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September 27, 2004

Victoria Squash Club - Lesson 1

With Stuart Dixon
Sept. 24, 2004

· Grip: V hand, no thumb on top.
· Swing Prep: cock wrist, back swing before getting to ball
· Swing: open face, lead with butt, un-cock wrist
· Receive Serve: stand near service box corner, cut off serve
· Shots: on return from a corner, lob—not low-hard drive or cross-court; volleying is good.

This entry and its diagrams are my interpretation of a squash lesson and do not necessarily reflect the intentions of the instructor. I may be way off. Use at your own peril.

Spent forty-five minutes on this, my first session with Stuart Dixon, Victoria Squash Club owner/pro, to see what level I play at. Discussed my previous athletics (cycling) and my current fitness (good, poking me in the ribs with his racquet for emphasis). Adjusted my grip, did some drive drills (forehand and backhand) and played three, 9-point matches (scored some decent points via brute athleticism, lost on return of serve and Dixon's constant lobs). I sweated a lot; Dixon did not. I have great speed, workable accuracy, and an inclination to volley when possible (which is good). Need to work on grip and especially preloading the swing. Mentioned including me in a five-man training session. Lots of people my level to play with at the club, including B Level women, and Dixon will set me up with them.

Hold racquet directly in front of yourself, butt-end pointing towards your stomach, face in line with your nose, so you’re looking directly down along the racquet edge and thus can’t see the strings. Hold the grip much like shaking hands, but form a V between your thumb and forefinger and point it either directly towards you or slightly offset towards your left shoulder (for right-handed players). Your forefinger grips a little higher up than the rest of the fingers. No thumb on top of grip. Unlike tennis, basically only one grip in squash.

Swing Preparation
Always have your back swing ready and pulled back before you go to strike the ball. For forehand swings, the racquet is pulled back just behind the head, with the butt of the handle likely pointing away from you and at chest height. The hand is bent back “cocking” the wrist perpendicular to your arm.

Always open face racquet; i.e. as you begin to swing, the racquet face is angled slightly towards the ceiling rather than perpendicular with the floor, or worse, angled down at it, which is more likely to take your shot to the tin. Lead with the butt of the racquet and follow through, “un-cocking” the wrist as you strike the ball. In this way, the handle is traveling at say, 40km/h, while the motion of your wrist will propel the face to accelerate to the same position at, oh, 140km/h.

Receiving Serve
Stand near the corner of the service box, i.e. not too far back that you get stuck trying to return a ball from the corner. You want to cut the ball off before it reaches that point, and if you must volley it with less-than-accurate results, it is still better than being in the corner and having to rush back to the T.

Often, when returning a drive from the back corner, don’t drive it back low and hard, or low-hard cross court: this gives your opponent, who is likely now controlling the T, enough time and space to get to the ball. Rather, return with a loftier drive or lob, forcing your opponent out of the T.

Volleying is good.

Posted on September 27, 2004 09:57 PM | TrackBack


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Copyright 2002-2004 Jeff Werner