5 Simple tips to improve your drive

by John Welton

Open Racket face

The open racket face is essential for a successful swing in the game of squash, so ensure you understand what this should look like. For the drive it will help us have the option to hit at differing heights on the front wall. This is vitally important to be able to adjust the height and weight of your straight drive to ensure the ball hits the back wall, this will allow you to step forward and take control over the game. If you don’t make the ball hit the back wall it will allow your opponent to take the ball early and put you under a lot of pressure.

Link preparation of swing with your movement

It is important to understand how big a swing you require for the situations you are in. As you leave the T think of the swing floating up above the ball as you move to it. If you have a lot of time on the ball you will move onto the shot with a full swing. In contrast if the ball is low and fast your swing will need to be lower and shorter to be able to deal with the height of your opponent’s ball. Bringing your racket straight up will also stunt your movement and not allow for a fluid approach to the ball. Linking the preparation of swing with your movement will allow you to move more fluently and avoid stop start movement which will make you last longer on court.

Ensure you keep enough space between you and the ball

Spacing between us and the ball is essential for us to be able to strike the ball cleanly. Striking the ball in the ‘sweet spot’ of the strings will ensure the ball travels well and cleanly through to the back wall. Focus on decelerating your movement into the ball to ensure you have control of your final step into the shot. Look to make that final movement more of a step than a large lunge to ensure you are balanced and have achieved good spacing.

Keep hips and shoulders parallel to the side wall

When striking the ball ensure that your hips and shoulders are parallel with the side wall. This is a key part of being able to strike a straight ball. Don’t let the body open up as you will pull the ball towards the center of the court. When moving into the corners of the court you may have your hips facing slightly into the corner but ensure the top half of your body is facing the side wall. If the movement timing is linked to the shot the shoulder and hip position is likely to be under control.

Focus on the second bounce of the ball dying into the back corner 

Where the ball finishes up in the drive is the most important part of the shot. Really focus on where the second bounce finishes up. We practice with a piece of A4 paper standing up in the back corner, this gives you a great visual target of where you want the second bounce to land. This then ensures you have pulled your opponent to the deepest part of the court and ultimately the hardest area for them to retrieve the ball from. This is far more important than the pace in which you hit the ball, we would argue it is better to lose some power to gain more accuracy!

 

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