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Squash Basics 3 – Better use of the Follow Through
Throughout this article I will refer a few times to a Youtube video of Nick Matthew vs Miguel Rodriguez for examples and coaching points. Check out the video here:
Moving on from looking at grip shape and racket head positioning over the last two weeks, we can now investigate how important the follow through is in maintaining our shot quality. In case you hadn’t heard the term before, the follow through is the final movement of our swing after we have struck the ball (the end of the swing.)
If we can put more thought and purpose into the direction that our follow through goes when we strike the ball, this will help us to better control the path of our shot. This applies to all the areas of the court, whether you are looking to take the ball in short, long, straight or crosscourt. The ball will follow the path of our racket when we hit it so concentration on where it ends up is vital. A great exponent of this area is Nick Matthew who utilises as much follow through on the shot as possible on every ball he hits. As a result his hitting is very clinical and purposeful. Take a look at the Youtube video linked in, some example areas:
The above examples are a variety of shots taking place from different areas of the court. A couple of them from very difficult body positions or when under pressure. By concentrating on where his swing finishes up (in addition to some very strong balance and stability on the ball), Nick manages to keep an excellent amount of control on the ball, regardless of where he is looking to hit.
The other thing to note with more focused use of the follow through is how it benefits movement and recovery after we strike the ball and move off. Going back to the video, note how the exaggeration of the swing helps bring Nick back to the “T Zone” from a difficult and under pressure situation. This linking of the swing and movement makes him very difficult to break down. A couple of great examples of this are:
Both of these occasions above really highlight how well Nick uses the follow through of his shot to help bring his body weight and momentum back to the “T Zone” and the center of the court, allowing him to be completely recovered and back in the rally with minimal effort. When you do movement exercises such as ghosting, or are just doing some practice routines with a partner, try and link your swing and movement in together. You will get to feel how much smoother and more flowing it makes your game.
As you can see then, the follow through is another key area of the game that can really benefit our shot accuracy and consistency if we can use it well. This is best practiced through repeat solo shot practice. Try and get the feel of using your swing differently for different shots, exaggerating the finish to better direct the ball. This also links in well to the previous articles on grip and racket face position, as you will find it difficult to best use your swing if you haven’t got those other key areas working well!
Read Mike’s previous squash coaching tips:
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