Biomechanical Analysis of the Squash Forehand Drive

In a previous post we discussed the importance of analyzing squash technique according to generally accepted principles of biomechanics, in addition to utilizing our experience as squash players and coaches.  We posted the Coaching Association of Canada’s Seven Biomechanical Principles, and thanks to Google, I found this document a few minutes ago, that presents the seven principles in a bit more detail:  biomechanical_principles_and_applications

In addition to teaching biomechanics to hundreds of Canadian Coaches (of all sports) as part of Level 2 and 3 Coaching Theory courses, I also teach biomechanics to undergraduate Smith College students in my Introduction to Exercise & Sport Studies course.  Here is a squash example of the assignment for the biomechanics part of the course:  biomechanicssquashforehand .

In the example, the squash forehand drive is 1) broken down in to five phases; 2) key elements are identified for each of the five phases; 3) biomechanical principles associated with the key elements are identified.

Theoretically, each coach should complete this exercise for each stroke that they teach, so that their analysis and corrections have a solid scientific foundation.

Here is a great video of a coach (tennis) using biomechanical principles to analyze a forehand drive (tennis) – totally applicable to squash!  The coach discusses three sources of power for the forehand drive, including open and closed stance in the discussion (just as we do in squash).  Two of the three are less relevant sources of power for the squash drive, although they do make a contribution – can you guess which is the most important for squash? (Hint: a) we do not stand up after hitting the squash ball, we stay low, push back and recover; b) our light racquet and ball contribute less to linear momentum (i.e., weight moving forward), and in squash we usually do not have sufficient time to move our weight completely forward through a shot as they do in tennis (as we would never get back to the “T” in time).

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