In this post on squash basics we explain the correct way to hold your racket so that you can hit straight drives, cross courts, drops, lobs, whatever you want, on both the forehand and backhand sides.
How you hold a squash racket is the most important part of your game. Yes, even more important than your footwork or what racket you are playing with. Your main task in squash is to hit the ball with measured power and control. If you don’t grip your racket properly, you wont be doing that very well, like ever.
The correct way to hold a squash racket
Hold with thumb and index
Hold the racket with your thumb and index finger from the wider sides of the handle, such that you can see some of the strings and the racket edge. This way, the face of the racket will always be slightly open and shot will be hit upwards instead of into the floor.
The racket is light so you should be able to do this easily. The feeling is similar to as holding a chef knife correctly; with your thumb and index holding the blade itself.
Curl the rest of the fingers
Now curl the rest of your fingers around the handle and place them beneath your thumb. This will result in a small gap between your index finger and the others.
The key here is to hold the racket using your fingers and not your palm. This makes the racket feel much lighter in your hand and provides maneuverability. While the overall grip should be gentle and firm, its better to keep the thumb and index finger tighter.
Hold racket handle with fingers and not with palm
Digging the handle into the center of your palm will only cause your swing to get jammed. Keep the handle closer to your fingers.
Relaxed Wrist and Forearm
Back in the day, during the Jahangir Khan era, we were taught to keep our wrist cocked upright for that snappy movement when striking the ball. You can still do that if comfortable. However the technique has evolved for the faster game, and the wrist is to be relaxed. Because we want that whipping effect on the ball, allow your wrist to move freely. The muscles in your forearm will engage automatically when you are striking the ball. Unless you’re playing a shot, keep that arm relaxed. This also helps conserve energy.
Congratulations, you now know how to hold a squash racket. Continue reading for more racket handling tips.
Keep your squash racket up
When you are waiting to hit your next shot, keep your racket head above your shoulder. This should be made part of your stance whether you are playing forehand or backhand. When standing at the T, watching your opponent return the ball, keep your racket up in front of you, ready to pounce on the ball with a volley.
Keeping your racket up saves a lot of “swing preparation time”. When novices are first starting out, we see them winding up their shot when the ball is getting past them, causing either a late hit or total miss. From that high up position, your racket comes down with gravity in addition to your arm speed, giving a more comfortable and powerful swing. Next time you practice your straight drives, keep the mantra in mind: Racket Head Behind the Head!
Practice the Grip
You are probably doing this as you read this article. Still, whenever you get a chance, grab your squash racket with the grip and get comfortable with it. Swing it around without hitting the ball or your furniture.
Hold racket with the other hand when not hitting
We often see tennis players holding the racket with their non-playing hand between rallies. This gives your playing hand a break and helps prevent the gradually occurring tennis elbow injury. It also extends the life and traction of the grip which continuously absorbs sweat during play.