In an earlier post we wrote about the general method for doing a biomechanical analysis of a squash stroke by breaking the stroke down into five phases and using seven biomechanical principles to analyze it. I also posted an example of an analysis of a squash forehand drive, and a video of a tennis forehand drive biomechanical analysis (similar but not identical ideas for analyzing a squash forehand).
I recently had the chance to video the strokes of the current world #1 Karim Darwish at the Premier Performance Squash training held July 10-19 at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. Along with Engy Kheirallah and Miguel Rodriguez we coached 20 adults and juniors using the Games Approach framework to introduce the players to Egyptian style attacking squash. In addition to on-court coaching we spent quite a bit of time reviewing video of both game play tactics and forehand and backhand basic strokes.
For the biomechanical video analysis, since we were using a Mac and not Dartfish on a PC, we made a Quicktime video clip of Karim’s and each campers strokes, and opened both clips at the same time side-by-side for easy comparison. Although I used the seven biomechanical principles to anlalyze the players strokes, it was very useful to be able to refer to Karim’s technique in each of the five key positions: ready position, backswing, force production, impact, and follow through.
In this video I walk slowly though an analysis of Karim’s basic backhand straight drive off an easy ball in the mid-court (note that you need to specify the exact shot being analyzed since technique differs depending on the situation) using the seven biomechanical principles. The most notable aspect of his backhand stroke is the extreme “blocking” action of the left arm during the follow through, compared to most of his peers. The purpose of the blocking action is to slow rotation of the body (as in a figure skater opening out of a spin), which will help keep his hitting zone longer and shoulders turned for a fraction of a second longer. Most players will do this on precision shots such as the straight drop or straight volley drop, but Karim does it while hitting with power as obviously his racquet speed is sufficient – he does it much less on his cross-court drives. Stay tuned for an analysis of his forehand stroke.