By Gareth Webber, Director of Squash, Squash Club Los Gatos Level IV Elite Coach, U.S. Squash National Team Coach
A great way to respond to “shot makers” and power players is by using the height on the front wall by playing a lob. This is an essential skill to have as it provides you the time to recover from being in a defensive situation into an attacking position.
Developing the lob requires a lot of practice, staying down low, having the racquet face underneath the ball, and finishing up high. Most great men and women players today, including Ramy Ashour, have all-round games where they will use the lob to defend and attack against their opponents. Drills and conditioned games are excellent ways to improve your lobs. Two drills that build on each other are “boast and cross court lob” and the “boast, cross lob, straight drive/volley.” In the first, player A hits the boast and B replies with a cross court lob; in the second, adding in the straight ball requires both players to move on court and take turns playing the different shots. From here you can work in a conditioned “above and beyond”” game where player A hits above the service line and beyond the half court line, while player B has no conditions and plays a regular game.
The lob is effective on most courts. Always check your court conditions to know if it will work for you.
Players at this level are introduced to the lob. It requires time and confidence to use this skill. They will begin learning to use the lob from the front corners. Work on using height by staying down low, opening up the racquet face and following through up high to give yourself time.
Players at this level are gaining confidence in using height by using the lob on both serves and when defending off drops and boasts. This is where they want to start practicing from all four corners. They are starting to use the height on the front wall to allow them more time.
Players at this level can now accurately hit with more height and depth off the front wall and are able to have the ball drop down into the back corner. They can lob defensively and create opportunities to attack both down the line and cross court.