Squash Coaching Blog: Alternative to Boast & Drive

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So, as I said in Monday’s blog, I’m not a great fan of the standard Boast & Drive routine. It encourages you to boast too much when you play a match. Over-using the boast will naturally put you in a defensive position in a rally. A high or predictable boast can be one of the worst shots in squash.

There are many progressions from the standard Boast & Drive routine. Progressions which emphasize the drives more than the boasts. These offer a more productive and applicable workout for improving your squash.

1: 2 shots

Normal B&D but the person at the front will drop to themselves and then drive. The player at the back will drive straight to themselves and then boast. Practicing straight drops and straight drives from the back are the basis for quality squash.

If you have a loose boast you can aim your drop shot into the nick, but generally you are trying to make your drop shot go low and tight top the side wall. Always be of the opinion a nick is a bonus but your main objective is to get the ball tight to the side wall. On the drive from the back, you want your shot to run parallel to the side wall. The ball must not hit the side wall before the back of the service box because it will stop short of a good length and come toward the middle of the court. Your goal is always for the ball to bounce then carry to the back wall.

2: Player at the front can straight or cross-court

Self explanatory from the front, the player has the option to hit straight or cross.

A nice addition to this is the player at the back boasts the straight drives, but hits straight to themselves off the cross-courts. Hitting a solid straight drive from a cross-court is a difficult shot so it’s great to practice it.

3: Drive, drive, boast

Person A backhand boasts. Player B forehand straight drives from the front. Person A forehand straight drives from the back. Player B comes to the back to forehand boast. Person A backhand straight drives from the front etc etc.

I like this because of the movement. It’s a set pattern so you can’t get too confused. The important movement is to give yourself space at the front so you can hit a good straight drive without hitting into the side wall. Especially going to the front forehand, you must give yourself enough space. The temptation is to take a completely direct line to the ball, resulting in you being too close and then your shot will almost definitely be hit into the side wall.

4: Long drop

The player at the front can hit straight or cross-court drives. The person at the back can boast or straight drop.

The player at the back should be looking to take advantage of the loose cross-court drive by punishing it with a good straight drop. Volleys encouraged.

5: B&D game

Player at the front can hit straight or cross-court. Person at the back can boast, drop or straight drive. If he straight drives from the back, the front player must come back to retrieve the shot. Both players swap positions.

 

During all routines, it is a good idea to have targets on the floor where you want your drives to land. The target should be against the side wall and just behind the back of the service box. Shoes, wristbands, or half squash balls make good targets.

Placing targets on the floor turn any practice from a warm up routine, or simply aimlessly hitting, into a focused practice which will improve your quality of squash.

Generally try to practice 2-wall boasts, not the nick aiming 3-wall boast. 2-wall boasts put your opponent under more pressure and limit their options. 3-wall boasts must hit the nick otherwise you will put yourself in trouble. They are a desperation shot.