Pre-season With SquashXtra: Master the Forehand Volley Drop with Nick Matthew
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.
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Nick Matthew is a three-time World Champion, two-time Commonwealth Games Gold medal winner and the most successful British squash player of all time. Known most for his physical strength and unrelenting determination, ‘The Wolf’ is one of the toughest competitors on the PSA World Tour and recently became the oldest man ever to win a PSA World Series event. But along side his physical prowess Matthew is also a clinical exponent of counter-attacking squash and he utilises one weapon more than any other against his opponents with devastating effect:
The 34-year-old from Sheffield is a tireless combatant who has won almost every title there is in the squash arena. A physical powerhouse, Matthew’s tenacity has seen him win countless titles against opponents who he has openly said are more talented with the racket than he, but his forehand volley drop is a shot recognised throughout the tour as one of the most clinical around.
We got the three-time World Champion to take time out from his schedule to talk us through the technique he uses to make this one of the most deadly shots on the PSA World Tour and he emphasises the importance of the three P’s – preparation, preparation and preparation.
1 PREPARATION: FOOTWORK
To take the ball early and therefore take time away from your opponent, you want to be quick off the mark. Your first step should be diagonally across the space towards the front corner – if you don’t prepare your feet the ball will be past you before you’ve got a chance to attack. It doesn’t matter if you take the shot on your right leg or left leg, position yourself in the most comfortable way for you.
2 PREPARATION: MIND
In order to get your feet in the right position to attack, you need to be aware of what your opponent is doing and speed of mind to see the ball clearly and early is vital.
Nick Matthew takes on Gregory Gaultier in the 2013 World Championship final
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3 PREPARATION: RACKET
Preparation of your racket is vital. You don’t want the racket tight in to your body, instead you want to have your racket up and fully extended nice and early in the movement so that you can move into the path of the ball. You aren’t trying to use any deception in this shot, you just want to get onto the ball as early as possible.
Take the ball as high in the ball’s path as possible. Keep the racket face open, but not too flat, and your fingers relaxed on the grip. You want to keep your back foot as close to the T as possible so you are always trying to control that middle ground and maintain your centre of gravity.
When hitting this shot you aren’t trying to recoil back to the T too quickly. You really want to try and finish the shot with the racket head nice and low and with your fingers relaxed to generate that extra yard of space and hold that position to ensure you don’t lose balance.
'Signature Shots - Nick Matthew: Forehand Volley Drop' as it appears in SquashXtra Issue 05
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.
The PSA World Tour's biggest-ever season is just around the corner with more than 450 live games on SQUASHTV. To celebrate we’re offering you a great deal – 50% off your first three months’ SQUASHTV subscription. Just use code 50for3 FINDOUTMORE