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Squash Strokes Trouble Shooting Tips

Players should find these Trouble Shooting guides for squash strokes quite helpful in finding the cause of the problems. Sometimes, technical adjustments (not mentioned here) need to be made to be able to execute the solution:

  • Players not wishing to change their style drastically yet improve their accuracy will find these tips very helpful. 
  • The tips are practical, not technical, and will assist any player irrespective of their grip and movement skills.

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Grip and Swing


The grip and swing go together. Why?

  • Without the grip, the swing cannot develop correctly. 
  • Without the swing, the grip will keep moving around.
  • If the grip moves the swing will become flat, and the swing will become a push or shoulder movement to get the power.
  • With a flat racket face  it will be difficult to get length.
  • A flat racket face makes it difficult to get under the ball to retrieve low shots, and errors will creep in. 
Problem Task Correction
Keep hitting the tin Aim higher on the front wall
  • Open the racket face when swinging.

The ball keeps going too high and has no power.

Pushing at the ball.


Lack of power in the drives. . 

Rotate the forearm when swinging at the ball.
  • Practice wrist exercises, and figure of 8 arm movement.
  • Practice ghosting movements using your racket, using a swinging action.
  • Get good balance.
  • Weight transfer as in throwing a ball.

Rolling the wrist.

Hitting the tin.

Hitting too short.



Follow through to the front wall target.

Get better length.

  • Relax the swing.
  • Strive to get a fluent swinging action, including the follow through.

Swing is cramped.

Dropping the wrist.

Shovelling at the ball.

Swing freely at the ball.
  • Keep a racket length plus the lunging space from the ball, to prevent over-running the ball.

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Lob Serve

Angle of the lob serve

A good lob serve is very high, and very soft, and just flops into the back corner.  A lob serve has very similar characteristics to a lob or toss.
Pointers to help with lob serves:

Problem Task Correction
Opponent keeps volleying the serve. Get the ball high over the opponent's head.
  • Throw the ball toss higher, open the racket face, lift the ball upwards onto the front wall.
Serve comes down the middle. Get the serve onto the side wall.
  • Throw the ball toss further in front to get more angle on the front wall.
Serve keeps rebounding off the back wall. To get the serve to die
  • Hit the serve softly as if lifting it up (be careful not to hit it hard).

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Power Serve

A power serve:

  • Resembles a tennis serve to some extent.
  • Takes more energy, and also is more tiring on the arm.
  • At a novice level it can be intimidating.
  • At a advanced level it can be easily volleyed unless placed close to the side wall, or side wall nick, at the opponent's feet.

Having trouble with the power serve:

Problem Task Correction
Serve keeps rebounding into the middle. Hit the serve lower
  • Aim just above the cutline when serving.
  • Aim for a target about the middle of the court.
Ball not hard enough Hit the serve harder
  • Throw the ball toss higher.
  • Hit the ball downwards towards the cutline.
Opponent volleys the serve. Get the serve to hit the side wall nick.
  • It is the angle on the front wall that gives the angle on the side wall.
  • Adjust the angle, and aim lower on the front wall to sit the ball down.

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A good toss is one which cannot be volleyed and does not rebound back into the court.

Problem Task Correction
Toss is not high enough To toss the ball over the opponent's head so the ball "dies" in the back of the court.
  • Soft high shot.
  • Aim higher on the front wall.
  • Open the racket face.
  • Spot a target on the front wall which is close to the center of the front wall.
  • Get the racket face under the ball and lift the ball up onto the front wall very high.
Not landing in the back corner. The ball not hitting the front wall target
  • Approach the ball side on.
  • Strike the ball slightly in front of the front foot.
  • Aim about the center of the front wall.
  • Swing in the direction of the front wall target.
Ball bouncing off the back wall. Getting the toss to "die" at the back wall.
  • Hit the ball softer.
Too close to the ball. Judging the distance from the ball to allow a free swing.
  • Leave room to lunge.
  • Control the wrist and racket face.
Ball hitting the side wall, and landing half-court. Ball not hitting the front wall target
  • The front wall target gives the angle of the rebound off the wall.
  • Contacting the ball too far in front of your body.
  • Approach the ball by moving towards the front wall and then across to the ball side on.

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Return of Serve

A good return of serve is one which takes your opponent away from the center of the court and enables you to take control of the front of the court.

Problem Task Correction
Return too short Hit good length off a serve
  • Aim higher on the front wall.
Return being volleyed. Hit tight high length off a serve
  • Aim soft and high on the front wall to get it overhead.
Return being intercepted.
Server guessing the return and stepping across.
Hit the return of serve away from opponent.
  • Aim closer to the corner of the front wall to get it tight.
  • Play alternative shots from a serve.
Return landing in center of the court.
Facing the front wall when striking the ball.
Turn side on to return the serve
  • Aim higher on the front wall for cross court lob.
  • Approach the return with a side on stance.
Not hitting the return on the full. Stand forward when receiving the serve
  • Move out of the back corner.
  • Reach up and forward to take the ball early.
  • Watch the server to get the anticipated angle of the serve so it can be intercepted before hitting the side wall.
Cannot drive the return off the back wall. Footwork when approaching the back wall.
  • Stand away from the walls while waiting for the serve.
  • As the serve goes overhead turn and face the back wall, wait for the ball to come opposite your body before swinging.
How can I get to the T Ability to hit various strokes when returning the serve
  • Tight length
  • Float to length
  • Volley boast
  • Volley drop
  • Cross court lob
  • Reverse boast

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Straight Drive
A straight drive to length is often referred to as a rail drive.
The important thing is for a drive to follow closely the side wall until it reaches the back corner, and dies, making it difficult to "dig" or boast out.

Problem Task Correction
Drive lands too short To hit the drive to length
  • Aim higher on the front wall; or
  • Hit the ball harder
Ball hits the side wall and lands in the middle of the court. To hit the ball deep
  • Adjust the target on the front wall.
  • Aim further away from the corner of the front wall.
Cannot get back to the T before the opponent hits the ball. To recover the ball with time to get to the T
  • The more time you need, the softer and higher the rail shot needs to be.

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A good volley is one which enables you to stay in front of your opponent.
Even if, when you start to learn to volley, it does not work for you, keep trying as it is an excellent shot to master.

Ways to improve your volleys:

Problem Task Correction
Unforced errors  Keep ball above tin
  •  Aim higher on the front wall.
  • Keep the racket open when swinging.
  • Take the ball earlier before it drops below the shoulders.
Ball keeps going cross court.
Opponent intercepting the ball
 Move side on to the ball
  •  Approach the ball with shoulders parallel to the side wall.
  • Visualise the front wall targets.
Ball hits the front wall, then the side wall, before landing in the back of the court.  Hit the volley to length
  •  Alter the angle the ball hits the front wall.
  • Strike the ball earlier and control the racket face.
  • Aiming too close to the front wall corner of the court.
Ball returns too close to body causing lets/strokes. Hit the ball away from the body
  • Strike the ball at the side of your body, leaving sufficient room for the swing.
  • Position feet/shoulders parallel to the side wall.
The ball bounces off the back wall.
Opponent hits an attacking shot when the volley rebounds off the back wall.
 To get the volley to die in the back of the court
  •  Aim lower on the front wall.
  • Aim around the cutline, and then adjust depending on the power of the stroke.

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Power Drive

A power drive is one which is low and hard and after hitting the front wall:

  • gets away quickly, preferably landing in a corner or nick
  • bounces twice before the opponent can get to it, not necessarily hit close to the wall.
Problem Task Correction
Cannot get enough power To get more power
  • Check the grip and swing.
  • Pronate/supinate the forearm.
  • Increase the backswing.
  • Follow through
Grip keeps slipping around Swing with a throwing action on the forehand.
Swing with a frisbee action on the backhand.
  • Standing in front of a mirrow practice ghosting swings, eg prontation, supination, figure of 8 movements.
Wrist is hurting after hitting hard drives. Relax the wrist.
Only "cock" the wrist very slightly.
  • Keep checking the grip.
  • Make sure the heel of the hand stays firm on the racket handle when playing/swinging.
Arm gets tired after a while Hit and grip, then relax.
Check the size of the grip as it may be too small.
  • Lessen the tension on the racket handle.
  • Hit with a firm slightly "cocked" wrist.
Jabbing and pushing the drive Pronate/Supinate the forearm
  • Use the correct grip.
  • Practice forehand and backhand figure of eight swings at home each day..

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The boast is an excellent shot used in tactics.  Why?

  • To bring the opponent forward, moving them from the T.
  • The boast is a good running shot as it can be hit while moving, and make the opponent change direction
  • Keep opponent off balance.


Problem Task Correction
Hitting the ball too straight into the wall.  Get angle into the side wall
  •  Approach the ball side on giving room to angle the ball at about 45 degrees.
Ball hits the side wall, then the opposite side wall and does not make the front wall.  Get the boast to hit the front wal
  •  Aim further down the side wall.
Ball hits the tin Hit through the ball with an open racket face, so the ball dies as it rebounds off the front wall.
  • Aim higher on the side wall.
  • Open the racket face.
  • Bend the knees.
  • Get under the ball to lift it up.
  • Lunge and swing under the ball with an open face racket.
Ball fails to hit the front wall. Movement to the ball positioning the feet so that the swing has a 45 deg angle to the side wall.
  • Aim further down the side wall to increase the angle.
Unable to get angle on the side wall. Movement to the ball positioning the feet so that the ball can be struck opposite the back foot.
  • Approach the ball side on giving room to angle the ball onto the side wall.
  • Wait and hit the ball a little later.


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Drop shot

The drop shot is a very skillful shot, and needs plenty of practice before putting into your game.
Solo practice drops until you feel confident.
Having problems with the drop:

Problem Task Correction
Ball bounces too much To play the front of the court
  • Hit the drop with a slicing/undercutting action.
Drop goes down Get the drop above the tin
  • Open the racket face, get under the ball, bend the knees.
  • A low lunge will make it easier to get the racket under the ball to lift it up.
The ball comes too straight off the front wall. Aim into the side wall nick
  • Angle the ball into the corner.
  • Approach the ball side on, and leave it a little later than if hitting a drive, to get more angle into the corner.
  • If you hit the ball too early it will go straight.
  • Too late it will hit the side wall before the front wall - pick a spot in-between those two positions.

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Getting in position

Part of attaining skill is acquiring fluent movement to and from hitting the ball.  Playing squash will help develop a better rhythm, however, practicing movement within the confines of a squash court using the T as the focal point will increase the speed of movement, as well as the sequence the body and racket get into position to strike the ball.

Ghosting regularly will help speed up this process. Having problems?

Problem Task Correction
Overbalance when swinging at the ball Clear the ball
  • Move with longer strides and leave room to lunge when swinging at the ball.
Over-run the ball Keep away from the ball
  • Move within 2 racket lengths of the ball, and then lunge and swing.
Get in the opponent's way Clear the ball
  • When hitting short move back to allow the opponent to get to the ball.
  • When hitting long move forward to allow opponent to go behind to retrieve the ball.
Feel awkward when moving from the front to the back of the court Move fluently around the court to recover the ball.
  • Place 4 balls on the court, close to the corners, and have a "pretend rally" by ghosting (moving from one ball to the other swinging as if to play a shot),




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