I am watching a match between Jonathon Power and Peter Nicol on www.psasquashtv.com and am inspired by Jonathon’s play. He uses all 4 corners of the court beautifully to stretch his opponent out. What I find truly incredible to watch though is his use of deception in the front corners. Even watching the match on the computer it is difficult to figure out what shot he is going to play. There are really three things I believe that made him so hard to read at the front court. His body position, racquet preparation and how good he was at hitting the various shots.
Your body position in the front corners is critical as it gives you the ability to hit the drop, the straight length or the cross court. In particular leaving yourself the straight shot is critical and what Jonathon did so well. It is a hard shot to play and most players don’t even leave themselves the option with their approach to the ball in the front corner. Jonathon on both the forehand and backhand would setup the same for a drop, a straight drive or the cross court drive.
Racquet preparation is equally critical to your body position. Jonathon’s racquet preparation when he was in the front corner looked the same for the drop or either drive. It is very important to have your racquet in a position that will allow you to drive or drop. Many players when they are going to drop have already extended their racquet out in such a manner that prevents them from driving the ball. Likewise they will only have their racquet back when they go in to the front corner when they are going to drive. Focus on being able to hit a drop, or the straight or cross court drive every time you go in to the front corners. Work on making your racquet preparation look the same for every choice.
The ability to hit a quality drop, a quality straight drive or a quality cross court drive front corners is the key. Jonathon Power was great at all three shots. He had an amazing drop. He could kill it in to the nick given the angle or if the angle did not present itself he would keep it hugging the side wall. His cross court drive had the width to get by his opponent at the ‘T’. The straight drive from Jonathon was lethal. It is a very tough shot as your can’t pull it at all, you can’t catch the side wall it has to be very straight. Jonathon hit the straight drive from the front corner beautifully.
Jonathon Power was terrific in the front corners and his opponents rarely knew what shot was coming. His body position, racquet preparation and the fact that he could play any shot with such quality from the front corners left his opponents guessing as to what shot he was going to play.