Finding your range.
Welcome to Part Four of a special series of blog posts on warming-up or knocking-up before a squash match. A thorough warm-up should not only touch upon your hitting but it should also get you warming-up mentally, get your movement up to scratch, sharpen your racket speed and skills and help you find you find your hitting targets.
This time we will be focusing on what makes up the entirety of most people’s warm-ups – hitting the ball. Never underestimate how important the knock-up can be in squash for your hitting. You want to start the match hitting your targets and playing good, accurate shots.
Range of shots
It’s important when you go on the court to knock-up that you don’t just hammer the ball or play the same shot. Most players will either knock-up by alternately smashing the ball down the line or by hitting first-time cross-courts back to each other. Neither of these is conducive to starting the game with a wide range of accurate shots, as neither helps you to practice a range of shots hit in different ways. Yes you need to warm the ball up but you also need to warm-up your hitting skills. Make sure that you play a variety of shots; you might play a lob, a drive and a kill and then cross-court to your opponent and then come forward and play a couple of long volleys to yourself before a short volley and cross-courting lobbing to your opponent. Rather than cross-courting every time, have a go at boasting to your opponent’s side and then playing a straight drive to them. Pack as many different shots into your knock-up as you can and you will start the game with a lot more verve.
If you are friendly with your opponent, you can get them to do a little drill rather than just solo hitting. A good one for this is Drive, Boast & Drop, Drive. In this drill, a player at the back plays a drive to themselves and then boasts to a player at the front who drops and then drives their own drop back to the player at the back. You can then swap ends and get to play several different shots from a variety of different positions.
As discussed in our other posts in this series, you don’t just want to whack the ball about aimlessly in the warm-up. Have a target in mind as you hit your shots. Perhaps you’ll aim for the serve line with your drives or be aiming for it to bounce twice right on the back wall or maybe you’ll be aiming to drop the ball into the nick. Whatever it is, have a goal in mind for each of your shots.
You can read more about tips for ways to hit the ball in the knock-up in ‘Getting in the Zone’.