The squash drop shot – some of us are naturally gifted with an ability to play drop shots. Others, like me, simply can’t play a good drop shot for love nor money!
If you’re a bit like me and you can’t drop and so often won’t drop then this article might just help you. No promises though because after all the drop shot is classified as an advanced shot in the wonderful game of squash.
Prepare Like a Straight Drive
You should prepare for the drop shot in exactly the same way as you would for a straight drive. So same positioning of your feet and the same positioning of your racket.
In terms of your body’s position, your chest should be facing the side wall, with your front shoulder pointing in the direction of the shot.
If you can find a willing partner to practice with then a great way to practice this is to get your partner to feed balls to the front of the court. After each feed you simply play a straight drive to the back of the court. Your partner then occasionally and somewhat randomly shouts out for you to play a drop shot.
This should get you into the habit of preparing for a straight drive regardless of whether you ultimately play a drop or a straight drive.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like almost anything else in life, the more you practice the better you are likely to get. Repetition is very important with the drop shot. Playing drop shots over and over again will improve your feel and touch of the shot.
If you have access to a ball machine, then make use of it. Load it up with balls and set it up to feed you balls at the front of the court. Don’t cheat or get lazy – meaning try and recover back to the T after each drop shot you play.
No ball machine? Then ask a friend to feed you balls from the back of the court. No willing friend then feed yourself by playing a loose boast.
This photo shows a friend of mine and one of the top squash coaches in the world – David Heath playing a drop shot.
Measure Your Progress
A useful exercise to measure your progress and determine if you’re actually improving at the squash drop shot is to place a piece of paper or cardboard next to the nick where you would normally aim for when playing a drop. The paper or cardboard is going to act as your target.
Set yourself a time limit, say two minutes and then feed the ball to yourself. Play a drop from the feed and quickly keep repeating the process. Count how many times you can hit the target within the two minutes.
Once you’re happy that you are regularly hitting the target mix the exercise up a bit by feeding a volley to yourself and playing a volley drop into the target. Measure your abilities and improvements on both the forehand and backhand sides of the court.
The Forehand Squash Drop Shot
Generally, with the forehand drop shot you should have the racket, on preparation, slightly higher than what you would have for the backhand drop shot. Keep the racket face quite open and then with your follow through let the racket head almost direct the ball to the target.
Try playing the forehand drop with both a traditional closed stance (the opposite leg to your racket leading) and an open stance (your racket leg leading).
The Backhand Squash Drop Shot
The backhand drop shot is generally slightly easier than the forehand.
Go into the drop shot with the racket slightly high and have quite a loose grip on your racket if you can. You need your racket to have an open face. Come down on the ball and allow the follow through to guide the ball towards the target.
The Counter Drop
With the counter drop you still need your racket with a good open face and then you want to (almost gently) direct the ball towards the front wall at an angle aiming for the sidewall nick.
If you need that extra bit of lift to guide the ball above the tin, then lift the head of your racket to do just that.
The Long Backhand Squash Drop Shot
This is an incredibly difficult shot to play, so only play it if you have the confidence to pull it off.
Played correctly it can often result in a point winning moment or at a minimum it should put you in complete control of the rally.
You should still prepare as if you were playing a long ball then you need to keep your upper body as still as you possibly can. For the backhand long drop. Slice through the ball a little, keeping your knuckles facing upwards.
Practice this shot a lot before bringing it into your game. A shot into the tin from the back of the court will only make you look and feel a bit silly!
The Backhand Volley Squash Drop Shot
This is another incredibly difficult shot, so once again, make sure you have practiced it and that you are comfortable playing it. Also, make sure that the opportunity is right to play the volley drop. You want the ball to be at a height that you can comfortably reach and you obviously don’t want the ball too tight to the side wall.
Prepare your racket early and ensure that your front foot is firmly planted before you play the ball. Your shoulder should be parallel to the side wall as you play the shot. Keep the face of the racket open and with quite a short swing let your racket follow through guide towards your target.
The Forehand Volley Squash Drop Shot
As with all the other drop shots it’s very important to play this shot with an open faced racket. The open face is required to give you some cut on the ball.
As with the backhand volley drop make sure that the opportunity is right to play the shot. You should be in a comfortable position to play it and the ball shouldn’t be too high or too tight to the side wall.
Try to use a short swing as this should reduce your chances of missing your target. Also, try and take the ball as early as you can. Taking the ball early will add pressure to your opponent.
Squash Drop Shot Deception
If you have time, then the front of the court is a great place for deception. Approach the ball with your racket slightly raised and at a 45-degree angle, play the ball with a not quite full swing and cut under the ball to play a drop that looks like it could be a straight drive.
Alternatively approach the ball with a much shorter swing and reach out towards the ball with your elbow leading as much as you possibly can. Try to make it look as if your only option is a drop shot then use your forearm and your wrist if you are able to get enough power to play a straight or cross-court drive.
I play squash just for fitness and for fun and I have done for 25+ years now. Love the game. My other passion is software development, which I’ve been doing for 35+ years. My club had a booking system which kept failing, it was slow and didn’t additionally manage all of our clubs members. So, I set about writing my own court booking system.
Please take a look by checking out the PlanIt-BookIt home page. There’s even a fully working demo that you can try out. I’d love any feedback you could provide me. Does your club have a system? How does mine compare? What do you like / dislike about your existing system? What do you like / dislike about PlanIt-BookIt.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks.. Martin Gilliard