The best time to implement drills involving more than two players are at a very junior or beginner level. That is where the focus will be in this particular blog post about squash drills for four players. All of these drills can be played by kids, and most can be played by adults too.
When either kids or adults are just getting into squash, playing drills with 4 players actually makes a huge lot of sense.
It creates a positive team vibe.
It helps them all learn from each other.
It helps the players to develop their stamina in a slower way than if they were just thrown in performing solo drills, or moving around the whole time when playing against a partner.
In general, drills for 4 players is a highly social and good fun way to play the game and improve.
All of these drills are based on the idea that you have 4 players on the court. We recommend you use a very bouncy ball types – possibly a blue spot or alternatively a child ball.
Here we go with the drills…
For this drill, the players will operate in two sets of pairs.
Depending on the level of the group conducting this drill, it might make sense to play it against the sidewall of the squash court. For the less developed and younger players it might be easier to conduct the drill in this way.
Playing to the sidewall will give more room in which to carry out the drill and that naturally comes with more freedom to express yourself on the squash court.
This is basically a game of alternate shot, where the first player strikes the ball against the wall, and then runs around the back of the second player.
The second player returns the ball to the wall, and runs round the back of player one. Continue like this. The objective should be for both players to ensure the ball crosses the middle line when it returns.
Squash, by its very nature is an individual sport. However, during this drill the players are operating as teams. There is a competitive edge to this drill. The goal is for each duo to produce a longer rally than the other.
If the ball fails to cross the middle line, the duo has to start the rally from scratch and rebuild.
This is a progression from the first drill. The same four players can continue with the same structure but with a different goal on this occasion.
Instead of trying to produce the longest rally as a team of two, the four players operate as individuals.
The player who gets the ball to cross the middle line the most consecutive times will be the winner.
You could set up cones to represent the middle line if you are playing the drill to the sidewall.
It might be prudent to get a rotation going, especially if you are dealing with younger ones. For example, player one goes first and tries to get as many shots over the middle line in a row as they can. Then when they make a mistake, player two has their go.
Concentration spans can be a challenge, so maybe use five to ten opportunities to try and get the record score before rotating. While volleys are unlikely to feature prominently at this level, the rule could be that no volleys are allowed. Just see how you get on!
The idea is to establish some level of consistency from the back of the court.
This is a progression of the first two drills. However, for the first time on court just one ball will be used and not two.
So, all four players will be involved in the rotation. This time, it will probably make sense to operate off the front wall, to better assimilate a game-like situation.
It is a straightforward rotation. The players stand in a line, one behind the other. The player at the front of the line starts the rally and the rotation continues that way. The beauty about this drill is that it also presents somewhat of a court orientation element to it.
It teaches players how to move around the court a bit better and develop a better understanding of where they are on the court. It hits the proverbial two birds with one stone.
An important concept to grasp here is the idea of keeping the ball in control on one side of the court. It is a team effort that requires the rally be kept going for as long as possible.
This is a really fun drill, that especially works brilliantly for kids!
You keep all four players on court for this drill but only give them the option of playing with two rackets. Have two sets of partners. They will each share one racket.
Similar to DRILL 3, the objective is still to operate from just the one side of the court.
One player hits the ball, then runs round the back and gives their partner the racket. In the meantime the other team have their first shot. The first player hits the ball and runs and gives the racket to their partner. And so on and so on!
There is extra emphasis on orientation here because the complication presented by being forced to exchange rackets in between shots forces the players to think a little more about what they are doing.
From a game situation point of view, there is nothing necessarily practical about this drill. However, it does enhance the mental sharpness of players on a squash court, where split second decisions count for so much.
A major element of control with this drill is trying to teach players to make contact with the ball.
The first goal is to just keep the rally going. Once some rhythm has been established in that sphere, the stakes can be heightened by focusing on striking specific target areas on the front wall. It is a team effort through and through.
For the final drill in this segment, we split back into two groups of two. Also return to hitting against the side wall. Stick a target up on the sidewall and one player at a time should focus on hitting that target as many times in a row.
The target could be a newspaper sheet taped to the wall, for example.
The moment one player misses the target, he then exchanges places with the other player in the group. As a starter, there is no reason why that target can’t be large. You can make the target smaller, the more advanced your group becomes.
It is always advised that when formulating and executing squash drills, you should try and create a game like situation. It is especially important to get youngsters accustomed to the idea of competition.
This drill caters for that kind of objective. The onus is on the four players to form two groups of two. Try and make each team equally strong, to produce a better workout. The two strongest players should play against each other, while the two weaker players compete against each other.
The two teams play on either side of the court. The first player hits the ball to the front wall and then runs round the back. The second player hits the ball to the front wall, and so on.
It is strictly a rally situation. The player who fails to keep the rally going loses a point for his team. The ball is out if it crosses into the opponent’s half of the court.
The moment the point tally becomes too one-sided it might make sense to introduce a few handicap scenarios in the routine. Perhaps allow two bounces off the front wall, or even two serves, just to keep the other side interested in the drill.
If push comes to shove, swap team members. Remember, the real goal here is to produce long and meaningful rallies. Short rallies achieve nothing.
They key premise for this drill is to use just three quarters of the court. As common sense would dictate, one of the back two quarters will remain out of bounds for the duration of the drill. This is the waiting zone for two players.
Two players compete in a rally played in three quarters of the court. The winner of the rally stays on and is replaced by the next in line. The loser of the rally shifts to the back of the line. The player entering the ring has the privilege of serving.
Hand-eye coordination is an key quality in squash. This drill is fantastic for developing this! Again this is probably a great drill for kids maybe more so than adults.
You don’t have to use a squash racket or even squash ball to enhance these hand-eye skills.
There are “fun” ways to carry them out.
In this instance you can teach hand-eye coordination using a badminton shuttlecock. It is a very straightforward routine.
Instruct a group of four children to take a table tennis ball each and a badminton shuttle each. Throw the ball in the air and catch it with the shuttle. Developing the capacity to make sudden adjustments to a moving ball is important.
Once the children are done throwing and catching from close range – they can try their hand at throwing the ball a little higher or further away and running after it to catch it.
For the sake of variety, you can then move onto throwing the ball against the sidewall and allowing it the bounce once before catching it with the shuttle.
As a progression, you can then move onto throwing the ball against the wall and catching it without a bounce. Now you can start working in groups of two. With one throwing the ball and the other catching.
The players can start off from close range and start moving back gradually as the drill progresses.
Once you have gone as far back as the court will allow, you can then experiment with throwing the ball against the front wall and allowing your partner to catch it. This could and probably should turn into a game situation for the two players.
Throw the ball at an angle and force your partner to catch it off the wall without a bounce.
Operating two at a time, once a ball drops, the two players waiting behind can then move forward and take part in the same style of competition.
Depending on the level of the participants, this game could actually start off with a two-bounce allowance. The progression for that could be a one bounce allowance and then no bounce.
In racket sports, confidence can be the difference between developing and flunking out. A major component of confidence building in squash is developing good feel for the ball early on in your development.
For young players and beginners this can start with something as simple as learning to stop the ball with your racket. You can even use a ball machine for this drill, to feed your group of four. Then start working on a rotation.
Get the squash ball to ricochet off the front wall and have the player at the front stand at the T-line.
Allow for there to be one bounce before collecting the ball with your racket. One of the keys to this is presenting an open face and retracting the racket at the moment of contact.
Every ball caught in the racket is a point. That presents an opportunity to create a competitive element to this.
What do squash balls and balloons have in common? A considerable amount really. Both are roundish, both are made of rubber.
This drill presents an opportunity to discover which of the two sets of balls was built to stand the test of time.
Okay, we all know how this will end but wouldn’t it be nice to conduct some experimental physics?
Stick the balloon up as a target on the front wall, on the right half of the squash court. The feed for the squash ball should go cross court. The four players line up behind the ball machine and move forward towards the T-line.
Once the ball pops out of the machine the player then makes the dart toward the back of the court and plays the return straight down the court and at the balloon. Most balloons popped wins.
Depending on the level of the players involved, that balloon might never pop. However, for the younger players the thrill of just being given the license to hit the rubber off the squash ball will be enough.
At some point in the their squash development young children are going to need to learn how to retrieve a cross court shot that comes off the wall. It is one aspect of the game that never feels natural for some.
However, you can limit confusion for developing players by performing this drill. For this drill, you need somebody to feed. Then you can have four players on rotation.
Start the players off on the T.
You can opt to either perform this drill from the right hand side of the court or from the left hand side of the court. The feed will come from just in front of the service-line. The four players can stack up in the waiting zone, which in this case is the box behind the feeder.
Depending on the level of the players this could be a rather messy affair, which is why there aren’t too many restrictions to adhere to. The real goal, at the outset, is just to get a racket on the ball.
With time and progression, you can change the goal to hitting a straight drive at a given target on the front wall. Alternately, children can also be instructed/encouraged to hit the return cross court themselves.
A major component of developing hand-eye coordination, is developing the capacity to judge the bounce of the ball. It is not something that is always easy to learn with a racket in hand. Sometimes children just need to start by learning a game of catch.
Have an adult feed against the front wall, with the view to providing one bounce before the ball is caught. Get the children to line up in either one of the service boxes, depending on where you are feeding from.
Not only is the player learning to judge the bounce of the squash ball but he/she is also learning to judge that bounce while on the move. Depending on how young these players are, various incentives could be provided to catch as many balls as possible.
Sometimes the joy that comes with being announced a winner is enough.
We have already used a number of gimmicks to try and help young players stay interested in the game. We have had table tennis balls, badminton shuttles, balloons and now we have hoops, taped to the front wall.
After providing a feed, instruct the player to hit a straight drive with the first shot and then follow that up with a shot aimed directly at the hoop – which is typically in the middle of the front wall and just under the service line.
As was the case with many of our previous four-player drills, get the group to line up behind each other in the vacant service box. Once the two-shot drill is completed, the player in front then moves to the back of the line.
The whole point of the first shot is to set yourself up and make sure your feet are well place to absolutely unleash and drill that ball through the hoop. Let the ball bounce twice for the first shot, if that makes you more comfortable.
So there we have our best 13 squash drills for 4 players.
As you can see many of these are more for kids, but there are several that could also be played by adults. All these drills try to bring fun to the game, and get their participants learning and laughing together.