Put it into practice: Taking the ball in straight and short with Jesse Engelbrecht

1st February 2021

We have SquashSkills own Jesse Engelbrecht back with a great new playlist for us, this time taking a look at taking the ball in straight and short. Jesse’s deep technical knowledge and excellent communication skills, mean his video series are always some of the most popular content we feature here on the site.

Taking the ball in straight and short isn’t just about the standard drop from the front of the court, it also encompasses the ‘stun’, the counter and the drop off the back wall. Learning to take the ball in short and accurately from different areas of the court, and under different pressures/circumstances, will go a long way to making you a much more effective player.

Something Jesse looks to reinforce frequently in this playlist is the value of keeping the ball tight and bouncing on those first couple of floorboards parallel to the sidewall. This enables you to really ‘lock your opponent down’, and force them to hit out from very uncomfortable positions. Too often players aim for that perfect winning drop that lands in the nick, with very little margin for error – getting that angle slightly wrong can lead to the ball clipping the sidewall and bouncing out towards the middle of the court, giving your opponent a much easier follow-up shot.

There are certain technical foundations that go along with understanding the tactical implementation of the shot, and Jesse goes into great depth on how best to control the racket head and impart the right amount of cut and spin on the ball. While there needs to be an element of creativity in your attacking game, there also a number of fundamental basics that need to be right first, to allow you to really put that squeeze on your opponent.

The aim of this blog is to give you some ideas of the best drills and practices you can use to start working on these primary foundations of taking the ball in straight and short, and help you become more confident and consistent in this area of your game. Once you start implementing some of the technical aspects that Jesse introduces, you’ll see immediate results in the effectiveness of your short game.

We’ve put together a selection of brand new solo and pairs sessions for you to try, built around these main technical points. Watch through the videos from the playlist and then click through the links to the integrated sessions below to check them out, and discover how developing a better understanding of the value of the straight short ball can really add an extra dimension to your game.


Put it into practice

boastSolo Session

This session contains a series of solo drills to practise on your own, to hone the fundamentals of taking the ball in straight and short.


Pairs Session

This session consists of a selection of pairs drills and conditioned games to practice, to help you work on the key points as discussed by Jesse in the playlists.


Fitness Session

This session works on front court movement, with a blend of steady and controlled movements combined with more explosive accelerations.


Related content

The process of taking the ball short with Hadrian Stiff

Hadrian and Jethro discuss play around the front of the court, talking the right technique for the drop, movement efficiency and linking the 2 together.


Pressure drills with Shaun Moxham

In this series, we learn a selection of drills Shaun uses to sharpen up his players’ response to pressure on court.


Let us know how you get on with the sessions, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Haven't seen the full series yet?

In this series, Jesse takes an in-depth look at taking the ball straight and short, in particular, the ability to get the ball from wall to floorboards as quickly as possible

Watch now