THE DROP SHOT

 

 

The drop shot is probably the winner all squash players would love to perfect. One of the beauties of the game of squash is the racket control and use of angles. A delicate drop shot perfectly angled into the nick is a joy to watch, and even more, to play. A player, who manages to win and at the same time demonstrates his skills in executing this shot, obtains great satisfaction. If you are a beginner who still hasn’t had the chance to play this shot, or to play a game with point scoring, wait till you get to this stage. You will be hooked for life! If however, you have been playing for a long time and still haven’t mastered the drop, read on.

 

This section will teach you how to use the right technique to get maximum control and place the ball exactly where you want. If you care to see Shot Squash 2000 you will get lots of guidance on where exactly you should send the ball when playing the drop from various parts of the court, and see an endless number of exercises to practice and perfect.  www.shotsquash.com

 

THE STRAIGHT DROP SHOT PLAYED FROM THE T

 

The drop shot is most effective when played from, or near the T. There are a number of reasons for this. While standing close to the T, you have enough of an angle to play the straight drop into the nick. At the same time, your opponent is not ideally positioned to retrieve your shot. He finds himself behind you and has to find his way through to the ball. If your drop shot is very accurate, the other player cannot walk into you and ask for a let, because it was his weak return into the centre of the court that created the situation. When you play the straight drop, you will find yourself well positioned for the next shot. This is not always the case however, when choosing to go for the cross-court drop.

 

The photo series, and video action below, demonstrate how this shot is played. I would advise players to go through both phase, that for the basic shot and then the more advanced, as the first assures perfect technique and feeling for the position and ball. Once the player attains good results with this basic technique, (you can test on The Shot Squash Court) he/she can then work on the technique demonstrated for more advanced levels.

 

FOREHAND DROP SHOT FROM THE T

 facing the side wall as if

Basic position technique in series

 

In series n° 1(forehand) you can see how the player is positioned with the left foot forward and facing the side wall as if preparing to play the drive. The racket is taken well back. That is, the back-swing is not limited. A full back swing gives the player the choice to hit hard to the backcourt if necessary. Therefore, the opponent cannot read the drop shot.

 

Note how the player fully prepares his racket and turns his shoulders before placing his left foot into position. While he prepares, he observes the ball in order to understand where it will bounce. Therefore, the racket and shoulder preparation gives the player enough time to understand where exactly he should place his left foot to obtain ideal balance and perfect positioning in relationship to the ball. If the player does things differently and decides to get into position too early, he may find his left foot in the wrong position. He will subsequently lose time while changing its placement. He will then lose more time to prepare the back swing. In the end, he will find himself rushed and uncoordinated.

 

 

 

 

It is very important that the player has already decided the point of impact when he places the left foot on the floor. It is this dimension, which will allow him to start his swing at the right moment. As this is a delicate shot, and the swing is going to be very slow, the player cannot afford to wait and remain indecisive until the last moment. If he does that, he will find himself suddenly having to accelerate his racket and the ball will come out too fast off his racket. Consequently, his shot will not remain in the corner, but rather, bounce out towards his opponent. Or even worse, towards his own body. This mistiming may lead to striking the ball while the racket is slightly on the rise, or too far on the way down, leading to lack of accuracy or sending the ball into the tin.

 

 

 

 

Assuming that the player has decided the point of impact, he then calculates how long the ball will take to get there. (This only comes with keen observation and many hours of practice.) The next step is to work out how long the racket (at the desired slow speed) will take to get there. This allows him to start the swing at the right moment.

 

The drop shot is illustrated in the following action videos. The first clip offers a front view while the second shows the shot from a side angle.

 

Going back to the photo sequence, see how it is so similar to the swing used to play the drive. The only difference is that it is slower and the racket moves slightly downwards. Click here if you wish to compare to the drive sequence photos.

 

The other difference can be seen in the position of the legs. Here both knees are bent much more, allowing the player to go down very low, in order to control the height of the shot. Having the head so low means that the tin is almost at eye level. (Video) This helps a lot, and the player gains a good perception of how the ball should be hit. He clearly sees that it should be sent slightly downwards when the point of impact is above tin height, or directed parallel to the floor when the ball is at tin height, and very slightly and delicately upwards when impacted very close to the floor. 

 

 

 

The racket head allowed to drop produces an incorrect slice on the ball and tends to send it towards the sidewall.

 

A very important tip for both coach and player is to observe the height of the hand and racket head. At no moment in time should the racket head be allowed to drop bellow the height of the player’s hand. The two photos above illustrate this incorrect position. Dropping the racket head so far would mean loss of control at the wrist, which could cause bad timing and poor impact. This will lead to slicing the ball on the outside.   The ball sliced on the outside tends to be sent towards the sidewall instead of going straight to the front.

 

Click here to see the video clip of this error. Apart from the inaccuracy, the player is very limited in his choice of shot. The examples explained in the “deception technique” section would be very difficult to execute if the racket is allowed to drop low.

 

The photo on the right demonstrates how the player correctly maintains the tip of the racket head slightly above the hand. In doing so, he can exactly feel how his wrist is working, and the speed and position of the racket tip. The secret behind the best drop shots is this sensitivity and feel.

 

 

 

When the racket is used correctly, it makes impact with the ball at the area marked in the photo. This will keep the ball away from the sidewall, making it hit the right spot on the front wall, and producing the angle sending the ball landing in the nick. This rear view video clip clearly demonstrates the above description.

 

 

 

Correct use of the racket will also open a world of possibilities for the player. He will have all the choice to execute a variety of shots. Hence, making his drop shot even more effective, and adding more confidence to his game. Greater confidence is another important factor gained through sound technique. Go to the section on game psychology.

 

BACKHAND DROP SHOT FROM THE T

 backhand drop-shot from the t

Basic position technique

 

The first photo series for the backhand drop-shot, illustrates the basic position and technique. When satisfactory results are obtained, (as for the forehand, use The Shot Squash Court targets and exercises) you could go onto the second series, which demonstrates a more advanced technique. Please do not skip the technique explained in the first phase, because as previously explained, will teach the player co-ordination and feel for his shoulders, arm, and wrist.

 

You can see how the player starts off from a frontal position as if preparing to play the drive. The racket is taken well back. That is, the back-swing is not limited. A full back-swing gives the striker the choice to hit hard to the backcourt if necessary. With this stance, the opponent cannot read the drop shot in advance.

 

 

 

 

Note how the player fully prepares his racket and turns his shoulders before placing his right foot into position. While he prepares, he observes the ball in order to understand where it will bounce. Therefore, the racket and shoulder preparation gives the player enough time to understand where exactly he should place his right foot to obtain ideal balance and perfect positioning in relationship to the ball. If the player does things differently and decides to get into position too early, he may find his right foot in the wrong position. He will subsequently lose time while adjusting his distance from the ball. He will then lose even more time to prepare the back swing. In the end, he will find himself rushed and uncoordinated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is very important that the player decides the point of impact before placing the right foot on the floor. It is this dimension, which will allow him to start his swing at the right moment. As this is a delicate shot, and the swing is going to be very slow, the player cannot afford to wait and remain indecisive until the last moment. If he does that, he will find himself suddenly having to accelerate his racket and the ball will come out too fast off his racket. Consequently, his shot will not remain in the corner, but rather, bounce out towards his opponent. Or even worse, towards his own body. This mistiming may produce a point of impact while his racket is slightly on the way up, or too far on the way down, leading to greater inaccuracy or sending the ball into the tin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assuming that the player has decided the point of impact, he then calculates how long the ball will take to get there. (This only comes with keen observation and many hours of practice.) The next step is to work out how long the racket (at the desired slow speed) will take to get there. This allows him to start the swing at the right moment.

 

The drop shot is illustrated in the following action videos. The first clip offers a front view while the second shows the shot from a side angle. Observe the speed of the ball and the players arm, to get a feel of the timing and controlled slow pace of the shot. A useful tip is to try to feel the action of the right hand even after the follow-through.

 

Going back to the photo sequence, see how it is so similar to the swing used to play the backhand drive. The only difference is that it is slower and the racket moves slightly downwards before impact and during the first few inches of the follow-through. Click here if you wish to compare to drive sequence photos.

 

 

 

The other difference can be seen in the legs. Here both knees are bent much more, allowing the player to go down very low in order to control the height of the shot. Having the head so low means that the tin is almost at eye level. This helps a lot and the player gains a good perception of how the ball should be hit slightly downwards when the point of impact is above tin height, parallel to the floor when the ball is at tin height, and very slightly and delicately upwards when impacted very close to the floor. The photo above, on the right, demonstrates how the follow-through is slow and under control as the player gets up without losing his balance or posture.

 

A very important tip for both coach and player is to observe the height of the hand and racket head. At no moment in time should the racket head be allowed to drop bellow the height of the player’s hand. Click here to view the photos, which illustrates this incorrect position. Dropping the racket head so far would mean loss of control at the wrist, which could cause bad timing and poor impact. This will lead to slicing the ball on the outside. When sliced in this manner, the point of impact is that marked on the ball in this photo. The ball sliced on the outside tends to send the ball towards the sidewall instead of going straight to the front. Click here to see the video clip of this error. Apart from the inaccuracy, the player is very limited in his choice of shot. The examples explained in the “deception technique” section would be very difficult to execute if the racket is allowed to drop low.

 

The photo on the right demonstrates how the player correctly maintains the tip of the racket head slightly above the hand. In doing so, he can feel exactly how his wrist is working, and the speed and position of the racket tip. The secret behind the best drop shots is this sensitivity and feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the racket is used correctly, it makes impact with the ball at the area marked in the photo. This will keep the ball away from the sidewall, making it strike the right spot on the front wall, producing the angle sending the ball landing in the nick.

 

Correct use of the racket would also open a world of possibilities for the player. He will have all the choice to execute a variety of shots. Hence, making his drop shot even more effective, and adding more confidence to his game. Greater confidence is another important factor gained through sound technique. Go to the section on game psychology.