PRACTISING THE RETURN OF SERVE-

 

As a rule, the return of serve should always be played on the volley. Only when a service is very short and bounces in the service box area, should it be hit after the bounce. Also, if the serve is over-hit and will clearly bounce off the back wall, the player may decide not to volley. As these two situations are relatively rare, lots of volleying practise is vital. If the player has a poor volley, he would do well to learn to volley first from an easy position near the mid-court area. Coaches should feed from the back of the court, sending the ball down the wall, but wide, for an easy volleying opportunity. When the player’s eye to ball co-ordination, and technique are fine, the coach may serve, and the player responds.   

 

The coach’s serve should be a gentle lob, which doesn’t rise too high. The lob should not be directed towards the sidewall. The player should attempt to volley down the wall by timing the shot and hitting the ball at a slow pace. The player should try to delay the shot as much as possible and make contact with the ball in line with the front foot.  Next, the coach’s lob serve should be higher but still kept away from the sidewall, giving the player room to hit the ball. The player must not try to hit the ball hard, as this will only lead to his arm becoming heavier and slower. Instead, timing and gradual acceleration will solve all problems. The player must look for an accurate point of impact to send the ball high down the wall and safely to the back corner. The last stage would be a high lob serve directed towards the sidewall. The player will have to decide whether to hit the ball before, or after it makes contact with the sidewall.

 

Now it is time for the player to learn how to respond when the ball is hit hard and low. Most less experienced players have the tendency to respond with a wild, powerful swing whenever the serve is hit hard. This will only give them the sensation of being under pressure, and will lead to loose returns. Again here, the secret lies in the timing of the shot. Moving the racket with control, but slightly earlier will keep the arm muscles relaxed and leave the player with the sensation of having all the time in the world. Having improved at this phase, the coach should then serve hard towards the sidewall. The player eventually learns to hit the ball after it makes contact with the sidewall.

 

To practise all these shots including winners off the serve, try the Shot Squash Court. This will make you sharp and give you a good understanding of how effective your return of serve could be. To know more about the Shot Squash training system, click here, www.shotsquash.com

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOLO PRACTISE

 

Solo practise was not invented for lack of playing partners. It's a great shame though, to see that the vast majority of club players hardly ever use it. Most players would believe that playing games for many hours each week would give them the chance to perfect their shots. Others are of the idea that drills or exercises with a partner, trainer, or coach are the only true means of learning shots and gaining accuracy. It is true that practising alone on court is very static and players need to move onto the ball before executing the shots. Such training is most important and can be done with a partner. However, solo practise is still crucial and holds a place of its own, without which, a player's training would be incomplete.

 

Knowing every shot perfectly well

 

When a player is alone on court, he practises at his own pace. An intelligent player would make full use of this by concentrating hard, analysing every move he makes, trying out different solutions, and feeling every part of his body while playing the shots. This is not always possible when training with a partner. The pace of play is too fast to allow calm thinking and reflection. Even when feeding is done by a coach, the constant advice a player receives may well inhibit him/her from creating an internal dialogue to help him/her learn in his/her own individual way. Often, words of advice never sink in until the person puts into practise what he believes to have understood,  and experiments with other possible solutions. It is true that each person must gain his own experience and frequently fails to make use of that which is readily handed over. A coach's guidance is therefore most important, but the player must also feel the freedom to express his individual qualities.

 

Each and every shot has its own particular characteristics. A player who practises alone frequently, will get to know how to time the shot perfectly, and become accustomed to noting fine details regarding shot execution. The player develops his/her perception of correct racket movement, quality of impact, and ball trajectories. He/she will also repeat the shot until satisfied with the right "feel". The player is not distracted by anything on court. His/her total concentration is on the perfection of technique. When that is achieved, precision during exercises and drills becomes easier.

 

Training with Shot Squash 2000 is ideal for shot perfection.  Solo practise is more interesting when training with the targets provided, and players can statistically monitor their shots. All the exercises marked with the letter "s" (example,  s1) are solo exercises. To find out more, go to www.shotsquash.com    

 

Stronger hand, wrist, and forearm- racket control like never before

 

Anyone who has practised alone on court will have found out how tiring it is for the arm and shoulder muscles, especially when the ball is constantly hit hard or on the volley. In particular, the hand holding the racket, and forearm suffer the most. There is no exercise, which can make them stronger or more resistant.

 

What is so important about having strong hands? The hand, which holds the racket, must be strong and resistant against fatigue. All the power transmitted to the racket tip, passes via the hand. Without gripping the racket hard, the player must be able to accelerate the racket head. Squash technique relies very much on sound, powerful wrist action. Without strong fingers, the player would have to grip the racket tightly, using all his hand strength. When the racket is griped very tightly, rapid wrist movement becomes very difficult if not impossible. Correct solo practise strengthens the palm and fingers and teaches the player the right pressure points on the racket grip. In other words, only the correct muscles of the hand exert pressure at the right moment. All other muscles are relaxed. This produces maximum efficiency and racket control.

 

Fast precise wrist action makes life much easier for a squash player. The important muscles here are those of the forearm. Using weights is fundamental for the development of these muscles. However, the strength work must be transformed to speed and control. Hence, the importance of hard hitting and volleying in solo practise. The Shot Squash 2000 CD has numerous individual exercises to serve this purpose. When doing these exercises, the player is obliged to prepare his racket very quickly indeed. There is no time to let the racket head down or allow it to deviate from its correct path. In every moment, the racket tip is under control and the player is fully aware of it. Such training permits the player to be quick on the attack and hard to remove off the T.

 

 

EXERCISES AND DRILLS TO DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS

 

Emphasis has been made just above, on the importance of solo practise and the benefits of being on court alone. That is a very important part of our training, but the work done is hardly complete if the shots learnt are not integrated into exercises or drills with movement. Doing exercises with a partner is excellent practise because the player has to move in from the T, execute the shot, then return to the correct position on court.

 

Is it not sufficient to do this while playing a game? The answer is no. When a player is learning or perfecting a shot, it is best to simulate the situation as many times as possible. The player's concentration is more focused on the shot and technique, while during a game he is thinking mostly about the tactical aspect of play and what his opponent is doing. Another important distinction to make is that between exercises or drills which allow the player to practise one shot at a time, and those which involve several shots grouped together. Another type of exercise is that which makes the player repeat a series of different shots, which may be set in a specific order or played at random.

 

Exercises focusing on one shot, are one step beyond solo practise. The player concentrate on correct technique, as during solo practise, and in addition, must get his movement and timing right from the T and  back. This could be made more difficult or taken a step further by increasing the pace. In this way, the player learns how to execute the shot well during game situations where there is less time at his/her disposal.

 

Exercises which include more than one shot or rather a pre-set series of shots enable the player to move from one precise position to another while maintaining good balance, and trains him to switch his focus from one shot to another without being distracted or losing concentration. Such exercises and drills also provide a degree of physical conditioning and permit the player to perfect his shots even when under some physical stress.

 

The most difficult exercises or drills are those in which a player has to follow a complex pattern of shots, plus, random feeding by the coach or trainer. Such exercises aim at simulating game situations. The amount of physical stress is greater and the player must play his shots accurately at an elevated heart rate or even when out of breath. He/she must also remain mentally alert to follow what the feeder is doing and keep movement and footwork precise. Only when a player achieves good results at this phase, can he/she safely apply the shots to his/her game.

 

Most players, especially at club level, hate to practise in this way. The only way to convince them would be to film the amount of errors and mishits they make during a game. Often when watching very good players, one gets the feeling that many of them do nothing special with the ball. However, one thing is for sure. The amount of unforced errors they make is very limited. Only by doing such exercises and drills could the percentage of errors be reduced. Imagine what would happen if a player manages through training to reduce his error rate by 30%. That would make him win against all opponents of similar standard, unless they manage to make the same error reduction. If you are a club player who would like to win against those who constantly beat you by a close margin, all you have to do is improve consistency. If you do that, and also manage to improve the quality of your best shots, great gains will be made, and you will be surprised with the results. 

 

To know more about how you could find a fun and effective way of doing exercises and drills, go to www.shotsquash.com  If you click on the examples of exercises page on that site, you will  get an idea of how the exercises are structured to improve your retrieving, defensive, and offensive shots. Using this system would take you through all the above-mentioned stages and allow you to know exactly how much you improve. It is advisable to carefully read all the text provided on the site to understand the contents of the Shot Squash 2000 CD and the advantages of the target system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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