Cheating the back corners
I’m a bit of stickler when it comes to movement and I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to ghosting and movement training. Whilst you’ll end up in all sorts of unplanned positions in a game, I like to always strive for perfection. However, when you are in a bad position you still have to be able to play a good quality shot or you won’t last a single rally.
When you are in a bad position, one of the best things you can do is to use the ‘wrong’ leg. By the term ‘wrong’ leg, I mean the leg which you won’t see used in the text book on how to play squash. On the right hand side of the court, the ‘wrong’ leg would be the right leg and on the left hand side, the ‘wrong leg’ would be the left leg.
Anyone who has had coaching will be familiar with the idea of using the left leg on the right hand side and the right leg on the left hand side to maintain a position facing the side wall and stay balanced.
This shouldn’t be treated as dogma though. If you watch any high level squash you’ll see all sorts of leg positions being used for different shots and this should be encouraged and practiced. It can be a quicker option and even a necessity in the heat of a match.
It’s in the back corner though that I find the ‘wrong’ leg is most useful. Inevitably, you’ll find the ball getting past you on occasion and you’ll have to hit it when it’s behind you to stay in the rally. It’s not ideal but you have to make the best of this bad situation. The best thing you can do at this point is to lead with the wrong leg. By doing this, you can shift your weight so that it is behind the ball again, which will give you a decent amount of energy to transfer through the ball when you strike it and you’ll consequently have more options and won’t have to resort to flicking the ball back with your wrist. If you try to lead with the ‘correct’ leg, the right leg on the left hand side and left leg on the right hand side, you’ll find yourself having to really flick the ball with your wrist, which is rarely consistently reliable or accurate.
When you are in a bad position, one of the best things you can do is to use the ‘wrong’ leg. By the term ‘wrong’ leg, I mean the leg which you won’t see used in the text book on how to play squash. On the right hand side of the court, the ‘wrong’ leg would be the right leg and on the left hand side, the ‘wrong leg’ would be the left leg.”
It will feel very weird at first if you’re not used to doing it but you should practice it regularly as part of ghosting and hitting drills or match play. One easy game you can do to practice this is to play all to length on one side of the court with a partner and just practice using the wrong leg so it starts to feel a bit more normal. Equally, when you do ghosting or movement practice, practice leading with both feet and also with the feet together.
Dealing with shots in the back corner is always a mountain for any improving player, so get out there and take the first step by using the wrong foot! You can also find more tips about dealing with shots in the back corner using your racket face and spin in the post ‘How to deal with back corner shots in squash’.