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The Squash Volley Technique


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The volley draws much of its basic technique from the drive.
  • Volleys speed  up the game of Squash, giving your opponent less time to recover and think.
  • Volleying in Squash helps dominate the T area.
  • The Squash Volley can be an aggressive/attacking shot.
  • A basic  tactic in Squash is to volley where ever possible
  • The Squash volley does not have to be a hard shot but does require more control as there is often less time to prepare and hit the ball
  • Using the open face racket technique is esecially importamt when playing the volley

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PSA Squash TV - CIMB Malaysian Open 2012

Basic Volley

Preparation for the volley
  • Get to the ready position early, with an open racket face, as the ball often comes quickly.
  • Attempt to take the ball out in front as it makes for a more effective shot

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Take volley out in front

More on the Basic Volley

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More on the Basic Volley

  • Players should be aggressive in looking for volleying opportunities
  •  A firm grip and wrist are vital to keep control of the shot
  • Where possible, move forward to take the volley early
  • The volley is an attacking shot which can intimidate opponents

Video clip Backhand Volley/Volley Boast alternatives off cross court

Backhand Volley/Volley Boast alternatives off a cross court drive
To take the ball early on the backhand volley can speed up the game.
By playing to either of the three corners of the court, particularly with the same preparation, can create delay in the opponent moving into position to recover the ball.  Things to look for:
  • Try to take the cross court before the ball hits the side wall.
  • Move forward to strike the ball early unless you cannot hit the ball before it hits the side wall, in which case a volley boast might be the shot to play.
  • If you play the front too much the opponent might start to move forward, and that then gives the opportunity to play length.

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Overhead Volley

High volley preparation
  • The ball is hit in a vertical plane.
  • The ball is hit with an open faced racket on the outside of the ball

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High Backhand volley technique

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How consistent is my volley?

How successful is your volley?

Good Bad
Landing above the tin. Hitting the tin
Keeping me in front of my opponent Landing in the middle of the court
Speeding up the game Allowing my opponent to get in front
Making the opponent move quickly Getting me into trouble
Saving my energy Not giving me any game advantage
Causing my opponent to rush and panic Giving away "penalty" strokes

Video clip Overhead Smash

Overhead Smash - The decisions to influence your choice of returns can be based on technical or tactical reasons.

Technical
  • Can I hit a good volley?
  • Will I be able to get the opponent out of the front of the court?
  • Will my shot be tight enough?
Tactical
  • If I let the ball go to  the back, will it hit the back wall?
  • If the ball does hit the back wall, will I be able to return it?
  • Will the ball rebound so I can do an attacking shot?
  • If I volley the ball my opponent has to give me sufficient space to hit the ball.
How to choose what is the best option?

1. If you are not able to reach high enough to hit downwards with an open racket face -  hit a high overhead which will strike high on the front wall and rebound deep and tight within the court. 
2. If you are able to reach overhead comfortably, attack the ball with a smash that will either hit a nick or remain tight to the side wall.
3. If you feel trapped at the back a tight, high, soft floating volley will be a very safe option.

The longer you leave the ball in the air, the more time your opponent will have to get back into position.

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Shoulder Height Volley

Shoulder height volley on the backhand
  • Move forward into the shot.
  • Hit the ball well out in front with an open faced racket.

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Open racket face on the forehand volley

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Video clip Solo Volley from mid-court

Volleys from Mid-court.

Volley chipping is excellent practice to improve racket control, and hand eye co-ordination.

Volleys from mid-court require:
  • Good racket work
  • Efficient preparation
  • A keen eye
  • Quick reflex.
The skills practiced in these videos will dramatically improve your game by adding more attack, more speed, and more variety to your play.

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Drop Volley

Open racket face on the backhand volley drop
  • The drop volley is hit with a very open racket face and less racket head speed.
  • Take the racket head through the ball to get the carry on the ball.

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Video clip Volley Drop off Cross Court

Volley Drop off a Cross Court
In some parts of this video the footwork looks very open to the front wall when intercepting the ball. 
At some levels of play this footwork may not be as effective, especially if the speed and angle of the ball is misjudged. However, if you are confident of judging the ball the shorter route to the ball will make for an earlier interception.
If you misjudge the ball, eg
  • realise you could not reach it,
  • changed your mind and decided to let the ball bounce,
it will be difficult to regain your footwork, balance and swing.

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Volley Boast

  • The volley boast should be hit with a very open racket face.
  • Swing downwards keeping the racket head controlled.
  • The angle the ball hits the side wall is the same as for a side wall boast.

Link to Boast.

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Video clip Backand Volley Boast

Volley Boast off the serve can turn into an aggressive shot if it is placed nicely into the front corner. 
  • By taking the ball off the wall as a volley boast, will prevent the ball dying into the back corner and requiring a weaker return.
  • A volley boast that lands accurately in the front side wall nick will usually give a weaker return, one that can be hit away into the back of the court putting a lot of pressure on the opponent.
Volley Boast off a length shot gets the opponent on the move
  • The Volley Boast is ideal to intercept a length shot, and move the opponent quickly out of position.  It can change the flow of the game and take the initiative from the opponent.
A great shot to keep the opponent on the move.

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Stop Volley

Backhand stop volley backswing
  • Sometimes referred to as a Reflex Volley.
  • Keep the backswing short and sharp as the ball is intercepted very quickly.
  • Present a very firm racket face to the ball to retain control.
  • The follow through is short and sharp as the shot is "punched" into play.

More Pics...

Backhand stop volley contact point
Backhand stop volley follow through

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Video Volley Drop

Volley drop
Sometimes this shot is referred to as a stop volley, as it is an ideal choice when there is power generated by the opponent.
This can be a surprise shot, particularly if it is cut tightly into the front corner,  and can catch the opponent flat footed. Key points to observe in this video:
  • Preparation and movement gives very little clues until execution as to what shot will be played, eg drop, boast, volley, or length.
This looks a very simple shot, however there are anticipation cues to executing this shot promptly, and returning to the T immediately.  The receiver must anticipate by watching the server carefully, eg
  • the speed of the serve
  • the angle of the serve
  • the anticipated position of intercepting the ball
  • the readiness of the racket face to slice the ball into the front corner.
 

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