Basic training tips and strategies for D players
Court time is most valuable at the D Level. It is imperative, that the bad habits are dropped, and the focus goes on 2 things ONLY. Movement and technique. More and you may confuse who you are teaching. They need to learn to keep the wrist movement minimal, to step instead of run, to raise the racket early, and STOP hitting the ball as hard as they can. Also, what D players tend to do an awful lot of is stress. They go crazy on court. Easy, easy, easy, should be words at that level, because they tend to think push, push, push.
Please use the single-yellow dot or Max Progress ball for all these drills. Some purists will insist that you should learn the hard way by using the same ball the pros use. Learning the hard way is exactly that, i.e the HARD WAY. By using a livelier ball you will learn faster and easier. You can get there either way, but why make it a long and difficult journey for no reason?
1. Stroke. Getting this right is easier than people think. It is one
having someone feed you a ball, and for you to have the time to lift
racket to a good, high position, and then stroke the ball with a good
follow-though, minimal wrist movement.. etc. It is however another
to be put under incredible pressure, and hit the same ball. Right now,
would suggest some solo practice for you. So, that means the following
a. Check your grip.
Grip the racket as if you were shaking hands with the racket. Not too
up the handle, not too low. Try to keep the racket "cocked" so that it
a 90 degree angle to your forearm. So, what you do is grip the racket,
cock your wrist towards yourself, so that racket is pointing towards
ceiling. The reason for doing this, is that you are better prepared to
the correct racket position to take the ball properly. If the racket
towards the floor, on the other hand, then it has to travel a greater
distance for you to be ready to take the ball. Remember here, the key
cock the wrist and keep it cocked, and prepare the racket early for
shots. When you play the shot, you release your 'cocked' wrist as you swing the
Let me know here what happens, and in particular, what goes wrong. Like
hit the tin too much, or you take the ball to close too yourself.
b. Relax, relax, relax.
Don't worry when you are training alone too much about letting the ball
bounce twice or even 3 times. Concentrate on relaxing to take the ball.
Remember, you are not wielding an axe. Stroke the ball, don't bash the
At D/C level, there are lots of male players, who hit the ball as hard
they can. Right ? WRONG! They never feel the ball, and adapt according
its energy. They don't know how to vary the pace in a match, which is
them, and more often than not, fatal against the intelligent player.
So stroke the ball, and keep that wrist rigid. IE DO NOT, UNDER ANY
CIRCUMSTANCES, snap the wrist.
The reason for this is you are trying to develop your
basic swing mechanics by focusing on only the forearm swing. If you try
and practice the way the pros swing, there are just too many variables to
control at once. Simplify the drill by eliminating the
"wrist snapping" and focus on the basic swing mechanics.
Later on you can add the wrist in.
wrist as stiff as a board, and use your back swing, early racket prep,
follow through to get the power in the shot. Another tip, hit the ball
off the front wall with less power to watch it die in the back corner.
One routine to relax yourself is as follows:
Play straight drives to yourself. Start at 50, and count down. With
shot you play, say to yourself in your mind a word like: "easy", or
As you are counting down from 10 to 1, say the word relax more quietly
yourself with each shot. So effectively, you are hypnotizing yourself.
you get to 1, your swing should be very relaxed and fluid; and you too
course !! Careful not to let you grip become too relaxed, otherwise you
see the racket flying out of your hand, and towards the front wall !!
The focus is to relax and get rid of
forced and ungraceful movement. To keep the ball warm, hit a few hard
in between, but remember to try and breathe while you hit, so a gentle
breathe in as you prepare the racket, and then a gentle exhalation as
swing. Breathing is essential in keeping you moving during squash,
particularly during a difficult game.
1 or 2 points to remember.
The exercise to to get you relaxed and stroking the ball smoothly.
It is good for your focus on your swing, enabling you to prepare the
racket earlier, keep your eye on the ball, position your feet
What C/D players think is the more winners I hit, the more points I
Which is absolutely true when playing another D/C player. However, if
play a good C or B, then these 'winners' are retrieved, and a build up
the goal is wearing your opponent down becomes more important. Think
trying to hit winners against Peter Nicol. Chances are, he will
of them !!!
c. Practice makes perfect. When you are a D/C player, you usefully
hit forehands more than backhands. When you get past C level to B and
A, your backhand becomes you favorite side to hit on. Why? Because it
much simpler movement than the forehand, and with repetition, i.e.
backhands over and over and over again, you eventually can hit them
less where you want. The only thing that you have to do after that is
practice under match conditions, so you can do it under pressure. SOLO
practice, I find here is the best way to start.
Exercise 2 :-
Start with 45 minutes training on your own. Nothing exists outside of
court. There is just you, your racket and the ball. Hit only straight
backhand drives over and over again, and punish yourself by saying,
you hit 40 consecutive backhands behind the service box, no more than a
meter from the side wall, then you are not allowed to move to the next
exercise. Warm up first by maybe some ghosting (moving back and forth from T to the four corners of the court without ball) , and warm the ball, and
you up, by hitting the ball, then begin.
What you are doing here is, exercising discipline over yourself, and at
level right now, you will probably be hitting backhands for at least 20
minutes until you reach the 40 (nothing personal intended). 20 minutes
repetition, means that you get used to lifting the racket early and you
start hitting backhands that you cannot retrieve. Then moving on to
To see the value of this, don't cock your wrist, and don't lift the
early. You will notice you end up snapping your wrist, taking the ball
close to you etc.
So, to summarize, warm up, start the session with straight backhand
aim about 1 1/2 foot above the service line, and hit 40 consecutive
backhands behind the service box, no more than 1 meter from the side
If you miss one, then you start counting again. When and only when you
do this, then we can start talking about a partner. To make things
this exercise, hit different pace balls, some slow, some hard, and
ball to only bounce once. To make it easier, hit 20 instead of 40, and
for them to fall in the left side of the court behind the short line,
instead of behind the service box.
With this exercise, you will not realize how quickly the time will go.
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