05 November 2010


If I am not wrong, it was Jonathon Power who introduced into the world of squash the COMPACT BACKSWING: a racket preparation that is always similar, if not the same, regardless the type of shot that will 'come out' of the racket. The main difference to the traditional backswing consists in the distance of the elbow to the hip: whereas with the conventional backswing the elbow is raised almost to the heights of the shoulders, with the 'JP' backswing the elbow remains very close to the hip (the difference is more evident on the forehand side and less on the backhand). The other main difference between 'old' and 'new' schools of hitting the ball is the way you use your body's momentum for the shot. The traditional backswing is generally accompanied by a wavy turn of the body - this, as a positive effect, gives pace to the shot, but will also make your shot selection more readable, as you will turn differently for a drive, a cross-court or a drop. This is why the 'new' backswing uses somewhat less the momentum of the body and more the flick of the wrist. There will be less pace in the ball, but a lot more hold and deception. Of course, on high standards, players are capable of mixing the two type of swings, but let's get back to this in a later post. In the below video, Karim Darwish - the player with the most compact racket preparation on the tour - shows how to prepare your shot when you receive a very loose ball in the front around the middle of the court. It's pretty straight forward: 1) you get a loose ball, so you have time to prepare your shot, but also your opponent to observe your preparation, therefore you need deception 2) reduce your backswing as much as you can. 3) hold your shot 4) show the straight drop, play the cross-court or show the cross-court (body turning in advance) and play the straight drop 5) play straight drives rarely in this situation, as your opponent will follow up for the straight drop and cover that side.