In squash being a left-hander can come with many natural advantages. If you are a beginner you may suspect this may be true, but as yet have no idea as to what those advantages actually look like in reality. This article is for you!
So, what are the best squash tips for left handers? In squash left handers have an advantage by being simply unusual. They have strengths in different parts of the court. Typically, left handers will dominate rallies along the left-hand wall, and they will usually be strong forehand vollyers and win many points from that shot.
I have researched this topic in detail, and have come up with what I think are the best 12 tips for left handers to maximise your advantage.
1. You Are Unusual
This is probably the biggest point. All players spend the majority of the time playing against right handers.
This is an issue for left handers just as muh as right handers! When a left hander comes up against another left hander, they will find similar problems.
The issue is that you get used to different patterns of play. With two righties playing, backhand rallies down the line have a very different feel and dyamic than forehand rallies down the line.
Backhand rallies are usually more about accuracy and keeping the ball tight. Players may vary the pace and use more height.
Forehand rallies usually involve more power, and can involve some low kill-like shots, or hard-hit cross courts.
When you play a leftie, those two scenarios are reversed. The left hand wall now becomes the zone for power and variation, the right hand wall of accuracy and keeping it tight.
Maximise this strangeness! Hit your forehands hard and go for tightness and accuracy on your backhand. Just this alone makes a huge difference, but there’s so much more…
2. Use your unique angle from your serves
Simply by playing simple forehand serves, your angle of attack will be different to the standard serves that a right hander is producing.
Your serve from the right hand side will be at a much narrower angle and so be able to stick tighter to the wall. This is harder to return, giving your opponent less space.
Your serve from the left side will be at a wider angle. This is not necessarily an advantage, other than it will just be different. Your opponent will have practised many returns to balls that are reaching them at a different angle. Your unique angle just helps to mess about a bit with muscle memory, and get them thinking about what they are doing just that little bit more.
Lob serves from the right hand side are particularly lethal from a left-hander. Again the narrower angle means a well-executed lob serve is coming down in the very corner, tight to both the side and back wall.
3. Use Your Forehand As A Strength
You will be usually be hitting harder on the left-hand side than your opponent. Many lefties find they feel dominant on this side. Use pace on the ball to keep on top on this side, and switch play to this side at every opportunity.
If you are given room and time, or if you get in front of your opponent, you can send in a low and hard forehand kill shot that is very hard to get back.
4. Take More Volleys On The Forehand Side
The forehand volley for many professional squash players is their biggest weapon.
A right-hander playing a standar forehand cross-court shot, will often see it get whipped out of the air by the elongated stretch of the leftie, killing it in the left front corner.
You have a longer reach on your forehand volley than your backhand, and so lefties are able to cover a wider distance to their left from the T than a right hander.
Also forehand volleys are easier to play in different ways than backhand volleys. You can play down the line or cross court, played with height or smashed with pace. It is harder to get so much variation from the backhand.
Always be ready to pounce with these volleys!
You will get the opportunity to play lots of forehand volleys to backhand shots that right-handers play that are a bit wayward. The advantage of having your forehand side on their backhand side is that the backhand shots will normally be much less powerful. A wayward backhand will give you time to attack and kill it, much more time than you would have on the other side of the court.
5. Better Deception In The Front Left
Shots in the front left corner will be played by right-handers with their backhand, and left-handers with their forehand.
The advantage of being able to play these shots with the forehand is the element of disguise.
A lot of power can be generated on the forehand side with minimal backlift. With hardly any backlift you could play a hard kill down the line, or a cross-court with the second bounce landing in the nick of the sidewall. With the same backlift you could also play a deft drop or trickle boast.
Right-handers in the front left do not have this luxury. A backhand drive or kill requires a higher backlift and less of the element of surprise and disguise.
6. No Need To Boast On The Left Side
The forehand needs a shorter backswing to play successfully, and this plays into the left-handers hands when the ball gets stuck in the left-side back corner.
Tight balls that a right hander could only get out with a defensive boast are far simpler for the left-hander to squeeze out back down the line.
Use this to your advantage! A defensive boast should always be a last resort, as it is a shot that gives your opponent the upper hand in any rally.
Keep whipping those balls right out of the corner, and give your opponent something extra to think about.
7. Playing Short On Backhand Side
Many left-handers report of feeling at an advantage in the right front corner where accuracy is concerned.
On this side a right-hander will be using his forehand, but a left-hander will be using their backhand. Many players find touch shots simpler on the backhand side. Drop shots or trickle boasts seem more natural, and can be played with greater accuracy.
Play some killer drops and test out their forehand accuracy.
8. Forehand Topsin Drop
It is a very difficult shot to play, but also a very hard shot to counter if played accurately.
The easiest side to play the shot on is the forehand side. It is normally played when the ball is quite tight to the sidewall. The idea is that you are not able to hit the ball using the sweet spot of the racket, and so you roll the racket slightly over the ball, imparting topspin. This means the ball will bounce slightly higher off the front wall, but also it can cling tighter to the side wall.
The advantage for lefties is that it is best for them in the left front corner, and that is the corner that they may find right-handers play their most accurate drop shots. Lots of players seem to find that backhand drops are more accurate than forehand. What better way to counter this? A topspin drop!
9. Work On Weak Areas
As a leftie you may find you want to focus a lot of energy in improving areas of your game that are frequently seen as a weakness in left-handers.
A classic one of these is the overhead backhand volley. Lots of lefties struggle with this shots, and it is a classic strategy for right-handers to hit high cross court shots and lobs from the backhand over the heads of the left-hander into the right hand back corner.
Practise drills with a partner to improve this shot. Important technical points
10. Often Right-Handers Like Playing Down the Left Wall
Many right-handers favour the left side of the court and prefer to get the ball to that side of the court as quickly as possible during rallies. This is often the case for players that:
- Are not very powerful and prefer to keep away from their weaker forehand side
- Have more accuracy on their backhand
- Prefer to play more conservatively and not make unforced errors
- Are very fit and want all matches to last for the maximum amount of time
These players are up against it when they take on a left hander. Their strategy, whatever their motivation, has gone up in smoke.
This takes them out of their comfort zone and also messes around with their muscle memory. They are now thinking twice before cross-courting a forehand or playing their backhands back down the line.
Lots of left-handers like to draw their opponent back to this left-hand side. Many of the tactics I just mentioned are negated by the leftie.
A weaker player will find they are being bombarded with powerful forehands.
Players who want to make less mistakes will be under greater pressure through a range of different left-handed forehand shots.
Fit players who want to stretch out the game will find that they probably have more chance of doing that on the right side of the court.
11. Punish Lob Serves To Your Forehand
The number one weapon of many players is their lob serve to the right-handers backhand. It is a shot many players have practised numerous times over many years.
Even though the right-hander knows it is aimed at your forehand, they might still try a couple just to see what happens.
Punish them! Drive powerful volleys back down the line and get them scrambling in the opening shots of the rally.
You will even have an advantage on your backhand return of serve. Even though the lob serve will now be more effective, many right-handers will not beused to playing the shot on that side. It will be strange trying to work out angles and height, and the chances of well executed lobs are much lower.
12. Play Into Unusual Areas
Simply varying your game as much as possible can cause havoc against a right-hander.
Again it is a muscle-memory issue. You will be hitting angles that they are not used to seeing, and they haven’t grooved their standard shots against.
Forehand cross-courts will be more powerful, backhand cross-courts have more height. Boasts and drives will just be that bit different. The more variety, the more it adds up in your favour.
How should you play against a left hander in squash? Left-handed squash players will normally have different strengths to right-handers. Avoid playing cross-courts from the forehand, as they will have a longer stretch on their forehand volley. Keep the ball tight on your backhand to avoid forehand kills, and hit down the line for your forehand.
Which side should you serve from against a left hander? In Squash the standard first serve against a left-hander is from the left hand side of the court. This is so you are playing to your opponent’s backhand, usually the slightly weaker of the two sides, and the one that is less likely to produce an aggressive kill or drop return.
What are a left-handers weaknesses? In squash many left-handers have a weakness in the back right corner of the court. Play plenty of lobs into this corner, and play forehands back down the line. Some left-handers have issues in the front left corner, as backhand drops are often easier to control than a forehand drop.