Does your squash game suffer from the following symptoms?
- Infrequent and/or poor volleys
- Sloppy racquet errors
- Fat shots and/or loose drives
- Unnecessary and/or excessive boasts
If you feel that you are tormented from the above complications, you may be suffering from “Late or Lazy Racquet Prep”.
It may seem simple and inconsequential, but racquet preparation is far from a trivial or minor thing. Why? To put it simply, the ball is moving with pace and trajectory, it does not stop and wait for you to hit it at the optimal strike zone. If your racquet isn’t ready, then you have lost the opportunity to hit the ball at the prime impact point (at or slightly in front of the hip closest to the front wall). Once the ball is past the ideal impact position, the swing is compromised and shot selection becomes drastically reduced.
Having the racquet ready means your wrist is cocked and the head of the racquet as at your hips or higher. Dangling the racquet head by the floor with a loose wrist does not constitute as “prepared”. As soon as your previous swing is completed you should try to form the habit of immediately re-setting the ready position.
The way I tend to teach this is to connect the racquet head movement to the shoulders. As you are back to the T from your previous shot, your wrist is cocked (yet relaxed). Once you see the ball moving to the left or right side, your shoulders turn to prep the body for hitting the forehand or backhand. As the shoulders turn the racquet head goes up with that movement. Doing this will have your racquet ready for anything that comes its way!
Keep this sequence in mind.
- EYE – See the ball so you can turn the body and react accordingly.
- RACQUET – What the eye sees the racquet head responds to ( up for forehand prep or up for backhand prep)
- FEET – Move the body behind the ball to strike it in the optimal spot.
Yes. The feet move last. The racquet is ready before (or as) you go to the ball! This tiny little thing can make a significant positive impact on your game.
With good racquet preparation you can and will reduce the symptoms outlined above.
First and foremost the racquet head is suddenly available for the VOLLEY. Adding the volley into your game helps in so many ways.
- Takes time away from your opponent between their shots (putting them under pressure)
- Takes you out of the back corners where trouble tends to occur
- Puts pace and variety into the game
- Helps maintain your T position
Secondly, having the racquet ready REDUCES RACQUET ERRORS / SLOPPY, LOOSE SHOTS and provides shot options other than the BOAST. When the racquet head is ready before the ball hits the optimal strike zone, your swing is smooth and clean. Weight shift is forward and through the ball. When the ball is in front of the swing all shots are accessible. If you are in the process of lifting the racquet to hit the ball when you get to it, then the ball moves behind the front hip meaning the weight shift reverses to the back foot, pulling the ball loose. Letting the ball get behind the body also diminishes shot options. It is very difficult to drop, cross-court, or even get in a tight drive. More often than not you are stuck with a boast to keep the ball in play. Making your game predictable and vulnerable to attack.
Not only does racquet prep help with the above elements, it provides the ability to ADD DECEPTION into your game. When your racquet is early, then you have time to “hold” your shot instead of swinging quickly before the ball completely passes you by. That slight pause before you stroke the ball muddles up the natural movement and flow of your opponent. They either become flat footed or lean to one side or the other. Both are difficult to recover from once the ball is struck, especially if they are leaning the wrong way. This kind of recovery to get to the next ball can put a lot of pressure on your opponent and wears them out!
In conclusion, if you are suffering from Late and/or Lazy Racquet Prep, it is highly recommended to alleviate these symptoms with a bit of hard work and practice.
Remember – EYE, RACQUET, FEET.
Small fix – big difference!
Racquet UP UP UP.
SQUASH PRO & PROGRAM COORDINATOR
BRANTFORD MOVATI ATHLETIC