What is it?
The drop shot is a soft shot that lands at the front of the court. It is considered an attacking shot with players often looking to use it to finish off rallies.
Why do we use it?
We use it to hit winners at the front and to manoeuvre the ball around the court to make our opponents have to cover as much ground as possible, forcing them to move from the back to the front of the court and vice-versa.
The standard straight drop can be played in two different ways – firstly where you look to run the ball along the side wall, and secondly where you aim for nick. Running the ball along the side wall is considered the safer bet as it gives you more margin for error – while shooting straight for the nick may give you a greater chance of an outright winner, there’s always a chance the ball will pop up off the side wall and give your opponent an easy ball to hit.
Watch Jesse’s guide to both kinds of drop shot here.
Generally as a beginner, whichever kind of drop you pay you will want to consider shortening your swing up whilst developing your technique. You do however want to be careful not to telegraph your shot, and make it too obvious what shot you are about to hit.
The drop shot can be played from all areas of the court, however the further you get away from the front wall the trickier it becomes. It’s worth starting to practice it in front of the T and eventually moving back toward the back wall when you become more proficient and confident.
It’s also a shot that needs to be played with a positive and relaxed mindset. It requires touch and finesse which is hard to come by if you are edgy or nervous. It’s well worth spending some time watching the series of videos on mindset – squash is a game that takes you through a whole range of stresses and emotions, and understanding how to control them is crucial to becoming a better player.
You can watch the mindset series in full here.
How to practice
It’s worth taking the drop test and volley drop tests (forehand & backhand) using an A4 piece of paper as a target. This will help you focus on your target areas and give you the chance to monitor your improvement over time. These tests can be taken at the beginning or end of a session or even tagged on to a game.
In terms of practice, you can work on your drops in a solo practice, or as part of a pairs session focusing on drills and routines, or alternatively in a pairs sessions focusing more on condition games.
Additional useful content
Common Amateur faults and self-diagnosis
- Hitting the tin: If you find that you’re making a lot of mistakes on your drop and clipping tins, try giving yourself a slightly bigger margin on the front wall and focus more on getting the ball tighter to the side wall – aim your drops a little higher, but try and increase the cut you place on the ball so that it fades and sticks to the wall.
- Drops not staying short enough: If you find your drops are coming back too far on the court and not staying close enough to the front wall, work on softening the hand and working through the fingers more. The drop is very much a touch shot, so get on the court on your own for some solo practice and really work on feeling the ball on the strings.
- Opponent getting all your drops back: If you’re finding your opponents are reading your drops and getting them back too easily, think about whether or not you’re telegraphing your shot by coming in with your racket too low and obvious. You want to approach the ball in a position that gives you options, and raising the racket up gives you more potential shots while also increasing the doubt in your opponent’s mind as to what you’re going to play. Also, think tactically – generally you want to be hitting drops when you’re opponent is behind you, as this will make it harder for them to get ahead of you and reach the ball.
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