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Beginner squash - tips and advice on shots

Published: 28 Feb 2011 - 09:49 by millardus

Updated: 03 Mar 2011 - 17:45

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Hi folks

I started playing squash 2 weeks ago and I think I'm getting addicted.  I have played tennis for 20-odd years so am handy with a racquet, but am clueless in squash tactics so I'm boning up as much as I can and playing 2-3 times per week so far.  However, to aid me in some individual practise I'll be doing, could I ask some advice.

Playing shots that are an inch to a couple of inches away from the side wall?? I haven't managed to play these at all well, and if I do get them back, I really dont know what I've done.  Could someone explain the technique I should use and also what shots are the most sensible ones to play (do I play the ball into the side wall and get it to rebound somewhere, do I bash my raquet into the side wall and hope I get it to go forward?)... I'm a bit clueless on this one right now as I haven't got on court just by myself yet to repeatedly try things out.

One more thing, I'm pretty good at playing the volley return off the serve, as long as I am alert and can get forward quickly enough.... But, is it good practise to maybe hang back and just play the rebound serve that comes off the side wall? Or is it generally not wise to rely on playing that? 

The reason I ask is when I do try for the immediate volley return, I often get caught out by a power serve that just heads straight for my body...I was hoping I could find a return option which is considered the "safest" option, and then as I get better I can try for the more high-risk intercept volley returns...(Assuming the volley intercept is considered the more difficult one that is..)

This is my first post so excuse me if this has all been covered before, I'll start roaming the site more often during the week to check out the resouces.


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From sloejp - 03 Mar 2011 - 17:45

 there is a drill you can do to improve your ability to return shots that are tight on the side walls.

stand facing the side wall and slowly swing your racket so that the racket head comes as close as it possibly can to the side wall without touching it. make sure that you are far enoug from the side wall that your swing isn't cramped in any way. keep swinging slowly. then gradually increase the speed while making sure that your racket head is as close to the side wall as you can get it without touching. if you do this for your forehand and backhand, it will help you return tight shots.

still, you won't be able to get a lot of power into your return, so your best option is to keep it straight and tight.

as for return of serve, i think it is always better to volley the return if you can, but you need to watch your opponent to see if they are changing their serve to try to jam you with a hard shot hit toward your body. if that happens, maybe it's better to move more toward the centre than the back wall.

also, can you play the boast shot yet? if not, it might be a god idea to learn it as you can use it occasionally to return a tricky serve.


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From rippa rit - 02 Mar 2011 - 09:06

hamburglar, that just reminded me to talk about what tennis players do on court; well, they just play tennis and want to hit lots of forehand shots and lots of forehand volleys which can really get them out of position.  The volleying and  power of a converted tennis player can be very intimidating to a beginner/lower grade player and often gives the illusion of playing good squash.  The forehand drive, forehand volley, and hard serve can be a tremendous strength but if those shots are played to the exclusion of the backhand strokes really bad movement patterns can develop and hinder progression through the grades.

I hope you understand my points.


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From hamburglar - 02 Mar 2011 - 02:46

Not a good idea to swing hard at a tight ball.

You should slow down your swing a lot and keep the racket perpendicular to the wall, maybe add a slight flick with your fingers to push it down the wall, but your goal is to keep the ball tight, on all shots.

Get in the rally, it's not like tennis where points are often won off the serve or serve return. If rallies are good, you need to work your way into the point and get the opponent running and tired.

Save your interceptions for when they hit a loose, rushed ball, not when they're hitting a well-prepared serve.

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From rippa rit - 28 Feb 2011 - 19:33

Tonm I have put in some key words for your post and I see there is a heap of info from previous articles to read.  Our Squash Library is an excellent place to start for basic technique ideas.

Enjoy the squash journey and have fun.  Tennis players do volley well in squash and that is their strength. However, the side walls are a problem for tennis players, and also the technique because of the restricted area to swing.

Let us know how you go.


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