How To Hit The Ball Softly In Squash

When you first start to play squash, you shouldn’t try to hit the ball too hard. That’s because you need to be able to control your swing. So you start with medium speed shots and slowly begin to increase the speed over the coming weeks. Once you feel comfortable hitting the ball cleanly, it’s time to try to hit it softly.

08 May 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗

Your objective is to use a short swing: both BEFORE the racket hits the ball and AFTER it has hit the squash ball. You need to ensure you keep the racket head from twisting so that the ball goes where you want it.

Jonathan Power and Peter Nicol trade soft shots

Below are three simple, but not so easy drills to help you improve your racket head control. Do them as often as you can until they are all comfortable, then you can occasionally do the last one. All are performed on your forehand. Do NOT do these on your backhand. The embedded video below explains the drills in more detail.

SET ONE: Stand about 2 metres away from the front wall.

DRILL ONE: Hit the ball back to yourself and when it gets to you, make it bounce on the floor. Catch it, if you can. Now hit it back to yourself again and do the same thing. If this is easy, instead of catching it, bounce it and hit it directly back to the frontwall, without touching it with you hand.

DRILL TWO: Hit the ball back to yourself and when it gets to you, make it bounce in the air, upwards. This is a little harder because you don’t have the floor to reduce the speed. Catch the ball if you can. Try to make sure the ball doesn’t go too high after it hits your racket. The lower, the better. When catching it is easy, do it without catching it!

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SET TWO: Stand on the short line (the line that goes across the court).

DRILL ONE: Exactly as in Set One. It’s a little harder now though because you are further away from the frontwall and have to hit the ball harder. Perform all of the little progressions as before.

DRILL TWO: As in drill one, do everything the same as before.

DRILL THREE: Now for the fun stuff! When the ball comes back to you, try to scope it so that it stays on your racket head. You need to move the racket head in such a way that it completely takes the speed off the ball, but the ball should remain in contact with the strings once you scope it. It sounds complicated in text, but if you watch the video below, it’s easy to see and understand. Not so easy to do though!

Two beginners learning to hit the ball softly

SET THREE: Stand near the back of the court.

Perform all three drills as before, but as with the move from set one to set two, it’s even harder at the back because you have to hit the ball quite hard and accurately to get it back to yourself.

Final Thoughts

Being able to control the racket head is the key to hitting the ball softly. Use a firm grip and a short swing – at least until you can control the ball well. Then you can begin to try to trick your opponent.

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I am a squash coach with nearly 40 years experience, teaching complete beginners through to professionals.

Currently, I call myself an "online squash coach" as I rarely coach on court.

I enjoy working with club players and strive to present information in an entertaining and engaging way.

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