When it comes to Squash and almost every other racquet sport, there’s one topic that remains hotly debated by virtually every top professional coach on the planet- how to grip the racquet correctly.
If you’re a beginner to Squash, you might be excused for thinking, isn’t there only one way to grip the racquet correctly? Well, depending on who you ask, the answer is almost invariably no.
So in this article, it’s our chance to answer a few important questions about how to grip a squash racket correctly. But first, let’s take a quick look at the history and evolution of Squash racquets and their impacts on modern-day techniques.
A Brief History Of Squash Racquets
Squash racquets share a similar history to tennis racquets, and in the early days of both sports, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference; obviously, things have drastically changed since then.
Technology has grown leaps and bounds over the last 100 years and has bought a wide variety of innovations to the world of Squash and, in particular, the racquet. One of the most significant changes technology brought was new materials.
Squash racquets of the old days were exclusively made from wood. The racquet head was tiny, and the handles were long; the reason for this was quite simple; wood was just unable to support a larger head and shorter handle. Some manufacturers played around with the idea but quickly noticed the racquets “cracked” or “broke.”
For the next 50-60 years, nothing much changed at all until the introduction of aluminum. Aluminum is an incredibly light and durable metal which made it perfect for the production scale of squash racquets. But as with most things, there’s always a downside.
The racquets were stiff and had little to no flex at all, but that aside overall, the racquets were vastly superior to their wooden predecessors.
They were lighter, they offered more speed, and added extra power for the player. The heads were larger than the wooden ones of years gone by, making it easier to hit the sweet spot; the bigger head also meant the racquets were more forgiving when mishitting.
The racquets being used today have evolved even further thanks to the rise of technology. Most are made from materials such as carbon, graphite, titanium, and even a composite of all three.
These racquets are super light, durable, and affordable to manufacture; they offer the modern-day player unprecedented power and comfort at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
How to Grip a Squash Racket
As mentioned earlier, no topic is more hotly debated in the world of Squash than the grip.
Benefits of a Correct Grip
Having the correct grip allows you to:
- Create power easily
- Switch quickly and mistake-free between forehand and backhand
- Control the ball better and
- Provide you with more options regarding shot selection
However, choosing the correct grip is not as simple as picking up a textbook and being on your way. 99% of the time, textbooks authored by governing bodies or associations overlook some pretty essential factors when it comes to choosing the right group for you.
We’ve all been down the YouTube rabbit hole, and going down the grip rabbit hole would be easy too.
So instead of going down that rabbit hole, I’ll detail a grip that’s widely accepted as an excellent grip to get started. But remember, your game style, personality, body type, and skill level all come into play when selecting the correct grip.
To Grip Or Not to Grip
Generally speaking, most newcomers to Squash grip the racquet like they would a tennis racquet, and while it’s ok for a while, over the long run, it’s going to lead to trouble.
The primary difference is the finger. The squash finger isn’t flat on the handle, nor does it sit tight.
Controlling the squash racquet head requires the thumb and forefinger to do most of the work. The butt of the racquet should rest in your hands, with the other three available fingers helping to support the grip.
Just below your hand near your little finger, you’ll find a fleshy area; this is precisely where the butt of the racquet should sit. The bottom part of “V” needs to be adjusted, so it sits in line with the inside of the neck of the racquet. This way, you should find your hand sitting slightly “on top” of the grip.
Your index finger or “trigger finger” needs to be spaced away from your other three fingers to allow adequate control of the racquet head. This increased control gives you much more confidence in knowing exactly where you’re hitting the ball.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see players of all levels make, particularly beginners, is that they grip the racket too tightly. To overcome this, here’s a tip my coach taught me many moons ago. Think of the handle as a “baby bird”. This helps you grip the racquet softly and allows the racquet to do the work.
Final Words on How to Grip a Squash Racket
Learning to hold the grip correctly is fundamental to the continued improvement of your squash game. It’s the base, like building a house; if the foundation is weak, the house will fall.
The neutral grip is a grip you need to pay particular attention to as it’s fundamental in helping you switch “mistake-free” between the forehand and backhand side. The grip also opens up several different options for shot selection which is a great skill to have up your sleeve; the more shots you can play, the more you can stay out of trouble.
The message I want to leave is this- don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to your grip; use a grip you find comfortable no matter how strange it may look to others.
Many of the greatest racquet players have been known to use grips, and techniques are far from “textbook,” but as long as you can repeat the same stroke, then that’s the true definition of a grip that works for you.