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Playing shots with an open stance

Published: 17 Oct 2016 - 23:17 by Philslow

Updated: 22 Oct 2016 - 20:51

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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... PSA Squash TV - North American Open 2012


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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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