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Pre-season With SquashXtra: Gripped For Success


With the new squash season approaching, we’ve delved into the SquashXtra archives to bring you some of the best advice and tips to have graced our pages in the past few years to help you get into prime condition ahead of the new campaign.

From technique tips to injury advice, SquashXtra has you covered.

Begin by shaking hands with the racket and then look for a V in your hand – this is essential. The V (base of thumb and forefinger join) should line up with the inside edge of the shaft so that the racket face sits slightly open in a relaxed grip – you don’t want to grip it too softly or too strongly – with your hand slightly over the top of the grip.

2 – Forefinger Positioning

The position of the forefinger in relation to the thumb is a vital element and you want to have your forefinger outside (above) the thumb, not locked underneath in the ‘hammer’ grip – as this forces extra pressure on the forearm and elbow that can lead to injury over time. The forefinger and thumb take on the roll of providing most of the control in the shot so correct positioning and relaxation is vital for successful shot execution.

3 – Wrist Position

You want your wrist to be slightly cocked when holding the racket directly out in front, but remaining relaxed, not tense and stiff. The slight cock will help with keeping the racket face open during the swing (forehand side) and therefore aid with ball control. Don’t allow the wrist to ‘break’ during impact.

4 – Relax, Relax, Relax

Squeezing the racket for dear life is a mistake often made by the club player. You want your grip to be relaxed both to stop muscle fatigue and to allow for a smoother, fuller swing. Tensing slightly on impact will help with control but during the swing and follow through keeping as relaxed as possible will help your all round play.

High or Low:
One thing that you can do with this grip is alter where on the racket shaft you hold the grip – whether higher (like Nicol David pictured) or lower (like Nour El Sherbini pictured).

Moving your grip higher up the shaft lightens the racket head and is ideal for digging out those hard to get dives that die in the back. A higher grip shortens the swing radius, leading to a faster swing and greater ability to play wrist shots with increased feel.

Moving your grip lower down will help provide extra crushing power but will make the racket feel heavier and more awkward in tight positions. When you are in a commanding position and have time to take a full swing at the ball, a lower grip can help bury the ball in the graveyard at the back.

'Jonah Barrington Coaching Corner: The Squash Grip' as it appears in SquashXtra Issue 08

The new issue of SquashXtra is out now and you can find exclusive interviews with the likes of Ramy Ashour and Nouran Gohar, coaching tips from the legendary Jonah Barrington, comprehensive ball reviews, a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes at SQUASHTV and much, much more.

You can find SquashXtra at your local club or you can download it for free on your mobile device via Google Play for Android and iTunes for IOS.

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