Being able to move fluidly and quickly into the front of the courts is obviously incredibly important.
To either attack or defend well in these areas it is crucial to have solid movement, more so than any other area, in my opinion. This is because you are generally moving at a greater speed than to the middle or back of the court and there is more urgency required.
As with most movement patterns, the first step is pivotal as to what shot you will then be capable of playing when arriving at the ball.
A really common first step is to move sideways towards the sidewall rather than directly to or inside where the ball will be. This means you end up too close to or behind the ball and therefore means your shot options are limited – you see a lot of cross courts hit because of this first step mistake.
The other common problem is in the last step prior to hitting your shot. Understanding your spacing and using the last step correctly to complete your desired shot is a very difficult skill but through movement practices and being aware of the issue, can become a real asset to your game.
For me, any movement into the front has to be practiced in multiple different ways with the reasoning relating to three main topics:
- How far into the corner do you need to move – how many steps
- Which leg you want to land on when striking the ball
- Is it an attacking or defensive movement
How many steps: I practice 1, 2 or 3 step patterns into the front corners.
The 3-step pattern is the furthest into the corner that I would ever need to use and even then I try and stay quite a way from the front wall. Watching any squash footage from an overhead camera, the players never go further forward than a few feet in front of the half court line if coming from the T in the first instance.
This pattern is to learn a fluid movement pattern and to best incorporate the weight and balance transfer I spoke about in the last blog.
The 2-step pattern is more realistic and I feel the one I use the most – maybe with a little foot shuffle at the start whilst making my judgment on how I’m going to move. Can be both for attacking or defensive movement.
The 1-step pattern is for attacking, aggressive movement. Be quick and sharp with your steps and clinical with the practice. I would recommend spending short periods practicing this, as you need to be working at 100%.
If you’re wondering which leg to land on, work out the benefits of hitting off both the front and back legs.
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