angled serve).  If itis the angle of the serve that is tricking you practice serving the ball yourself in various ways and notice how the different swings, ball toss, etc. make a difference to the type of serve coming off the front wall.
  • Have your racket well prepared with the racket/arm above your shoulder (and, at the same time, burn your body ready to intercept the ball), never taking your eye off the ball.
  • If you feel awkward, just ghost this sort of movement a few times to make sure you do not trip over your own feet, and get some sort of rhythm with your "racket" and body positioning.

A lot of what you say I think has a lot to do with the rebounding off the walls, and judging the speed and angle, so you actually move into position without fumbling about.....

Why don't you take a video of your game (just a short clip) so I can actually see what you are doing?

 

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From aprice1985 - 19 Dec 2009 - 00:56

I have been trying to practice the high volley and just seem to be snatching at the ball, previously I think I used to have quite a nice controlled punch at the ball, any thoughts on how best (other than just keep feeding them for myself) to try to practice these.  It is still the return of serve that gives me so much trouble, any lob serve and i jsut miss the ball entirely, what is the best foot position and stance for returning serve?  Any advice welcome

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From rippa rit - 07 Dec 2009 - 06:39

Arthur I believe you do not watch the ball squarely at all times.  Try keeping on the move at all times and never really plant yourself while the opponent is chasing the ball.  It is from watching your opponent that you get the clues about the return, eg opponent in position to hit the ball, opponent stretching out of position, racket back and ready, scrambling to get the ball back, ball behind or level with opponent, opponent crowding, opponent moving forward or hanging back, opponent volleying, shot landing in the corner, and so on.

If you feel scared of being hit wear some safety goggles.  If you think you are in the flight path of the ball move out of the line of fire and as the opponent is about to strike the ball get ready to take off.

Try it and let's know.

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From aprice1985 - 07 Dec 2009 - 06:26   -   Updated: 07 Dec 2009 - 06:27

You are very correct Rita, not everyone can feed balls well, I am not great at it and I found that when I did the coaching sessions with the university team a lot of the drills were team members paired up and all too often it became too "competitive" everyone trying to hit perfect shots and not feed for their partner.  Also  I feel that drills have to suit the person doing them, during the team coaching we did some straight drive boast with 2 boasters and 1 person driving, which led to me playing many boasts from mid court, a shot i was trying to train myself out of as i over used it!

On the wide eyes, narrow eyes front, it sounds like it is something that is very automatic and would be quite hard to practice and comes more with experience, is this correct and if not how best to train yourself for it, as you know my awareness of my opponent on court is not the greatest.

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From rippa rit - 06 Dec 2009 - 22:13

Yes, having a person to feed would be good but not every person can hit accurately enough to get a consistent feed.  Throw the ball as a feed will also work.  Observe the ball, try different things and watch what happens and how far it bounces out, etc.. 

Well, instead of playing squash with the narrow and wide eyes concept, let's go for a drive in the car.  So we are going down the road and have wide eyes, eg notice the traffic, the speed, the distance to the next set of lights, the side streets, the school kids, what the person is front is doing, how fast they are travelling, those girls over there in the bikinis, etc. and generally have wide eyes.  Then, the traffic starts to pile up and the lights change colour, pedestrians are crossing, and that brings the narrow eyes/focus, and decisions have to be made more quickly.  This is what happens instinctively as far as I understand in most things we do.  The more experienced we are the more things we notice, but we do not turn our back, but keep ourselves in a position to get as many clues as possible.  For example driving, we sit up and make sure we get as much in our view as possible, we do not glue our eyes just to the road.

Does that make sense now?

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From daveamour - 06 Dec 2009 - 18:54

Quote: "I shall be trying some of the solo practice but I would have thought the angle would be wrong as it would be a straight ball unlike a serve which is cross court?"

When receiving on your backhand, serve with your forehand.  This will give you an angle simillar to someone serving from the right with a backhand serve.  The fact that this gives you possibly a slightly narrower angle is a good thing as the real serves you get will hopefully be looser and easier than what you practice - train hard, fight easy.

Do the opposite when you are returning on your forehand - serve with your backhand and this makes a lateral difference of 5 or 6 feet difference at least in the angle of the serve.

In addition you can vary your serve to yourself - hard, slow, high etc.

Of course the best practice is if you can get someone to feed you so maybe you can find a friend of a simillar level who you do training routines with?

 

 

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From aprice1985 - 06 Dec 2009 - 09:14

The stuff about getting too close to the ball is very familiar, I think it is the narrow eyes wide eyes term I have not come accross before.  The theory sounds very good but it sounds difficult to practice in solo drills or even pairs drills.  when I am taking my eye off the ball it is often to look at the target on the front wall just at the point of racquet meeting ball and so miscuing the shot.  Watching the opponent is something else I often fail to do, I am good at the narrow eyes during a rally, focussing only on the ball but this in turn leaves me unsure where my opponent is relative to me.  the lower balance and stride into the ball is something i do well during the rally but no so well off the serve, it could be a problem with my position to recieve I guess.

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From rippa rit - 06 Dec 2009 - 08:53

well, you have narrow eyes (definite specific focus, eg stance in the service box, ball toss, angle and height of the ball toss) though once having struck the ball, the eyes need to go wide to take in all the necessary info, eg the height of the serve, the angle leaving the front wall, speed, position and angle of the opponent, the opponent's racket preparation, their ability to volley, then will all this enable you to move closer to the T (for safety sake) or get out of the way and be ready to run.

To continually be so close to the ball shows me you are not taking in all the information with the wide eyes approach, eg if a hard ball hits the side wall it will bounce out further into the court so there is no need to rush into the wall and then backpedal as it will rebound into the court.  If the ball is slow and only a very slight angle onto the side wall it most likely will not jut out nearly so far so it means stepping into get it. 

I think in this solo practice you need to hit some angles into the side wall (feeds) so you can get more practice with the high, low, hard, soft rebounds.  Even when the ball is tight to the wall don't  move into the wall closer than say two racket lengths, then it is just the final lunge that will make all the difference.  Take longer lower strides to give better balance when approaching the balls in the corners.

Squash has more ball characteristics than other ball sports because of the walls and angles.

Something tells me I have told you some of this before...

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From aprice1985 - 06 Dec 2009 - 05:01

The volley is the biggest problem, occasionally when it comes off the back wall but that is normally me getting too close to the ball and not having enough room to drive.  The forehand seems to be a bigger problem than backhand and it must give my opponent nearly a full game of free points in a 5 game match!

It is less the position of the opponent that worries me, occasionally on the forehand when i volley straight i worry it will be too close to me and not give me time to clear if i hit deep.  On the forehand I am tending to constantly hit crosscourt returns (which does have the advantage of surprising my opponent when I do hit straight!)

The idea of wide eyes/narrow eyes is a new one for me, I shall have to check it out.  I shall be trying some of the solo practice but I would have thought the angle would be wrong as it would be a straight ball unlike a serve which is cross court?

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From daveamour - 04 Dec 2009 - 17:22

 I would be pretty sure you are right and this is caused by taking your eye off the ball and in particularly I would think on volley returns of serve.  Am I right?

Its a habit you have to break and to break habits requires practicing the rigth way so book some court time alone and stand in the position where you return serve and just serve the ball to yourself and play the return.  Play all returns as straight drives then maybe play 3 or 4 more drives then pick the ball up and start again.  Half the time on forehand and backhand of course and when there is just you on court you can take your time and concentrate on not taking your eye off the ball and eventually through practice it will become a new habit and you will do it without thinking.

PS when you serve to yourself I mean serve to the same side you are standing. I don't mean to serve to an imaginary opponent and then run like mad over the other side to return it!

 

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From rippa rit - 04 Dec 2009 - 14:18   -   Updated: 04 Dec 2009 - 14:21

It is easy to be distracted by the opponent especially as they start to move before you hit the ball, and you get scared that they are going to step in and wack your return away - this, in turn causes you to take your eye off the ball, and even change your mind to the sort of return you are going to play.

Yes, it is good to know where the opponent is on court and that is imperative, but only see them in the peripherial vision while still keeping your eye on the ball.  This tactic can work the other way too, where you keep on the move and make the opponent feel threatened that no matter what shot they hit you will get it back into play.

Have you heard me speak of wide eyes/narrow eyes referring to the big picture/small focus?  Do you try this concept during play?

One other thing.  If you hit the ball close to the wall (no matter how hard or soft) it will be hard to return even if the opponent knows what you are going to do.

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