Consider this article your complete, definitive, all-you-need-to-know guide on all the squash shots.
If you want to refine your squash skills, it is valuable to learn and perfect the plethora of shots as mentioned in this guide. Adding these shots to your game will not only make you a more competitive player, but they will also be extremely fun to learn! There is nothing quite like watching your game improve right before your eyes.
In this guide, you will find various types of overarching shot categories and their subcategories, so grab your pen and paper and be prepared to take some notes! Store these in your bag for your next practice or match and you’re on your way to expert level.
If you want to improve your shot arsenal as a player, this is guide is for you.
You could pretty confidently say that the serve is squash is a very important shot. After all, without a good serve there is no point to play in the first place. So, we are going to say that the serve is arguably, the most important shot in squash!
Squash players aren’t known for having the most powerful, “big” serves the way tennis players might be known for, but they are often known for having reliable, dependable, consistent serves. Unfortunately, unlike tennis, squash does not allow for two chances at a serve, so with that being said, consistency is key here.
- This is the most common type of serve in squash, and is used the most often
- Serving underhand from the waist level allows you to lift the ball high enough to hit the side wall
- This will cause your opponent to have to volley the ball, a tricky shot to have to hit as a return of serve
- This type of serve also allows you a lot of control when it comes to both precision and accuracy
- It’s an easier shot to execute as it’s far more delicate than an overhand serve
- The overhand serve in squash looks very similar to the overhand serve in tennis
- If you have not seen an overhand serve in tennis, know that it is when the racket contacts the ball above your head
- This technique allows for a much more powerful, faster pace shot
- This puts pressure on your opponent to return a better shot so as not to put themselves in a vulnerable position for the next shot
- Most often, the returner will wait for the serve to bounce before they return it, unlike the underhand serve
- This is especially tricky for beginners!
- The lob serve is a subcategory of the underhand serve
- When it is executed well, your opponent will have to hit a difficult high volley return off a lob serve, because the ball will have a rather steep downward motion
- If your opponent lets the ball past them, it will die in the back of the court
- Although it’s a great shot to have in your arsenal, it’s very difficult to perfect because the ball can’t be over-hit
- It also has a relatively large chance of hitting on or above the side wall “out” line
- This serve, like the underhand serve is very commonly used.
- The higher the better!
- A backhand serve can make the squash court’s angles work in your favor, as it can really pull your opponent out wide
- When your opponent is pulled so far out wide, they might scrape the side wall when attempting to make a return
To find out about the main types of serves, you really want to check out this youtube video that I made on the subject. Don’t forget to subscribe!
Now that you know the ins and outs of the serve, it should be noted that the second most important shot in squash is likely the serve! A good serve is essential to starting a competitive point, and takes away the opportunity for your opponent to hit an easy winner off a weak return. Essentially, a good return can take back the power and advantage the server might have over you.
Tips for a Good Return
- Watch your opponent like a hawk! This can allow you to try to predict what type of serve they might hit, giving you an extra advantage
- Give yourself space: stay about one racket/arm’s length away from the side wall to give yourself plenty of space to hit the ball and return the shot very effectively
- Prepare yourself by positioning: As your opponent serves, begin to turn your body so that your chest becomes parallel to the side wall. This will again, give you plenty of space to rotate through your shot
- Learn to attack! Use a weak serve as an opportunity to attack with a straight drop or another attacking shot. Start to take this risk as the reward will become higher and higher with more and more practice!
The straight drive is is one of the most basic squash shots in squash. You might also hear it be called a “good length shot”, so don’t get confused as the two are often interchangeable. A straight drive or good length shot is when the ball has to be hit parallel and close to one of the side walls to travel deep back into the court. Since it is hit close to the side wall and its goal is to travel to the back wall of the court, this is where it gets the other name of “the good length”.
This is the most common shot in the game and its goal is to get your opponent away from the offensive T-position. This fight for the T-position is the reason you often see players trying to execute a series of straight drives because they create a weak length return from the opponent which can later be seized and attacked with a follow-up aggressive shot. This shot can be executed by hitting the ball when it is at the highest point after the bounce.
For the best execution, players should get to the ball early, on the rise. They should extend the arm holding the racket with a full grip, with their front knee bent at around 90 degrees. After they are set up in this position, they will bring the racket forwards and upwards to meet the ball.
Forehand and Backhand Straight Drive
Of course, you should expect these drives to be executed on either the forehand or the backhand side, no surprise there. Here are some extra tips.
Face the side wall as you hit the shot
- Facing the nearest side wall will help keep the ball tight to the side wall
- This tightness provides more control over the shot and your body
High to high swing
- Bring racket up in preparation to hit the ball- this gives a longer backswing and provides your swing with more power
- Continue your follow-through long and high, as the goal is to have a high-to-high swing
- Start with your left foot forward on the forehand side, and your right foot forehand on the backhand side (and vice versa)
- Using the correct opposite foot can ensure that your body is in the right place when learning and improving, which is ideal because it continues to promote good basic technique which is most beneficial for a long-term linear improvement
Forehand and Backhand Crosscourt Drive
A cross-court shot is a good length shot that travels from one side of the court to the back corner of the opposite side of the court. This can be performed, as you might guess, from the forehand side to the backhand side or the backhand side to the forehand side. The key point of this shot is to pull your opponents out wide as it becomes a harder shot to intercept.
Face the front corner
- Unlike the straight drive, when playing the cross-court drive, you should face the front corner of the side the ball is on as you line up for a shot
- By doing so, this should put your body and feet at a 45 degree angle in relation to the wall
- This is ideal because it places you in the best position to execute that crosscourt ball path: the foundation comes from your body!
- Like the straight drive, when executing a cross-court drive, the backswing should start high in order to garner the most amount of power from preparation.
Hit the ball early
- Try your best to meet the ball early, “on the rise”, or when the ball is still in front of your leading foot- this, again, garners power and allows you to remain in an offensive position
High to low swing
- Unlike the straight drive, when completing a crosscourt drive you should aim for a high to low swing
- Make sure you get your racket above the ball and bring the racket down in a downward motion in order to push the ball in a downwards motion which makes it bounce twice in the back corner.
This shot, like the straight drive, should hit the side wall. However, it is a little bit different. When executing this particular shot, the ball should first hit the side wall OR the back wall at an angle before it hits the front wall. This shot can be considered a success when the ball hits either one of the side walls before hitting the front wall. It can also be categorized as both an offensive or defensive shot within your arsenal.
For example, if your opponent is behind you, it is best to execute an attacking boast. On the other hand, the defensive boast shot should be used when you as a player is behind your opponent. For a successful attacking boast, the player should hit the ball against the side wall, making it rebound off the middle wall and then bounce before hitting the opposite side wall.
The defensive boast should send the ball to the opposite side corner of the court, driving the ball into the nick (the point where the floor and the wall meet) after rebounding off the middle wall. It sounds rather complicated, but essentially, it should be known that for most shots, they can be used offensively or defensively depending upon your location on the court and the circumstances of the point.
The trickle boast is a boast played at the front of the court. It is a good alternative to a drop shot. The ball hits the side wall close to the corner so that it also hits the front wall very close to the corner and “trickles” out into the court. It should be played low but can also be played at a slow pace so that it barely bounces
Get down low
- When playing any shot to the front wall, it is important to get down as low as possible so you are very close to the ball
- This allows for more control over the shot, and to really put the energy of your body into the shot, making for one fluid motion
High to low swing
- Make sure your racket is above the ball when starting out
- This allows you to make contact with the ball in order to bring it downwards
- If you have a high racket you can give the impression that you are going to make a hard swing at the ball, and your opponent might think you are going for a drive
- This tricks them into a false preparation for a different shot, throwing them off and ultimately making the shot extremely successful
- Make sure you are aiming for the ball to hit the side wall close to its corner
- This, as a result, makes the ball hit the front wall close to the corner as well (the intersection of the side and front wall), making it extremely difficult to receive
The reverse boast is a boast when the ball is hit to the furthest away side wall just before it hits the front wall. This is unlike the normal boast, which hits the side wall that is closest to the player. It is considered to be an extremely offensive shot, which of course, can be risky if not practiced enough and executed correctly. However, when done right, it can be extremely deceptive and an effective winning shot.
The volley is a relatively simple shot in that there is not much to it to understand its difference from a groundstroke. If you break it down to the most simple understanding, a volley is when a player hits the ball before it touches the ground. Most of the time, a squash volley is directed straight towards the strong wall.
The drop shot is a fantastic shot to add to your game if you’re looking to mix up your shots and really keep your opponent on their toes. It’s a really nice way to counteract sheer power in your squash game. When hitting drop shot, the ball is hit softly to the front wall with the goal of making it fall softly to the floor in the front corner. This shot is commonly used in most racket sports, especially squash and tennis.
It is not too hard to execute but will definitely take some practice focusing on touch and finesse. Essentially, it involves hitting the ball very gently to make it fall at the front corner of the court. In most cases, the ball is aimed just slightly above the tin and falls just by the side wall.
This shot is very similar to the straight shot, except that the backswing involved in the drop shot is not as great, as the player does not require as much strength in a drop shot. In fact, a drop shot should not have too much back swing at all in order to unload the most bare minimum amount of energy into it as possible. The player should approach the ball by facing towards the side wall and keeping his shoulders parallel to that specific wall. Bend the knees, so that the racquet is at the height of the ball, and keep the racket straight.
Again, this requires lots and lots of practice because the timing and power has to be nearly perfect in order to execute this shot effectively. Like anything, practice will make perfect and the payoff is great because the drop shot has the ability to exploit the weaknesses of slower players during the match.
The lob, in both tennis and squash is absolutely ideal for mixing things up. it is a shot that is played high, slow, and tight to the side wall. This can often be used as an alternative to the straight drive from the back portion of the court when the ball is tight in the other back corner. This positioning makes it really hard to produce a swing powerful enough for the drive.
The lob is great for getting yourself out of a defensive position into a more neutral or offensive one. This is because when you hit the ball high, you give yourself time to return back to a better position while also pushing your opponent and the ball towards the back of the court.
In other cases, it can be used as an attacking shot from the front of the court especially if you can draw your opponent forward tricking them into a drop shot, but then throw up the lob. This creates a vast amount of space behind them in the back of the court. Essentially, the lob can be used to slow down the game, whether you are on the defensive or offensive.
Get down low
- Make sure you are positioned very low because you will really need to get your entire body underneath the ball to hit the bottom of the ball to pop it up
Open racket face
- Open that racket face as much as possible when you hit this shot. This will provide you with the height you so desire
Lift the ball- low to high
- This is one of the few shots in squash that relies on the low to high swing path
- Use a lifting motion in order to pop the lob up for the height you desire
- This in combination with the open racket face makes for the most effective lob
Extra Special Shots!
If you are just starting out, these shots might not be the ones you want to be learning right away. Add these to your arsenal when you are really looking to take things to the next level as a competitor, and looking to round out your arsenal of weapons. This is truly the fun part!
This is arguably the most satisfying shot, as it can often be the game winner for many players. There’s no better feeling then finishing out that point with a beautiful finisher. The kill shot is relatively similar to the straight drive, except it is played with a lot more pace and hit much lower. The goal is to get the ball to bounce twice higher up in the positioning of the court.
This shot is ideal for applying that final bit of pressure on an opponent during a point. This is due to the fact that it forces them to get their body down very low very quickly and in turn, retrieve the ball even quicker. It is especially good when playing against players who tend to stay back deep into the court or for players who have a hard time getting their body down low. It is important to gauge your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses both physically and technically speaking to know whether or not this shot will be the most effective.
- Like many other shots in squash, it is important to prepare for this shot by getting the racket high enough to be above the ball in order to complete that desired downwards motion.
Extreme high-to-low swing
- More than any other shot in squash, using an extreme, aggressive high-to-low swing is vital for the kill shot.
- The motion needs to be quick and dramatic as it builds up quite a bit of power and allows for a wide range of motion.
The goal of the nick shot it to hit the ball into you guessed it, the nick! This is where the side wall meets the floor. If it rolls out of bounds as a result, this is the most desired effect of the shot. You might consider yourself at your highest level if this shot is a perfected weapon in your arsenal.
This shot is certainly a risky one but just because it’s risky doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to add it. If the ball goes into the nick and then rolls out, nothing can be done that prevents you from taking that point. When something as frustrating as this happens to your opponent, it not only shows off your immense skill as a player but it can even get into your opponent’s head, putting self-doubt in their head and messing with their self-confidence. As we all know, confidence is one of the most vital tools in winning squash matches, let alone any competition.
Open your body
- When attempting the nick shot, it is easier to use an open stance as your body faces the front wall
- Your wrist is pivotal in the set up the shot because it provides strength and the foundation of the motion
- The best shape is to cock the wrist up high, with the racket butt facing the floor
- It should almost be at a 90 degree angle as you go to hit the ball
- Some players even go to the extreme by lifting their arm straight up into the air
Extreme high to low swing
- The goal is to hit the point where the wall meets to the floor, so as result, you will need to bring the ball low with an aggressive downward swinging motion
Some extra inspiration
If you’re looking for some major competitive inspiration, look up videos of Ramy Ashour. He is a very famous professional player and known for his epic trick shots, amazing reach, and finesse. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, it is great to have a role model to look to for tangible manifestations of the type of player you hope to be. This is just one of the many great players we recommend taking a look at, but feel free to do your own research to draw your own inspiration!
With that, hopefully this guide of squash shots leaves you feeling secure in your learning process as a player and gives you some much-needed tips if you feel like you might be stuck in a plateau as a player. Of course, there are more and more subcategories which fall under each one of these shots, but there is just no way to cover all the nuances of each shot in this single article. Make sure you are checking out other articles on our blog to learn every detail you hope to know!