Squash Coaching Blog: Solo practice

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Solo Practice

Never underestimate the importance of solo practice. It can improve your game dramatically.

Most people don’t solo practice because they think it’s boring, they wouldn’t know what to do and it takes time they don’t have.

I would suggest doing solo practice 3 times a week for about half an hour at a time, but I totally understand that this does take commitment and discipline that is not always realistic for a club player. I cannot stress how much solo practice helps, so even if you can’t do it 3 times a week, do it once or twice. Even of you can’t be bothered to do it for half an hour at a time, just do it for ten minutes. Anything helps. I would suggest combining it with your scheduled games then you are not making any extra time to fit it in. Either turn up 20 minutes before you are due to play, or maybe stay on court for 20 minutes after your match and do it then. Before is probably easiest then you can use it as your warm up, and you’re not tired or depressed from the match you have just played!

If you do not know what to practice don’t fear. A good start is to hit forehand straight drives to yourself. This is the best way to get the ball warm. A good aim is to be able to hit 4 straight drives to yourself in a row, ideally with the ball bouncing once, then coming off the back wall before striking the ball again. This is harder than it sounds, but still very doable. Then move on to the backhand to try the same thing. Again, I understand this may be difficult or boring. Try not to lose faith and give up, but if you do, stay on court and do something else.

If you are struggling with the drives or your mind is wandering, move to the front of the court and practice drop shots. This is more fun as you’re practicing “winners”. Feel free to hit straight drops, volley drops, volley nicks, basically anything that pops into your head and anything that is fun. Just because it is not as “focused” as the drives, it’s still useful. It a good idea to practice using different spins, different angles of your racket face, anything really that helps develop your racket skills and gives you a feel for the ball, and what works best for you.

Here I have given you some fun solo practices to try. These may seem like basic fun exercises that aren’t really helpful for developing your squash, but they are. Even though these are not shots you would play, it’s all about learning how to control the speed and direction of the ball, and also knowledge of angles. Once you can control the ball, you will find yourself able to play any shot, from anywhere on the court, and at any speed.

Side to Side

Stand on the ‘T’. Face forwards. (For a right-hander), hit the ball onto the left side wall playing a forehand, so it loops across the court to hit the opposite side wall without bouncing. Then, still facing forwards, let the ball bounce once on the floor and play a backhand against the right hand wall so it loops back to the other side and hits it without bouncing. Then play a forehand against the left hand wall again. Repeat until you can get at least 20 shots in a row, trying to keep the ball bouncing on the half-court line each time.

Front trickle

Stand in the front right corner. (Again for a right-hander), hit a forehand to push the ball onto the side wall so it then hits the front wall like a trickle boast. Then after the bounce on the floor, hit a backhand, front wall to side wall, back onto your forehand. Repeat. So… forehand side wall to front wall. Then backhand front wall to side wall. Back to forehand side wall to front wall, and back to backhand front wall to side wall. When you can do 20 (you should be able to do it without your feet moving), lift the ball up a little and do it on the volley.

Figure Of 8

Most people have seen this done. Stand on the ‘T’, hit a forehand across your body, front wall to side wall. Let the ball bounce once on the floor, then play a backhand shot across your body front wall to side wall on the opposite side. Repeat. Again, once you can do 20, preferably without having to move your feet, do not let the ball bounce so you can do it on the volley.

Volleys

Stand near the front wall, near to the side wall on your forehand side. Pat the ball to yourself to volley again. Continue to play straight volleys to yourself. Once you have done 5 move back slightly whilst the ball is still in play. Hit another 5 volleys to yourself. Move back again, so you are now standing on the half court line. Hit another 5 keeping the ball in the air, then move to the back of the service box and hit a further 5 volleys to yourself. Once you can do this change sides and try on your backhand side.

Cross Volleys

Stand on the ‘T’. Hit a forehand narrow cross-court volley on to your backhand. Then hit a backhand narrow cross-court volley to your forehand. Repeat. Continue until you can do 20 in a row, preferably without having to move your feet.

Enjoy!

Solo practice