06 July 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗
The split-step is effective because it utilizes the effects of plyometrics. Chances are you have been using plyometrics since you were a child. Skipping is a fun form, as is most types of running. Think of it as “bouncing”. Essentially, you can generate more force and power by doing a little jump before a bigger one. Now you might say “but Phillip, I’m NOT jumping when I play squash!”, and that’s kinda true, but you are: just not straight up!
Sprinters train for years to perfect the start from a low, still position. For squash players that action is not needed. The chances are that during a match there is almost no time that you are completely stationary. Beginners and improvers sometimes have the terrible habit of hitting the ball, standing still and watching what their opponents hit, and then running as fast as they can to where the ball is, often over-running because they are moving too fast, standing too upright and lack the leg strength to stop themselves. Rinse and Repeat!
No need to split-step on the serve or service return.
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Better players, hit the ball, move to the T fast, wait until their opponent is about to hit the ball, split-step and then move to the ball.
Firstly, the split-step is not a big jump. You feet barely leave the ground. Just enough so that when you land, you have that “bounce” potential in your legs. The width and exact position of your feet depend on the situation, but in general, you probably want you feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on level with each other, rather than having one foot in front of another, although a slight difference is not that important.
The key is the timing. Too early and you will lose the benefit of the bounce effect. Too late and you will be in the air when you should be moving. This is why a little deception or disguise can really pay dividends. They ruin your opponent’s split-step timing. There is no better way to improve your split-step than just doing it. Watching pros can definitely help.
Your homework is to watch one game of a pro match ONLY looking at their split-step and footwork!