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Drive & Boast - striving to angle the ball towards the nick area

Drive & Boast - striving to angle the ball towards the nick area

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Strive to angle the ball so it travels towards the nick area

Published: 28 Dec 2005 - 10:18 by rippa rit

Updated: 20 Nov 2020 - 00:30

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This is about playing angles to the nick, namely drives and boasts.  Often we tend to get into trouble when playing short angles, though what I describe will apply to others.  It is really geometry. An example of the elements to think about when returning  a short shot (drives and boasts).
 in this diagram as shown) are:

  • the distance the ball is from the side wall,
  • the height of the bounce of the ball
  • the depth the ball lands within the court
  • your court positioning (struggling to get there or ready early)

Whatever the reply, short or long, it is about angles.  Simply put, when driving the ball, it could be easier to halve the angle between the ball and the side wall, to realise the front wall target.  Before you start trying this during a game, do this little exercise to get the idea and see if you can see the angles:

  • stand at the T, bounce a ball on the corner of the service box,
  •  halve the angle from the corner of the service box to the side wall (which would be about 1m),
  • now aim 1m across the front wall (from the corner), and that target should then place the ball angling nicely to the back corner of the court.

Experiment with different ball positions using this same theory.  Let us know how it went.  It seems confusing but just be patient and hit a dozen or so balls until you can consistently get the accuracy.. you will soon get it.

These diagrams show the angles for both drives and boasts. After some solo drills, find a partner, and follow up with the routines in these diagrams.  Being able to hit the nick when playing a boast is no fluke shot, it is all about the angle.

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From 3atclub - 09 Dec 2011 - 02:19

 ok i need someone to explain this to me...ive read and read and looked at yhour diagrams and makes little sense to me

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From rippa rit - 02 Nov 2008 - 08:42   -   Updated: 02 Nov 2008 - 08:59

Mike - I have watched so much squash (just as a spectator) and often want to jump over the balcony to explain such simple geometry as "halve the angle"; how many players (not only beginners) just hit the ball the same no matter where they stand, and of course the tighter the ball is to the side wall then the tighter the ball  tends to come back; then the player repeats the same shot, excepting that is lands 2 metres from the side wall, and gets one big surprise that the ball comes back down the middle. Next thing, oops a let/stroke is called.

About the spin with respect to the angle, I think it is more about the angle of the racket face altering the angle, eg side spin as opposed to top spin, which does alter the dynamics.  A serve is another good example, eg angle of the racket face, angle of the ball too, angle of the swing, all can change the front wall trajectory.  

Well, just to keep The Stig thing going, he would know on a slippery course all about the adjustments of spin, or he hits the rails !!!

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From mike - 01 Nov 2008 - 22:44

Actually it was more that the Guru and The Stig seem to have secret identities (certainly The Stig) and impart wisdom from semi-anonymity.

Back on topic and what you mention about halving the angle for a drive shows the roll of friction between the front wall and the ball, especially with a bit of spin. Sometimes the angle out does not match the angle in, when the ball 'bites' on the front wall and comes out straighter than one might expect.

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From rippa rit - 01 Nov 2008 - 21:09

Mike -What brought that on?  Oh the bit about the spin, the angle and the acceleration. Rest assured we only have one Guru and he is working on some more philosophies which I hope will be available very soon.

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From mike - 01 Nov 2008 - 20:37

Are the Squashgame Guru and The Stig on Top Gear one and the same?

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From raystrach - 11 Jun 2006 - 22:31

hi adz

your mention of physics reminded me of our often lost guru. read this one if you haven't already.

deception part II

mind you, the guru has a magnetic sense for publicity. i guarantee he will be back any minute with another post seeing i have mentioned him.

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From rippa rit - 09 Jun 2006 - 08:00

BizzareCo - I guess coaching is about trying to explain the skills, and tactics so that students can  "catch on" to the point of the drill, tactic, skill or whatever.....and if a student understands billiards, they may then also understand angles, deflection, speed, spin and so on better (maybe not height though, oops!). 
The more ideas the better to try to catch each person's imagination.
You know we go on about skills, and you can forever, but there is so much more.................

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From BizarreCo - 08 Jun 2006 - 21:30

Ah, geometry! Being a mathematician I love it when people think about the physics and theory of squash like I do!!


I have to say that I completely agree that angles become massively important in shot-play. Especially when it comes to width. When you think about it, certain shots become almost redundant from certain position on the court when playing a good vollier.

Example 1

You've been put in the front corner (either one) by your opponent, and are approximately 1m from both the front wall and the side wall (on the corner of a little imaginery square!). If you play a crosscourt drive into the back corner, the ball travels right through the T for Mr Vollier to win the point off! If you make it anything below about 10ft then you're going to have problems!


Example 2

You've been put into the back corner by your opponent and you decide to play a cross court to the opposite back corner. Once again due to the angles, this shot will travel within volling reach of the T.


As strange as it sounds, I train my juniors to force people into situations and cover the loose shots that they try to play. I try to get them to think about the angles on the court and how the ball moves through the court when played at different angles. My first example to them is the natural movents of a 3 walled boast (a boast that hits 3 walls - side, front then other side). This shot will naturally return to the rough area that it was hit from. Using this example I can show them how to vary the boast so it doesn;t return. Then move on to other shots that can be played to get them the best from their shots e.g. a lob can be pretty much unreturnable if you get the angle correct on the downward arc so that the ball comes off the side wall and bounces along the backwall. Simple but so heavily effective against players who don't volley very well.


I think we should have a "Physics and Mathematics of Squash Thread" to discuss all elements of geometry, speed, acceleration, power and spin!!

Loved the examples Rita, and hope you don't mind, but I'll be adding them to my coaching on geometry!!


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