What is it?
The boast is an incredibly useful shot for the novice player. It’s a shot that sees the ball hit the side wall before the front wall, and finishes up at the front of the court. It’s a shot that should be practised very early on during your squash career, as it gives you the ability to dig the ball out of the back corners as well as to manoeuvre your opponent to the front of the court.
Why do we use it?
The boast can be used as both an attacking and defensive option from the back corners, or as an out and out attacking option the further up the court you get. It can be highly effective once you’ve developed a consistent and reliable technique, but it should not be overused as it can open up the court and can give your opponent free space from which to attack if played badly.
Check out the technical guide to the boast in this video here.
When starting out one of the best pieces of advice as regards the boast, is to visualize you’re aiming for the front corner of the court next door. No matter where you are in the court, if you drive the ball into the side wall with this angle in mind then the ball should end up in the opposite front corner.
There are obviously nuances to this in terms of the amount of spin power that you use to hit the perfect shot, but as a general rule, this will help you get started. Once you become more proficient you can start playing with angles and the weight of shot in order to make life more complicated for your opponent.
How to practice
The boast can be a disjointed shot to practice on your own, with the nature of it meaning that it can be a very stop/start process when hitting on your own. It’s much easier to practice in a pair with one person hitting from the back of the court and the other hitting from the front.
Perhaps the most practised exercise on the squash court is boast and drive. This is a great routine for both players who are able to practice moving in and out of corners on both sides of the court.
It is also a routine that can form the basis of many other exercises that allow you to practice a variety of different shots. For a more in-depth session, try our Zero to Hero pairs boast practice.
As you become more confident you can set up the boast test and develop your accuracy, it’s a small target in the video but feel free to make it bigger with some tape should you so wish.
Additional useful content
Once you feel confident hitting the boast you will want to think about the shot partnerships you can create off the back of it. You will want to try and close down the court and look for the volley into the open space you have created at the back. There is an excellent playlist here on shot combinations which is worth watching.
This playlist explains how to hit the two wall boast in more detail. It’s a less risky shot when compared to the three wall boast which runs all the way around the court an hits the opposite side wall.
This series of videos goes beyond the boast and explains how to improve your ability to get the ball out of the back corners.
Common Amateur faults and self-diagnosis
- Ball not reaching the front wall: If you’re struggling with the angle to get the ball to reach the front wall, try and bring your target point further up the side wall – visualize hitting into the far front corner on the court next door.
- Hitting the ball into the tin: If you’re finding your boasts are too low and are often hitting the tin, make sure that you’re not closing the racket face too much or rolling the handover.
- Ball too high on the front wall: When the ball is hitting the front wall too high up on the boast, it’s usually to do with the angle you’re striking the ball at – try and come through the side of the ball a little more, as opposed to coming underneath it. Reducing the pace of your swing may help as well, so the shot is hit slower and thus doesn’t spin up so high.
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