The dropshot in squash is the number one rally winner, so it is a crucial shot to try to improve. Some amateur players have little else in the locker, but a great drop-shot that you can play from all parts of the court can sometimes be enough to propel them to a decent standard of squash. The best way to improve is to practice, both alone and with a partner if you can find one.
In this article I list my top 9 drop shot drills that you can use to improve your shot. Give them a go, and reap the rewards in developing this key shot in your armoury.
Solo Drop Shot Drill One
New players often labour the misapprehension that you need a partner, coach or even ball machine to help you execute your drills. However, some of the best training and player development can be done while training on your own.
It often means increasing your work load and that is a good thing. It often means having to move from one side of the court to the other and that is a good thing. It often means you need to maintain a certain level of discipline and that is a good thing too. All of that contributes to you becoming a more complete player.
With this first drill, it would probably be prudent to stand on or just before the T-line, depending on how much pressure you want to put on yourself.
For this drill you will use the sidewall twice before playing the drop. It is always more comfortable to start off rallies on the forehand side of the court and there is no reason why that should not be the case this time.
So, hit your first shot into the right sidewall, get that to ricochet of the front wall. Follow that up with a second shot – this time into the front wall with the view to hit ricocheting off the left side wall. Then your final shot will be a drop into the front left corner.
Depending on how much you killed the ball, you can then follow that up with a pick up into the front wall and then carry the same routine out from the backhand side of the court or the left side of the court.
Solo Drop Shot Drill Two
When you are comfortable with this, as a form of progression, you can then limit the use of the third wall, which was just there to buy yourself some extra time to make up the ground and play the drop.
On this occasion you will give yourself a little less time to react because you are bored with the old regimen and you are also determined to test yourself a little. Over and above that, this drill will serve to better assimilate a game like situation.
So, you will once again hit the ball hard into the sidewall. You can start on the backhand side of the court if you wish. You will then retrieve off the front wall. That retrieval will be the drop shot. Ordinarily that drop shot will be played to the front right corner of the court.
As you move across the court, you continue with the momentum and pick the drop shot up before continuing the rotation from the forehand side of the court. The next drop shot will obviously be played to the left front corner this time.
Solo Drop Shot Drill Three
There will come a time in your routine when boredom overcomes you or more reasonably, you need to catch a bit of a breather and you don’t necessarily want to stop playing. There is no harm in being a tad lazy on the squash court, as long as it is laziness with purpose.
This drill will help you deliver on the laziness with purpose mandate. Station yourself on the T-line and because you are being a little lazy, start on the more natural forehand side of the court.
All you need to do is drop the ball once and then target the front right corner of the corner. If you have played the drop shot well the ball should not bounce back towards. At best, it should be rolling back.
Either way, you will probably pick the ball up with your hand and repeat the action. Once you are bored with the forehand side of the court, you can then change the action up and target the backhand side of the court.
Other than the change in direction, the modus operandi will and should remain the same. For each of these first drills think long and hard about your footwork, your capacity to manipulate the pace of the ball and the angle that you manage to find off your racket.
To hit the drop shots try and make your racket face is sufficiently open for you to try and get some purchase on the ball – in other words some back spin that will help kill the ball’s momentum.
Finding the right trajectory is also important. So, when you make contact with the ball the only direction of travel should be down. Anything else and you simply aren’t doing it right.
Solo Drop Shot Drill Four
When you are comfortable with the third drill, add a progression by moving back into the service box. If you are in the right side service box, you should look to hit the drop shot to the front left corner of the court.
If you are standing in the left-hand service box, you should look to hit the drop shot to the right front corner of the court. The really good squash players hit a killer drop shot from close range but the outstanding players are able to pull that drop shot off from virtually anywhere on the squash court.
Your capacity to execute Solo Drop Shot Drill Four will determine where you rank in the scheme of things.
Solo Drop Shot Drill Five
When you are comfortable off both service boxes, move back to the T-line. The purpose of this drill will be to sustain a short rally by yourself, by hitting standard crosscourt shots off your left and right flank.
Maybe alternate shots four or six times before pulling off the killer drop shot. So, that is forehand, backhand, forehand, back and then drop shot. Once you have played the drop shot, you then start the next rotation with the backhand crosscourt.
Solo Drop Shot Drill Six
If and when you are bored or worn out by Solo Drop Shot Drill Five, you can then adopt this next routine as a progression. Instead of hitting standard crosscourt drives, you change the dynamics by hitting crosscourt volleys.
First off the forehand wing, then off the backhand wing etc. The idea here is to perfect your capacity to play that drop shot on the fly. The drop shot volley is actually a shot that should really be expected.
The key here is learning to play it well. There are no buts out maybes about it. A poorly executed drop shot off the fly will almost always go down as a wasted opportunity. The Egyptians are absolute masters at it. One of the keys is to manipulate you wrist as much as is conceivable possible.
Drop Shot Drill Seven
This drill has a genuinely competitive edge to it. The first thing you need is a small marker to place on the court surface. That can be anything from a sheet of A4 paper to a small pizza box. Small towels are normally regularly available in these surroundings.
Whatever tickles your fancy really! Your job is to then to place the marker where you want your drop shot to land. A realistic distance away from the front wall. Once you are clear on where you want the ball to land, step back into the service box.
So, you can set yourself up by hitting a straight drive into the wall and following that up with a drop shot. Give yourself a minute or two from various positions on the court. In that allotted time calculate how many times you can get your ball to land on the marker.
The first option would be the straight option. You can then change that up by executing the routine from the T-line and get a rotation going for both front corners of the court. So you would then be hitting the drop shot to the left of the court and then to the right of the court.
One of the realities you need to grapple with in squash training is that most players need to be dynamic. Developing the capacity to implement several elements in one routine is good for both body and mind.
In a match situation you will not have the luxury of playing the drop shot from the position that you want or even under the circumstances that you want. You need to be dynamic or multifaceted and this drill helps you realise that objective.
Sometimes you just need to learn how to climb out of a hole and this is one of the better ways to do that.
PLAYER ONE benefits probably the least from this drill, so it is a good role for a coach or the best player of the three. Alternatively just rotate positions.
PLAYER ONE will hit gentle straight drives.
PLAYER TWO, once again stationed in the middle of the court will return that drive with a volley straight drop.
PLAYER THREE will be stationed at the front of the court. He will then retrieve that volley and hit a straight drive.
PLAYER TWO – the man in the middle – then intercepts with a deep volley to the back of the court.
PLAYER ONE starts the drill off again with a gentle straight drive. And repeat.
So, what is the point to all of this?
PLAYER TWO (AKA the Middle Man) has a heavy workload on this drill. He is called upon to make two strokes during the cycle. He is also forced to take the ball early on both occasions.
Quick reaction time and swift movement are key components of the session. Another one of the Middle Man’s goals is to develop their racket preparation. Keep your racket up.
Each rotation should be at least five minutes.
Drop Shot Drill Eight
This is also a multi-faceted drill that incorporates several elements of the game and requires the contribution of three players.
PLAYER ONE will be stationed at the back of the court. PLAYER TWO finds himself in the middle again and PLAYER THREE will operate from the front of the court.
PLAYER ONE will focus on straight drives.
PLAYER TWO in the middle returns the straight drive with a volley drop or a boast.
PLAYER THREE at the front will then make a return cross court. PLAYER TWO then gets called back into action again, by intercepting the cross court with a volley that heads back to PLAYER ONE.
Once you manage to get your head around that, which you likely will, you can start the rotation again. Much like the other drills…a five to ten minute rotation should be sufficient.
This time, it is the players at the front and the middle will reap the benefits. The player at the back is more of a feeder.
The player at the front gets to practise their footwork in the front corners of the court. The player in the middle gets to work on different types of volleys.
Drop Shot Drill Nine
This drill will incorporate the boast, a drop shot, a cross court shot, a volley and a drive. Once again three players will be required and they will be required to work hard at this. It requires decent technical ability, physical and mental stamina.
PLAYER ONE and PLAYER THREE start in the back right of the court. PLAYER TWO is on the T.
PLAYER ONE starts the rotation by hitting a boast from the back right corner of the court. PLAYER TWO retrieves that boast and plays a drop shot.
PLAYER ONE then runs to the front of the court – in fact he started running shortly after hitting the boast – retrieves the drop shot and hits a cross court drive.
PLAYER THREE, stationed on the right hand side of the court then hits a drive volley. PLAYER ONE then shuffles across the front of the court to play a straight drive to the back of the court.
PLAYER TWO, now stationed at the back of the court, will then play a drive of his own. PLAYER ONE then backtracks, retrieves the drive and plays the boast, starting the rotation all over again.
It is a tremendous amount to follow but once you get your head around the drill it can be fun and tremendously rewarding…physically and mentally. Situational awareness comes under the microscope during this drill.
Good luck with these drills! Drop shots are all about touch, and touch only comes from experience and practice. We have all played seasoned older players that can no longer move at all, but have huge amounts of touch in abundance. You can do that too!