How can I get more power in my squash shots?
For a long time, there was a misconception that a player has to be physically built and muscular in order to have a powerful shot in squash. In 2014, 34 years old Cameron Piley from Yamba, Australia, busted this myth when he, an averagely built, almost-lanky player, hit a 176 mph shot, becoming the world record holder for the most powerful shot in squash. This feat demonstrated that generating powerful shots doesn’t depend on how muscular a player is but how technical and skillful they are.
Factors that contribute to generating powerful squash shots
- A good racquet: There are different types of racquets, and some can generate more power than others due to their weight, shape, string pattern, and frame. A lightweight racquet can increase speed but doesn’t produce as significant a force on impact. This is why an excellent medium-weight racquet is often preferable. A teardrop-shaped racquet also contributes to inducing power because of its long main strings.
- Style of swing: Swing technique is vital yet challenging because it is not a one-size-fits-all. Every player has a unique style of swing that they have acquired over years of playing squash. Each player has to train continuously and fine-tune their swing style until they can generate more power when they hit the ball. They can do this by practicing a lot and watching videos of professional players to incorporate techniques from the pros into their style.
- Body position: To hit the ball hard, a player has to anticipate and ready themself by maintaining a sturdy body position, such that their back is straight, with a broadened shoulder. A hunkered body or shoulder can hinder the arm from taking a sufficient swing hit at the ball.
- Timing: Precision is of utmost importance if a player wants to get the force released from their body and racquet to the ball. Slightly mishitting the ball may be detrimental to the power exerted, causing the ball to lose some velocity. Hitting the ball solely with your arm and shoulder may eventually cause the shoulder to hurt. The release of the ball should be smooth, not rigid and excessively controlled.
- Follow-through: This is one aspect that most squash players tend to ignore quite often. Most players fail to realize that the point of impact is not the end of a powerful spring. It is important not to pull back after hitting the ball; instead, have a full follow-through and use the momentum to retreat to the T position. This move will help to maximize efficiency and conserve energy.
Hitting powerful shots is an effective and proven strategy in winning a squash match, as it helps keep the opponent under constant pressure. However, it is vital to know when to take powerful shots and when to refrain; else, it may end up causing more harm than good. A player should put more effort into practicing their shots than trying to build muscles with the hope of having to take powerful shots due to muscular strength.
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