Defending in the front forehand

7th December 2016

In the office we spend a lot of time looking at stills of squash players in action, and there’s one photo that appears over and over again.

Players lunging into the front forehand corner, dropping their hand down the grip and hitting the ball off their right leg.

The reason for hitting off the right leg is simple, it’s primarily about increasing reach and also giving yourself options to hit straight or cross court.

For a right-hander, life becomes much easier by using the right leg, as the right shoulder sits above the right knee when hitting the ball, allowing the racket head to reach out as far as possible. By using the left leg, the upper body becomes twisted and the reach is greatly reduced.

The two obvious defensive options that come to mind are either the straight push counter drop, or the cross court lob. The beauty of both shots on the forehand is that neither requires a big swing, the drop is a delicate push and the lob is a simple flick of the wrist in order to take the ball up and away from the opponent. You’ll notice in a number of these photos that players are holding the racket right at the very end of the grip.

This is because they are looking to increase their reach and get the racket under the ball when it is a long way away from them. This is an important point that should be considered when under pressure, as that extra inch or two can keep you in the rally.

They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, so you have 3 different shots here to take a look at in order to understand what each of these players is trying achieve by getting into this position. The one thing you will notice is that all of the top players look strong in this position and have clearly done a lot of strengthening to be able to remain stable, even in this extended lunge.

Next time your in the front corner under pressure, try and pay attention to which leg you’re using and what you are doing with your grip.

 

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