I had my doubts, but after (during a discussion of John White’s technique while watching a match video) I told my team that Geoff Hunt had tried to get John to cock his wrist with the correct grip with tape – my #3 Helen Queenan asked me to do it for her.
It is really difficult to change that floppy, uncocked wrist (cause by a “tennisy” forehand-like grip) on the backhand side, once it is ingrained. At Princeton Squash camps we had tried molded grips and taping hands – with mixed success. What did seem to work was identifying all of the “bad grip/bad wrist” kids on the first evening – then giving them a special “progressive grip education morning” while the rest of the camp trained according to our zone tactical model (“System 3”). Two things to note: often half of the camp had bad grips/wrists (shame on their first coach!), and except for our top coaches, our average “young coach” was not that adept at picking out grips that needed work (I always had 7-8 more on my list than they had on theirs).
BTW, Geoff gave up on John, hence his “loose” backhand drives and frequent use of angle in backhand front instead of straight drop (sorry John:) – I will back this up with a notational analysis of one of his matches in the coming weeks!
It is Helen’s first year on our team and she has played some in high school. I did not work with her on her grip in the fall, but we decided to give it a shot during our Smith College 3-week Interterm (no classes and two a day practices). Here is what we are doing with her:
- Supination/pronation forearm exercises (squash grip, holding a hammer) mostly to develop kinaesthetic awareness (versus strengthening). Reverse wrist curls – again to get her to be able to recognize her wrist position in space (since we rarely supinate with a cocked wrist during our daily activities).
- Two 20-minute private lessons – the first on the basic mid-court drive; for the second I had her hit 10-20 shots for each possible type of backhand: volleys, mid-court drops, front-court drops, defensive boast, mid-court working boast, etc.
- Solo work where she alternates hitting forehand and backhands since it is the grip “slippage” when she flattens the face by changing her grip slightly on the forehand which has created the problem (i.e., she will always show the the correct grip when asked, but it slips when she plays).
- Shadow swinging with correct form.
- Explanation that four things need to change when making a grip modification:
a) grip (and wrist of course)
b) distance from ball
c) impact point (front-back)
d) swing path
Hence my doubts about simply taping her hand to her grip. The tape of course could simply work as an “attentional device”, maintaining her attention on her technique. Anyway here she is trying it out – I will report back in a week or so with video of her playing in a match without the tape!
And here is a great simple explanation (with which I totally agree for the drives) from Ray from SquashGame.info!