A shot that looks easy but isn’t! (but then again, that is most shots in squash!)
The key to hitting a good drop shot is to follow-trough the ball. I see so many people thinking that in order to hit the ball softly they must stop their swing on impact. This has the opposite effect, it tends to inject pace into the ball rather than slow it down. The follow through actually cushions the shot, enabling you to caress the ball accurately into the front two corners.
The squashskills.com website are always re-iterating the importance of following-through in the direction of the shot. This is an important aspect of any shot, and especially the drop shot. After contact with the ball, your racket should continue through and almost point to where the ball is going.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not want to slice across the ball, bringing your follow-through across your body. You also do not want to chop down on the ball either. Slicing down or across the ball makes the shot harder to execute and it injects pace as you need to swing faster to apply the slice. The most important thing about a drop is that it is up! The next two factors are the pace and accuracy. So, it is obvious from these 3 factors that the swing needs to be simple and controlled (not fast and wild).
A small amount of slice does help the ball fade, and stay in the front corner. This slice is achieved by holding your racket correctly in the first place, not by actively slicing down or across during your swing. A squash players’ grip should be slightly open at the start of your back-swing. This will continue through your swing, so that on impact your racket face is still slightly open, not completely flat. This open racket face, coupled with a nice follow-through, will apply all the slice to the ball that is needed.
These 3 pictures of James Willstrop (who everyone knows plays a lovely drop shot) all show how his follow-through is straight out in front of him, in the direction of the ball (not across his body). We can see James has not chopped across or down on the ball, but simply guided it accurately into the front corner. This way he is keeping the shot simple, giving him maximum chance of controlling the pace and direction. His racket face is open, his knuckles facing the ceiling. This adds enough slice to make the ball fade on impact with the front wall.
Along with your swing and follow-through, you need to bend. The leading leg and back must be bent. Your head should be dipped and it needs to remain perfectly still on impact. You want to guide the ball in along eye-level wherever possible, which again James demonstrates brilliantly.
I am massive fan of the straight drop shot as you have the security of the side wall. By this I mean that if the shot is not an out-right winner, your opponent is hampered by the side wall. It is always safest to aim your drop shot to bounce then run tight along the side wall, and if you catch the nick it’s a bonus. Aiming directly for the nick can be dangerous because if you hit the side wall too thick, the ball will come away from the side wall, giving your opponent un-hampered space to attack your shot. Likewise, a cross-court drop shot is running into the open space, so will not run along the side wall.
Nicol David demonstrates perfectly the bend required and the slightly open racket face.
Right you’re ready to go and play a straight drop shot like the very best. Good luck.
LESSONS – YOU MUST FOLLOW-THROUGH. GET LOW AND AIM YOUR SHOT TO RUN ALONG THE SIDE WALL (catching the nick is a bonus, not a necessity)