The way you hold your Squash racquet could be the crucial in winning a game of Squash, whether it is a recreational game with friends or an inter-Squash league games.
In this blog post, Dominique Chiquet, a motor skills expert and Squash coach shares his wisdom on how to adopt a style of gripping your racquet for a better performance:
Squash grip tip 1: Where to grip the squash racquet
There is no right or wrong, it depends on your preference.
Advantages of holding the squash grip lower towards the end of the squash racquet.
You will have more reach with the squash racquet. You will get more power due to the increased advantage. However, because the squash racquet feels heavier it might be difficult to get it ready in time if you are under pressure; with little time to prepare the squash racquet. It is most effective if you have time to take a full squash swing.
Advantages of holding the grip higher up towards the squash racquet head (choke up)
You will get more control, especially for drop shots. The higher grip facilitates squash racquet handling. You will be faster to prepare your squash racquet.
Because of the decreased leverage (=racquet feels lighter), you will be able to manoeuvre the racquet head faster & more comfortably (=shorter swing radius). This is ideal for a quick volley and digging out those hard to get deep back wall shots and hitting shots in the middle of the squash court under time constraint.
- Key Tip: The best titanium or graphite squash racquets will never improve your wrist or power game unless you know how to do it yourself. Book in a squash lesson with the local pro who can show you how!
Squash Grip Tip 2: How to hold the racquet
Because of the speed and great precision needed for the game of squash, it is very important to have good squash technique. Important squash advice, technique starts with the correct grip of the squash racket!! Without a proper squash grip, a good squash swing/shot will be difficult to achieve.
Though unconventional squash grips can be successful in certain cases, there is no need to handicap yourself. If you are just starting out, this is a perfect time to learn the proper grip (and squash stroke).
- Key Tip: It is much more difficult to switch back once you have developed bad habits.
It might be frustrating at first, try to focus on obtaining this fundamental skill. It is extremely important to master the correct squash grip early on, otherwise you will be stroking the ball incorrectly and find it very difficult to play the entire range of shots with ease.
Furthermore, your game will suffer for several months as you try and fix your squash grip after developing bad habits. Instinct would tell you to grip the squash racquet with a clenched fist. However, with that type of squash grip, the squash racquet has no control in the fore-aft and side-to-side motion.
- Key Tip: there is not one correct squash grip but what I believe a range of good squash grips. The vast majority of top squash players hold the racquet anywhere between the bottom to top of the handle. The thumb and index finger come together to form a nice V shape around the squash grip. You want the index finger spread out a little bit, that is what gives you the control and feel over the squash racquet.
- Key Tip: you do not want the index finger too close which might give you a little more power but you will definitely lose control.
You can use your non-racquet hand to see whether you have the index finger of your racquet hand properly separated from its neighbours. Simply place one – two fingers of your non-racquet hand in between the index finger and the middle finger of your racquet hand. When you push on the racquet head in fore-aft you should feel the racquet motion resisted by the extended index finger.
Similarly, when you push on the head in side-to-side direction you should feel the bottom palm of your hand resisting the motion. Hold the racquet with a nice firm grip, squash racquet head slightly open on the forehand and the backhand side by tilting the wrist.
- Key Tip: An open racquet face makes it easier to slice/cut shots and hit shots from behind your body. It also increases the chances that you can hit the ball to the back of the squash court.
- Key Tip: the squash grip remains the same for forehand and backhand strokes except in extreme situations. The speed of the squash game usually does not allow for squash grip changes. Keep the wrist firm when striking but not too tight to not cause tension in your hand or forearm.
- Key Tip: Holding the squash racquet with too tense a grip will greatly decrease the ability for fine coordination. One common mistake is that people bring their hand to the side of the squash racquet, which closes the racquet face too much.
Squash grip tip 3: Details to know about the grip
Contact point: The contact point is critical for a squash stroke and is dependent on your grip, especially on the backhand. E.g. if your squash grip is very open on the backhand, the contact point is further in front than with a closed squash grip Squash advice: as a coach, it is important to pay attention to how your student holds the squash racquet compared to yourself as the contact point may be different.
A slightly open grip is a good starting point. The squash grip should definitely be in a range that does not vary too much from a slightly open grip to enable you to play a full array of shots from all parts of the court. If you grip your squash racquet too tightly, the ability for fine coordination will become decreased.
Playing delicate shots like a drop shot will be more difficult with a tense grip. Squash advice: To have an open squash grip means you should see the squash strings of the racquet on the forehand side and on the backhand side. Tilt the wrist by rotating your forearm on both forehand and backhand to get a slightly open racquet face.
- Key Tip: Do not lay back your wrist or you will end up with a closed squash racquet face.
As the game moves from side to side very quickly, sometimes in the air, making a big change to the grip from forehand to backhand and vice versa – this is not recommended, plus your squash grip will unlikely end up in the ideal position under time constraint. Shifting it slightly however is very common squash players, shots like retrieving deep shots out of the back corners Squash advice: a correct grip makes it easier to play difficult shots.
Adapting a new squash grip
It is much easier to focus on your grip/swing if you are not under pressure. Spend some time hitting the ball by yourself up and down the wall to get a feel for the new grip. Even better, hold your racquet with the correct grip reading a book or other no pressure environments.
It is difficult enough to get a feel for the correct grip when the ball is in play. Practicing the correct grip in these no pressure situations will increase the correct muscle memory. Initially you will need to check for the correct squash grip after every rally. You will likely shift it back to your habitual grip you have been using so far. Then move onto low-pressure drills or matches focusing on maintaining the correct squash grip.
- Key Tip: you may find it difficult to hold the racquet tight with the new grip. Try adding over-grip(s) to increase the size of your squash grip to make it more comfortable adjusting to the new grip.
With Squash venues reopened a week ago; let us not forget It is important to always to change your Squash grip tape to prevent a risk of an infection.
In addition, if you don’t feel all the ready for returning back to the court, you could be practicing Squash drills outside against the wall or alternatively indoors but with a soft item as a ball.
Remember stay active by playing Squash, the world’s healthiest sport for health & social wellbeing – FACT!