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Playing shots with an open stance

Published: 17 Oct 2016 - 23:17 by Philslow

Updated: 12 Sep 2017 - 16:12

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Most of the top pros play a lot of their shots with an open stance (i.e. the "wrong" leg forward); if you watch a modern pro match you will see that they almost never hit a drive with a closed stance unless the ball is very deep and most volleys seem to be played open. A young coach who spent a little time with me emphasised that when cutting off the ball mid court you should use the open stance because it is much quicker to reach the ball and return to the T using that body position; I agree.
But my regular coach, who is even older than me (and I'm over 60), says that I should always play closed stance and that I will risk damage to my hips if I try to play like the youngsters. Hmmm ... quandary ... I can hit the ball open and it does feel the right way to play the shot sometimes but if I adhere to my coach's principle (and he is only trying to protect me, it's not old school squash .. even Jansher played many shots open stance) am I limiting my game?squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


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From rippa rit - 12 Sep 2017 - 16:12

Coaches do not always agree, and often professionals do not agree.  Fair enough, so long as a good result is being obtained and progress is being made nobody will argue with that. The other future question to be aware of is stroke and game development as a continuous fact right to the top level of play, and this can take 20 years of experience. So many people say they watch this video and that player and try to copy without really knowing what the finer points within the skill are, or know what style of play actually suits them.  There are a heap of drills and routines in squashgame that soon sort out the sheep from the goats.  Set gradual realistic goals and keep consolidating your skills. What do i mean? Ask yourself while watching these "u beaut" videos that so many players/coaoches put on F/B and U-tube "is this my standard"? Can I aim at a front wall target and hit the  ball to consistent length? Can I analyse the skills and the components of the strokes i am watching to understand what will make a difference to my game? If the answer is "no", and you enjoy watching the video that is great; however, you will not succeed at developing this controlled game, and end up running about like a "chicken with your head chopped off!" much the same as you were doing before watching the elite video.

Summary - no trades that i know of throw out basics until they have at least ten years experience and know the principles of the trade. Squash is a game of angles rather like billiards,plus there is height, speed, elevation, targets, footwork, clearing the ball, giving the opponent every opportunity to play their shot.  Please start with simple phrases like shoulder to the target, swing parallel to the side wall to keep the ball straight, hit and move, maintain good  balance, take a wide base of support, reduce errors.  Little things can mean a lot when you are a novice.

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From raystrach - 22 Oct 2016 - 20:48   -   Updated: 22 Oct 2016 - 20:51

hi philslow

being over 60 i think i can offer some perspective on this.

in the old days we were coached with a very closed stance with right foot forward on the backhand and left foot forward on the forehand (rh player) in this context by forward i mean pointing twoards the ball

i must have practiced in this style with thousands and thousands of drill over the years.

but while i was practising like this, in reality, you game was not like this. coaching had not caught up to the real world.

when i wrote and edited the squash australia basic coaching manual in the late 90s we were empahasizing balance and there is no doubt that the open stance achieves that best.

the front foot in now the one closest to the front wall and the back foot closest to the back wall.

you will see on this website that we advocate an open stance. a lot of the content on this site was written in the early 2000's.

the game has changed a lot since then with new racket technology.

since then, these ideas have evolved and developed and i have a done a lot of coaching using these ideas. i now have some better guidlines for this method now, and they will soon find their way into these pages in an upcoming rewrite.

because of the different bio mechanics of forehand and backhand, the open stance is more important on the forehand as with a closed stance on the forehand, the hitting shoulder is nowhere near the ball.

this makes a huge difference in getting accuracy and getting the ball out of the deep corners on the forehand side.

thre are still people out there who insist that the closed stance is better (as you have discovered), but there is no doubt in my mind that a basically open stance is far superior. more power, greater accuracy, more hitting options. the only downside is that rh players will work the right leg far more than the left

although my court coverage is not quite what it was in the good old days, i have no doubt at all that i am playing better now than i ever have, partially as a result of adjusting my footwork.

just remember that, because squash is such a dynamic game, it is not always possible to be in the optimum position for every shot, so then the most important thing becomes balance.

if you have the time to get properly set, then an open stance is usually optimal.

check out our library pages for some pointers

hope this helps.

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