THE DROP SHOT FROM THE FRONT COURT (The counter drop)    cntr drp






The straight drop-shot from the front corners is similar to that played from the T. Before attempting to practice this shot, make sure that you have learned to play the drop shot from the T, especially with the point of impact slightly anticipated and the body mildly turned towards the front corner. This often implies using the “incorrect foot” on the forehand.  When playing the counter drop, the player will often find himself in this position because the opponent’s shot will remain in the front corner. Therefore, the player should first get accustomed to this position in relation to the ball. If you are not familiar with these prerequisites, you may go back to the specified section by clicking here.









Unlike the drop shot from any other point on the court, the counter drop is executed with a relatively short follow-through. If however, the opponent’s boast or drop shot “sits up”, the player could permit himself a normal follow-through.










The player moves in high and goes down late. This implies going down mostly on the front leg. This error gives the player little time and control when playing this delicate shot.






Another important technical note is the importance of getting down low early when approaching this shot. The photos above demonstrate the error of getting down on the legs too late, just before executing the shot. Most of the player's weight is on the front leg. He does not attain good balance and his head is not still during the shot. You may see how this occurs on the forehand, and the negative consequences in this video clip. The same error made on the backhand can be viewed here. In both cases, the player has very poor accuracy and in no way can return to the T with efficiency and speed.










Moving in high and bending the knees at the last moment causes loss of balance and control.






In the photo series below, the player prepares himself correctly. The comments accompanying the photos explain the various phases. Watch the correct execution of the shot on the forehand side in video action here, and on the backhand by clicking here and here.










The player has taken his racket back before approaching the ball. He tries to stay low by keeping the knees bent.



The aggressive back-swing disguises the shot. The player could hit hard if necessary. The whole body is lowered by bending the left knee well before reaching the ball.










In doing so, he is perfectly balanced and can bring in the racket forward without being rushed.



From this perfect position, with the left knee almost touching the floor, the player can execute the counter drop even when the ball is very close to the floor.










The ball is gently sliced forward and directed to return parallel and tight to the sidewall.



The player’s head has remained perfectly still throughout the swing and the ball is directed just above the tin with a short follow-through.









Seen on the forehand side.










The player has already prepared his racket and decided the point of impact. He is preparing to move in low to the floor.



He stretches forward while keeping the right shoulder low and the left one high. This permits moving the arm under the ball.










From this point till the end of the swing, the player is balanced and the head is very still.



The racket slices under the ball but towards the front wall. The wrist action is very brief.










The ball is sent just above the tin and angled to return close to the sidewall.



Having made a short follow-through and seeing the ball move in the right direction, the player prepares to move back.










He transfers his weight back onto the rear leg, while maintaining his upper body posture and balance.



The player steps back making sure that the ball remains distant, and tries to reach the T before the opponent reaches his shot.






The ability to play the counter-drop off the other foot is very important, but should be practised only when the shot is executed very well off the proper foot. On both sides, there are different advantages to be gained.











As you already know, the use of the right foot on the forehand, rather than the left one permits the player to reach forward with ease. Also with practise, the vast majority of players feel a better sense of equilibrium. Hence, more experienced players often use this foot to stretch and play the counter-drop. The use of this foot is demonstrated in this clip.









On the backhand, the disadvantages of using the incorrect foot are more evident than the advantages. Looking at this clip you will notice that by entering with the left foot forward, the player has almost no chance of driving the ball hard to the back of the court. With the left side of the hip forward, he is unable to achieve the sufficient rotation for a big back-swing that is necessary to hit the ball hard.








Also, had the other leg (right) gone forward, he could have stretched more if required. So, what are the advantages of using this foot? As previously discussed in the relevant section, a player is not always capable of arriving perfectly onto the ball, all the time. He must therefore be capable of playing the shot off either foot. Also as mentioned before the player will sometimes need to rest his right leg. A last but most subtle advantage is gained through deceptive shot play. Top pro' Johnny White is the best at producing this shot. Click here to know more about this shot in the section on deception. 






When it comes to where to send the ball when playing the counter-drop, the obvious answer to any squash player would be, as soft and as low as possible. That is true. The ball must just clear the tin line, but how soft the ball should be struck is a more difficult parameter. Only when targets on the floor are utilised, does the player get a clear idea and measure of the shot. One very important aspect to consider is where the ball makes its second bounce relative to the striker's initial position. (The position from which he had struck the ball.)






Why? Because the player moving forward must get the ball after the striker (who is now moving backwards) reaches the T. Consider that it is easier to move forward than backwards.

Therefore, the ball's second bounce must be well in front of the player's initial counter drop position. Also, in doing so, the opponent cannot be easily awarded a stroke.


A final but most important consideration is the ball's closeness to the sidewall. The counter drop's trajectory on the way back from the front wall must be clinging to the sidewall. If the ball is played at a slight angle, then after the first bounce, it should be moving closer and closer to the side wall, or sent directly into the nick. Hence rendering the opponents point of impact most uncomfortable. World Champion Peter Nicole is an absolute expert here. He rarely leaves his rivals an opportunity to attack his counter-drops.






Tactically, the counter drop is a most important shot. When executed with precision, and alternated with other shots, it could be a very offensive weapon. The player also has the possibility of changing a defensive position into an attacking one. Go to - deception - and see how the counter drop can be utilised more effectively. Go to tactics to know more about when to play the counter drop.