Squash Coaching Blog: Do you use all of the front wall?

posted in: Coaching, Performance | 0

The front wall on a squash court is massive, yet I would wager you only use about 50% of it!

People generally hit too low:

They aim their drops and boasts too low – resulting in many errors. Be happy to aim 6 inches above the tine but make sure you play your short shot at the right time.

They aim their drives too low – resulting in drives which do not reach the back wall.

And finally – they don’t even use the upper part of the front wall – most people don’t lob, and if they do they lob too low hitting the front wall just above the service line.

Squash front wallHere I have divided the front wall into 3 Zones. It’s obvious when you see it in a diagram.

Zone 1 – shorts shots (boasts, kills and drops), and aggressive drives from the front corners.

Zone 2 – drives to the back when played from the back corners.

Zone 3 – slow lifts / lobs from the front or back corners.

Players like Nick Matthew, Ramy Ashour and Commonwealth Bronze medalist, Nafiizwan (Wan) Adnan, understand these three zones very well.

Zone 1 needs no explaining.

Zone 2

When people drive from the back corners they constantly aim too low, meaning they have to hit hard and very cleanly for the ball to reach all the way to the back wall. When a player hits a low hard drive from the back and avoids clipping the side wall it can look great and put your opponent under a lot of pressure, but…. it’s too inconsistent. All it takes is the drive to be slightly too low, or to hit the side wall and the ball will stop near the service box, meaning your opponent can take one step across from The T to hit the ball, and you remain stuck behind them. The principal goal from a drive is that you move your opponent off The T and you get the opportunity to move to The T. This can only happen if your drive reaches all the way to the back corner.

The simplest way to do this is to hit the ball at a medium pace and there is a target painted on the front wall to aim for – the Service Live. Aim the hit the service line and your drive will have enough pace and height to reach the back of the court. Simple. Job done.

Zone 3

The majority of players try to whack their way out of trouble, whether that is hitting hard out of the front corners or the back. Use Zone 3. Hit the ball nice and soft up near the very top line. Even if you over-hit or under-hit the pace, the ball will go high and give you time to recover. Recovering to a decent position near The T is your number one goal when you are under pressure. Using height will do this. It gives you time.

Good luck and think about which zone you want to hit each and every shot you play. Do not just aimlessly hit. Remember what you are trying to achieve with each shot. Do you want to attack or defend (Zone 1 or Zone 3), or do you simply want to move your opponent off The T with a good drive, nothing spectacular just a good drive which serves it’s purpose of reaching the back wall (Zone 2).

Commonwealth Games 2018
You can see from where both players are looking, that Wan has hit a high shot out of the back corner to make sure he gets the ball out of reach of Joel’s volley, ensuring the two players will swap positions in the middle of the court.