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Squash Topspin Drops – How To Play A Killer One

So you might have seen some of the very best players in the world playing a topspin drop shot, and wondered how you can learn to do the same? You’ve come to the right place. The topspin drop shot is a fairly new invention in the annals of squash, and very few players play it consistently and effectively. However, it is a really fun shot and one that would be great to have in your armoury.

So how do you play the topspin drop shot? You play the squash topspin drop to a ball that is usually quite tight to the side wall. Roll the racket face slightly over the ball as you make contact with it, imparting a bit of topspin. This will cause the ball the bounce higher off the front wall, but also help it die against the side wall.

Ready to find out the full story of how and why to play this magical shot? Then read on…

Why Play The Topspin Drop?

The reason you play this shot is usually because your opponent has played a drop shot that is quite tight to the wall. It is tight enough that you cannot hit the ball with the sweet spot of the racket.

Therefore, if you attempt to apply any cut to the ball, or just hit it with a straight racket, you run the risk of just squirming the ball into the floor or into the tin. Applying topspin actually makes the ball more likely to leave your racket in a true flight and reach the front wall.

Although topspin is generally not played in squash, this is the one time it is a useful entity and definitely a shot that you should at least have a try of in practice. Whether you want to develop it further or discard it is then up to you.

The Topspin Drop In Detail

The topspin drop is normally played in a very similar manner to the traditional drop shot.

Move to the ball, giving yourself plenty of room. Play the shot from a low position off the normal front leg.

The only difference in the shot from a normal drop shot, is the racket backswing will start from a lower position, and you sweep over the ball to some extent with the racket rolling over it on contact. This will impart the topspin.

Aim to play it as tight to the sidewall as possible. It will bounce higher than the normal drop shot so if it goes out into the middle of the court it is a sitting duck for an aggressive response and could leave you in trouble.

The Forehand Drop

The forehand drop is probably slightly easier for most players than the backhand.

The shot should be played off the left leading leg. Keep low and roll the racket over the ball slightly.

The Backhand Drop

Most players find the backhand topspin drop to be more difficult.

This shot is played off the right leading leg. Same again sweep over the ball in a style more like a tennis shot than a squash shot.

Any Other Time You Can Play It?

The topspin drop is also sometimes a useful shot when you are forced to play a ball on the half volley at the front of the court.

Again, the element of topspin adds greater control to the shot and you are less likely to tin. Also it makes it more likely that the shot will have the required power to reach the front wall.

Which Famous Players Play It?

Many! Particularly in the modern era Ramy Ashour, Mo Elshorbaghy and Farag all play the topspin drop shot regularly.

My favourite exponent of the shot is the magnificent Amr Shabana. He plays it regularly in most of his matches. He uses it particularly well on the forehand side when his opponent’s drop shot is tight to the side wall. He manages to get the ball to die into the side wall.

Does Every Professional Play It?

No they don’t. There are inherent risks with playing the shot, and many players just don’t have it in their armoury.

It certainly is a more minor shot, but that doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked.

Many players play drop shots in their preferred way, often with a little bit of backspin on the ball, and this is the way they always attempt the shot.

The Drawbacks Of A Topspin Drop

The drawbacks of this shot are the following:

  • It takes a long time to practice to perfect
  • It is a hard shot to play accurately
  • It is a shot that is very rarely required, so it is maybe not worth the time to practise it
  • It is impossible to disguise very well, as the swing of the racket is quite different, going from low to high
  • If it is not played tight to the sidewall then the extra bounce on the ball means it is quite an easy shot to kill

Topspin In Other Shots

Topspin is very rarely used in squash, but that is not to say it is never involved.

Ramy Ashour and Mo Elshaghy both play a topspin backhand volley. Again this shot dies in the sidewall, the perfect one landing in the nick.

Many amateur players have topspin involved in their games, particularly if they are also tennis players.

Backspin In Squash

However, enough of this backspin chat for a moment. Which spin is the most important in squash by a mile?

That’s right. Backspin.

In squash the top players play the majority of shots with just a little bit of backspin the ball. There are many reasons for playing shots with backspin, which include:

  • The racket face will then be naturally facing up slightly, and you want the ball to travel up most of the time to hit the front wall and rebound into the back
  • Boasts hit with backspin will die closer to the front wall, with hopefully the second bounce landing somewhere near the sidewall nick
  • Straight drives hit with a little bit of cut on them will die better in the back corners of the court, and will bounce off the back wall with less speed
  • Slicing drop shots is a great way of disguising the swing. You can use a full swing, but slicing the ball leads to a delicate shot hitting just above the tin.
  • A drop shot with back spin on will also drop downwards off the front wall making it harder to retrieve

Are Any Other Types of Spin Used In Squash?

The other type of spin that is used by extremely skillful players is sidespin.

Side spin is sometimes used when playing straight drives and straight kills.

A good example of this shot is when a straight drive is played from near the centre of the court. If you hit the drive down the left-hand side of the court you need to put left to right sidespin on the ball. The ball will hit the front wall and straighten up to go straighter down the left hand wall. The same shot with no side-spin would bounce off the sidewall and out towards the middle of the court.

How To Practise A Topspin Drop

A topspin drop can be practised very effectively as a simple solo drill.

Very simply attempt a topspin drop near the sidewall keeping the ball as tight to the sidewall as possible, and then attempt another as it bounces back. Rinse and repeat.

Try playing it on both sides of the court. However, most players find the forehand is easier.

Other Types Of Drop Shots

There are many types of drops shots. The main ones include:

  • Backhand drop – Play the ball low and with the right leg leading. Try and disguise the swing and cut the ball. The perfect shot will have the second bounce in the sidewall nick. It is better for the second bounce to come before the wall than after hitting it
  • Forehand drop – This is the opposite to the backhand. Play it off the left leg leading. Everything else is the same.
  • Volley drop – This is a great way to win points by intercepting cross-courts that don’t have enough width on them, or drives that are not tight enough to the wall. Keep you racket high to prepare for the shot, and your shoulders facing the sidewall.
  • Counter drop – Basically this is when your opponent has played a drop shot and you dink it back to exactly the same place.
  • Trickle boast – Not technically a drop shot, but this fits the same kind of criteria. A trickle boast is an attacking boast normally played near the front of the court. The idea is to play a well disguised gentle boast shot into the side wall, that will act like a drop shot, dying somewhere near the nick of the opposite sidewall.
  • Drop from back of the court – Most drops are played when you are in front of your opponent. However, mainly as a variation, you can play dropshots from the back of the court. It is crucial to get the ball reasonably tight, and if you think half of them are going to hit the tin it is probably not worth bothering. This is a great shot against less agile or older players.

Related Questions

How do you serve in squash? There are several standard serves in squash. The target is normally to get the ball to hit quite high on the sidewall and bounce before the backwall. A lob serve will be played high and loopy, to die in the back corner. A smash serve will be hit with power to hit low on the sidewall.

How do you play a drop shot in squash? In squash a drop shot is normally played when you are in front of your opponent. Staying low, you play the shot gently to hit just above the tin. The perfect drop shot will be played close the side wall, and the second bounce will land in the nick.

How do you play a lob in squash? In squash the lob shot is usually played from the front of the court. Stay low and hit the ball high up on the front wall so that it lobs over the head of your opponent in to the diagonal corner of the cout. A perfect lob will hit the sidewall high up before dying near the back of the court.