“The Squash Shot” By Graeme Foster


I recently read an article before the French Open that explained a new shot developed on the Tour. How many times to you see Federer way out of court on the forehand side change to a continental grip or reverse backhand grip and cut down heavily on the ball like a “squash shot” to keep the ball in play. If watching on tv Federer is sometimes out of screen and you think the point is over only to see the ball come sailing back in play.  I have even seen Fed hit winners off this shot! It is everything contrary to what you learn in your lessons-hit the ball early, out in front. Sometimes this is just not possible and you need to be willing to invent new shots to keep in the point. You cant always be in the perfect position to replicate that forehand topspin stroke you have practiced thousands of times. Like any other shot it does take practice and the slice forehand is not a shot a lot of pros teach or students perform, unless of course you are over the age of 40. This shot is a big part of my game! When attempting this shot you must commit early as there is a grip change involved and be prepared to cut sharply down on the ball to impart lots of slice, this will slow the ball down through the air and help it to drop in the court. Your target should be cross court so you have the biggest target and plenty of margin for error.


Another Variation: Slice Backhand If you look at Nadal who has a penetrating backhand and whenever possible will step in and crunch the two hander, he also uses his slice backhand very effectively.If the opponents ball is too heavy to the Nadal backhand and he realises early he will not be able to get set and drive the ball he will change to a continental grip and slice the backhand back into court allowing more time for recovery and variation of the rally. He uses it effectively to slice to a right handers backhand down the line and also short crosscourt.  All juniors who learn the two handed backhand should learn the slice backhand early in their development as this can be a very effective shot. It will also help them with their backhand volley which can be difficult for players who generally use two hands for the backhand drive. The number one priority in the game is to keep the ball in play and these two shots with some practice will help you do just that.

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