which foot forward?

Anyone who has been coached to play a racket sport has always been told to place the left foot forward to play the forehand, and the right foot to play the backhand. Of course, the opposite would apply for a left-handed player. However, we see many very good players often not sticking to that rule.


There are a number of reasons to explain this, As shall be illustrated later.



First of all, it is most important that the coach emphasises to the beginner, not to face the ball in a frontal position. (photo right) Beginners often start off by adopting this position and encounter many problems. Their shots lack power and accuracy. Also due to this wrong position, their choice of shot is very limited.


The coach needs to see his pupil turn his shoulders and to some extent, his hips, to take a good back-swing. Placing the feet in the right position forces the less experienced player to get the upper body rotated and ready to hit the ball effectively. Meaning that the player has all the choice to hit whichever shot he wishes to, be it hard, soft, straight down the wall, or across the court. (photo right)  This video clip demonstrates how using the proper foot forces a player into the correct position towards the sidewall.


Without a good back-swing, even the most talented players would find themselves in trouble. These players compensate by learning to turn their shoulders and hips, even with their feet in the “wrong” position. There are specific exercises for that. (See solo exercise for racket control in Shot Squash 2000)


In the photo (below right), you can see how racket preparation is executed as previously explained. To hit the ball with the “wrong” foot forward on the forehand, the player turns the hips and shoulders more while getting into position. (photo below left)