This relates back to an earlier post about I made called an 'Advanced Approach to Basic Squash Drills.' Here I am going to give you some tips on how to improve one of the most common squash drills, boast drive. It is not only an effective drill to warm up, but you can work on a number of different things while you are doing this. I will list some areas that the boaster can concentrate on and some that the driver can work on.
- movement to and from the T (getting back to the T before the driver hits the ball - the lower and harder you hit the ball the more difficult this becomes)
- you can be aware of how your racquet is while you're on the T..is it to one side, up or down? which is best is for another discussion
- getting back to the T in a skip + 1 step, this is done by staying as far out of the corners as possible (if I can do it you can!)
- try and get your boast to stay as short as possible
- volley 2 wall boast
- changing your grip (down on the racquet) when you need a little more reach
- hitting a boast off of your non-dominant leg
- driving to yourself first if you can before boasting
- boasting off of a tight drive (I do this by opening my racquet face right open and slicing across the ball)
- work on your 2 wall boast
- have fun, go for some 3 wall boast nicks!
- make it competitive and play it as a game to 3 or 5
- make it even more challenging by having to touch the T with the butt of your racquet (yes, with your hand still on the grip) after each boast
- racquet preparation! my rule is you should be shaped up before you step into your shot
- vary your racquet preparation, try shortening your backswing on your forehand especially as this will make it easier to hit a drop or a drive
- bitt of different legs
- i like trying to hit very flat on an attacking drive, focus on flattening out the racquet head through impact
- take the ball early, as the ball is still coming up
- have a still backswing before you start your downswing
- spacing, try and imagine the service box line running right up to the front of the court and try and keep your back foot out behind this line at all times. If you can do this you should be able to get back to the middle with just one step. You may also not be getting your hips/butt down low enough if you are unable to do this.
- even though you are only hitting straight drives, imagine you are setting up for another shot (deception) and try and hit it straight, or imagine that you are set up identical to another shot you could hit. As Roger Flynn calls this 'coupling,' or disguising your intentions, having two or more shots from one set up.
- focus on squaring up your hips and shoulders, or pointing your toe to the side wall to get squared up to the side wall to hit your most consistent drives
- watch for the dots on the ball to make sure you are seeing the ball hit your strings and are keeping your head still
- try some deception, get onto the boast early and with your racquet ready and try to delay your shot
- focus on having a nice full swing, if you are getting too close you won't be able to do this
- use targets (real or imagined) for your drives
- and finally I love trying to get the angle of the drives right along the side wall (yes, like Shabana!). If you're drives or too short or too long, then you should focus on the depth or pace.
And last but not least, pick one! Don't think about too many things or you will overcomplicate your basic and warm up drill. But you can see from the list above why I like this drill and why I use it frequently in lessons, there is always something to concentrate on!