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Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.

HUMAN KINETICS

Excerpts

Mastering the kill shot in squash

By Phillip Yarrow and Aidan Harrison


Volley Kill

Killing the ball on the volley is often easier because you can take the ball from higher in the air than you can after it bounces. You can hit volley kills from anywhere on the court, but again, the farther back in the court you are, the greater the risk. You can hit a volley kill straight or crosscourt.

Often, players use the straight volley kill to intercept an opponent’s crosscourt. This is especially effective on a crosscourt from the back because you will then send your opponent diagonally to the opposite corner. The straight volley kill is often hit as a reflex shot off an opponent’s loose drive, so quick preparation is essential to have any hope of consistently hitting a winner. The faster the ball comes at you, the shorter the required swing. Off an opponent’s hard shot, take a short backswing (figure a) and punch the ball into the front corner. Keep the wrist firm and the racket face open so that you slice the ball (figure b). If your opponent’s shot has less pace, you’ll need a larger backswing and a faster swing-through to generate some pace on the shot. If you have to reach up for the shot, you’ll need to loosen your wrist slightly so that you can bring the ball down. Yet you must still try to control the racket face as you swing through.

Volley Kill Preparation

1. Prepare racket early

2. Use short, punchy swing

3. Keep racket face open

Execution

1. Hit with slice

2. Control racket face



 

Misstep

Your kill shots bounce up too much.

Correction

Hit your shot with more slice so that the ball dies more quickly after hitting the front wall. Open your racket face more, and think about cutting down the back of the ball.

The crosscourt volley kill is usually played from head height or above, usually off a loose shot in the midcourt area. The crosscourt volley kill can be a particularly effective way to attack a bad serve. Again, hit the shot with plenty of slice. The wrist needs to be slightly looser than it is for most other shots so that you can whip the racket face through quickly. Aim to hit the front wall and then the side-wall nick. If it misses the nick, the ball should at least hit the side wall before the floor so that it doesn’t bounce up too much.

Kill Shot Drill 1. Racket Feed for Kills

Stand on the T. Hit a soft, high feed that bounces about halfway between the front wall and the short line. Step forward and hit a straight kill. Your feed should be at least a couple of feet away from the side wall so that you can try to angle the ball toward the nick. Remember to hit the ball at the top of the bounce and to hit with plenty of slice. Hit 10 forehand kills and 10 backhand kills.

 

To Increase Difficulty

Stand farther back and hit kills from feeds that bounce in the service box.

Feed the ball higher and hit straight volley kills.

 

Success Check

Prepare the racket early and high.

Hit down the back of the ball.

Swing through quickly.

 

Score Your Success

5 to 10 forehand kills that hit the nick = 5 points

3 or 4 forehand kills that hit the nick = 3 points

1 or 2 forehand kills that hit the nick = 1 point

5 to 10 backhand kills that hit the nick = 5 points

3 or 4 backhand kills that hit the nick = 3 points

1 or 2 backhand kills that hit the nick = 1 point

Your score ___

 

Kill Shot Drill 2. Crosscourt Kills

Stand on the forehand side of the court about 8 feet (2.4 m) from the front wall and about 5 feet (1.5 m) from the side wall. Turn your body so that you face the opposite side wall. Hit a backhand shot high on the opposite side wall so that it rebounds off the front wall and bounces between you and the front wall. Turn your body toward the front wall, and prepare your racket for a forehand. As the ball reaches the top of the bounce, hit a forehand crosscourt kill. Aim your shot to hit the nick. If the ball doesn’t roll out of the nick, turn and try to feed again with the backhand without stopping. Repeat on the opposite side for backhand crosscourt kills. Hit 10 forehand kills and 10 backhand kills.

 

To Increase Difficulty

Hit the feeds harder and lower.

 

Success Check

Keep your wrist loose.

Angle the ball toward the nick.

Bend your knees as you swing.

 

Score Your Success

5 to 10 forehand kills that hit the nick = 5 points

3 or 4 forehand kills that hit the nick = 3 points

1 or 2 forehand kills that hit the nick = 1 point

5 to 10 backhand kills that hit the nick = 5 points

3 or 4 backhand kills that hit the nick = 3 points

1 or 2 backhand kills that hit the nick = 1 point

Your score ___

 

 

This is an excerpt from Squash: Steps to Success, Second Edition.



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