Why Shadow Swinging Is Perfect For Improving Your Strength AND Technique

Shadow Swinging is the process of swinging a racket without the ball. In the same way that ghosting is playing squash without an opponent.

02 October 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗

Both Ghosting and Shadow Swinging allow you to improve your fitness/strength and improve your technique. When you sue a ball on court, your mind immediately jumps to the the outcome: how cleanly you make contact with the ball and where it goes. Correct technique is often sacrificed to ensure a better shot – at least in the short term. Anybody who has tried to improve their swing technique will know that often you seem to get worse before you get better. Not always, but often.

By swinging without the ball, the outcome has been completely removed and your focus is on the process, i.e. the swing itself. The number of repetition that can be performed in a set time increases without the ball, so you can actually spend less time improving your swing faster! Almost sounds too. good to be true, but it’s not. There are three aspects I want to tell you about to ensure you perform Shadow Swinging with the maximum benefit.

Use A Mirror

Even players who have never been coached, unconsciously know what a proper swing looks like. Especially if you have watched pros play, either live or via YouTube. But unless you can see your whole swing yourself, that unconscious knowledge is useless. By using a mirror you will be able to see your swing and make small adjustments. Don’t be afraid to try different angles and different preparation positions.

I find a glass back wall is perfect, but that requires you to be at a facility. A large window also works very well, especially if the other side is dark, so for example, it’s night time and you are in the room with the light on. In my opinion you need a full-size view to really benefit, but if you have no other option, then a front facing selfie camera on your phone might be okay.

Do It Slowly – At First

Shadow Swinging is NOT about swinging fast. Improvement doesn’t come that way. To ensure you have good technique you need to do it slowly. There is no point is swinging quickly if you have a bad swing. Start slowly and when you get better over time, increase the speed.

Contract Your Muscles

Once you feel that your swing is close to what it should be, start contracting all the muscles used in the swing – but no others. For example, there’s no need to contract your leg muscles. By contracting your muscles as you swing, you are reinforcing the signals to the brain about which muscles should be used. It feels a little strange at first, but it really does help. This is one reason why you shouldn’t be swinging fast when you do this exercise.

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Which Swings?

Definitely the drives on both sides, the volley blocks are also good to do. I also highly recommend the high backhand volley to recreate a service return. Honestly, you can do ANY shot that you feel you need to improve the technique of. Start with focusing on your technique. Swing for 1 minute for each sot you want to work on. Swing very slowly and make sure the swing is a good one. Do this every day for 10 days, then begin to contract your muscles as you swing. Do that for another 10 days or so. Patience is required for this to bring benefits. Finally, when you feel you have good technique, you can start to swing faster.

What About Fitness And Strength Then?

As you sit here reading this article, you probably think it sounds easy. And you are right, it does “sound” easy – but it’s not. Twenty high backhand volleys swings is quite hard work. I am sure you will be surprised at how tiring that is. Especially if you are contracting your muscles. This can easily turn into a 15 minute tough workout for days when you can’t get to the court or gym.

Final Thoughts

Like many ideas I write about here, very few will follow the instructions properly or for the full length required, but those that do will definitely improve tier swing, which will translate into better squash. My task is to show you “how” to improve. Your task is to do the work.

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I know the sound isn’t great and I plan to make an updated version soon.



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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