The backhand drop shot is a key component of a successful squash technique but it can take some work to master. From a beginners perspective, often doing the backhand variation of any squash shot can feel hard at first. But don’t worry as this guide will tell you everything you need to know in order to perform a back hand drop shot, so you can bring your squash game to a whole new level.
How do you play a backhand drop shot? The set-up for a squash backhand drop shot is the same as for a backhand drive, with the same backswing for disguise. Slow the racket head before contact, and open the face. Aim to hit the front wall just above the tin, and get the first bounce of the ball to be close to the sidewall nick.
This essential guide will talk you through what a backhand drop shot is, how to play it, some great tips, and also some disguise strategies you can try as well.
What Is The Backhand Drop Shot?
Let’s start off with something incredibly basic: what is the backhand drop shot? It is quite simply a backhand shot played with very little force and at a much slower pace than normal shots, that aims to hit the front wall just above the tin and die in the front of the court.
Mostly, you want to use the backhand drop shot to surprise your opponent, so you don’t want to use it too often. The dropshot is one of the key attacking shots in squash, and if you learn to play this shot well you significantly improve the number of points you win in games.
How To Play A Backhand Drop Shot
When you are starting a bakchand drop shot, you want to set yourself up in a way similar to a straight drive. Your feet and racket should be positioned in the same way as a straight drive. Your body should be positioned so that you are facing the side wall and the shoulder in the front should be aimed toward where you want to hit the shot.
1. Make sure your body is facing the side wall
This can help the ball’s direction stay locked onto the side wall.
2. The swing path is high to low
Keep your regular backhand backswing. Start high, and move the racket to low at the point of contact. The more disguise you can get into the backswing the better.
3. Put one foot in front of you
You need one foot forward when you do this. Assuming you are right-handed, you want your right foot forward when playing the backhand drop. The free foot is just positioned in place. If you are left-handed, reverse those descriptions of which foot goes in front. There are variations like having your feet together among many others, but for beginners, you should focus on developing the basics.
Here are the four steps for you to do a Drop Shot:
Four Steps For A Perfect Backhand Drop Shot
1. Keep Your Wrist Cocked
The cocked wrist is key element of most squash shots, and particularly drop shots where accuracy is so crucial. The cocked wrist helps the racket head to come through the ball in a straight line. It also helps to keep the head steady on contact, and not wobble and propel the ball in the wrong direction.
2. You Need to Push The Ball Not Power Through The Hit
For this swing, you want to use specific parts of your hand to generate power as you make the head of the racket move downwards. The parts you should be using are your fingers and thumb. This will help you push the ball, which is how this shot makes the ball move at a slower pace instead of the usual quick pace of most serves and returns. Remember to push, not do a full follow-through like other shots.
3. Try to Aim Near The Corner
You want to aim just above the tin near the corner of the wall. The backhand drop shot is usually played to the left hand side of the front wall.
4. The Ball Should Hit The Front Wall, Then Bounce Off The Side
As you do this shot, the ball should hit the front wall, then hit the sidewall on the full very low down, before bouncing and dying after the first bounce. The perfect drop shot will actually land in the ‘nick.’
Playing The Backhand Drop
The Backhand Drop Shot is a shot that can take your opponent closer to the front but doesn’t open up the court as much as the boast. It is not too difficult a shot to get reasonably right, but like many backhand shots it sometimes feels less natural when you start to play it than shots do on the forehand side. In order to learn this shot, like all things, you should practice at it continually until you get it.
Let’s start with a few steps that should teach you how to play the shot:
1. Keep Your Racket High
As with most swings, start with the racket high and don’t have your arms locked in. As you do the shot, you want to keep the racket high throughout the whole thing.
2. Use A Slower Swing
Use a slower swing as you’re pushing the ball forward instead of smashing it forward.
3. Knuckles To The Sky
Have your knuckles towards the sky to ensure freedom of movement and hitting the ball dead center.
4. Open The Face Slightly
There are many different styles of playing a drop shot, but one way that many players use is to open the face slightly at the moment of impact. This puts a certain amount of ‘cut’ on the ball. It also helps with disguise.
5. Use Backspin
Just a little backspin on the shot is a great weapon. It helps in the following ways:
- It can make the ball stick more tightly to the side wall.
- It helps you disguise your slower swing
- It helps the ball dip quickly off the front wall.
Putting all these steps together should ensure you will be able to do the Backhand Drop Shot.
In order to improve, just make sure to keep doing it. Planning out some drills and repeatedly doing those drills will help your body develop the muscle memory.
Different Speeds Of Drop Shot
Something to keep in mind as your practice the shot is that you may also want to practice how you push the ball, specifically the speed you hit the ball with.
Obviously, you will never be smashing the ball here, but it can also help teach you the multiple speeds you can hit the ball with which would still count as a drop shot. You can play drop shots anywhere from super gentle, where the ball is barely bouncing back off the front wall, to somewhere closer to a low kill, keeping the ball low and fired in towards the side wall.
By mixing up the speeds of your drop shots, this can further put your opponent into a state of confusion.
However, this takes practice and confidence.
Experiment with different amounts of force and speed and see what works for you.
This not something a beginner may be able to grasp right away, and is certainly not a priority. So if you cannot do so right now, just keep focusing on making sure you get the Backhand Drop Shot down rather than being able to modify its speed.
However, if you can do this, you will have an ace up your sleeve that could trick just about any opponent.
Other Tips For Backhand Drop Shots
So far we have covered the essential basics for Backhand Drop Shots, but there are other tricks you can and should learn to take this shot to a new level.
One of the first things to note is that you can modify how you perform the swing, in order to confuse your opponents.
If you make them think you are going to do one thing, but you turn out to do another, then this can give you an edge. Doing this in general throughout your squash games can help you, but when combined with the drop shot and variations on it, then you can manipulate most opponents in ways they will not be able to react to.
For example, if you can get your set-up for your drop shot to look just like that for your drive, then your opponent will be on the back foot to start with.
Another trick is opening up your body as you set up for the shot, so it appears you will be playing a cross-court drive. In this same body position, then hit the backhand drop-shot, still to the left hand side of the wall.
The shot can also be sometimes played to the right hand side of the front wall. This is much riskier, as the ball has a lot further to travel. However, as a variation this will work really well.
Shape to play this shot like a normal backhand drop down the line, but then flick the wrist through the contact, sending the ball cross court to right hand side of the wall.
When To Play The Backhand Drop
So now we know how to play it, but when should you play the backhand drop.
The most important rule that is often talked about is only play a drop shot if you are in front of your opponent. They are usually played to balls that are loose. This means that your opponent’s shot is one of the following:
- Too close to the center of the court
- Bouncing out near the middle
- They have played a boast of drop themselves
The shot can also be played when you are behind your opponent, or even from the back of the court on occasion. This is used more as a shock tactic, or if your opponent is immobile or significantly older.
In general drops from the back of the court work only when:
- The court is cold
- Your opponent is exhausted
- Your opponent is playing behing the T
- Used as a variation
Find A Mentor
For each squash shot, but especially back hand ones, you might want to find someone who can watch your form.
Often, we cannot see or realize what we are really doing.
It is hard enough in practice, but this is doubled in a match, when your technique is often the last thing you are thinking about. This goes double for when you are practicing in a squash court which presumably has no moves.
In order to overcome this, you should seek to have someone who has played squash watch over you as you do the shots. If you can get a squash coach to watch your practice, all the better. But even if you can’t find or afford a coach, at the very least find a player who can already do the shot and will be able to help you out.
The backhand drop is not necessarily hard to do; it is just completely foreign to many players who are starting out.
Remember and practice these tips, and you will be starting your journey to becoming a lethal exponent of the backhand drop. It can be such an important tool in any squash player’s arsenal, but it can be hard to learn initially. Once you have got it going, however, use the tips in this article to drop your opponents into confusion and raise yourself to victory!