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A Drill And A Ghost

Yesterday, I wrote about maximising your ghosting sessions, and today I’d like to talk about a way to fuse hitting drills with Ghosting.

For many people, doing a 45-minute ghosting session is too much and in the same vein, doing a 45-minute drill session is also too much. You’ve got to be really fit to last for 45 minutes just ghosting. More importantly what kind of ghosting should you do? How much intensity? Which area of the court should you focus on? and many other questions.

Similarly, if you hit the ball for 45-minute, either alone or with a partner, what should you do? Do you do the same drill for a long time? No, don’t do that, and here’s why. What you need is a way to keep your training interesting, but effective. A drill and a ghost is that way.

A Drill And A Ghost

It’s As Simple As It Sounds

Perform one hitting drill for a set time or number of shots (I prefer time) and then take a 5 or 10-second break. Then begin to ghost for a set time or set number of shots (again, I prefer a set time). Take another 5 or 10-second break and do a different hitting drill (or the same one if you are really ambitious and focused), followed by a ghost and so on and so forth. One thing to mention, during the ghosting session, hold the ball tightly in your non-racket hand. That should keep it warm.

The Benefits

Right, that’s the basic concept. The multiple hitting drills allows you to do develop your skills faster without getting bored. The ghosting sessions allows you to improve your fitness and footwork, while keeping the high intensity. In addition, when hitting after a short ghosting session, you recreate a little of the feeling you get in real matches. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than simply standing and hitting with no pressure.

Why The Set Time, Not Set Number Of Shots?

I prefer the set time as opposed to the set number of shots or movements because you control the whole session better. Most people have a smart phone nowadays, in fact do you know anybody who plays squash that doesn’t have one? Anyway, you can download some free interval timers and use those. You see, when you fist start, knowing how long to do is going to be a guess. Also importantly, you won’t be hitting for the same time as you will be ghosting.

A Drill And A Ghost

An Example Session

As with all these types of sessions, you will need to adapt it to your own fitness and skill needs. For example, if the ghosting time is too long, drop it down a little. if you need to spend more time on volleys, add more volleys drills etc. Lastly, DO NOT perform this session without HEATING UP first. It does NOT assume that you simply go from the changing room to the court. Also make sure you hit the ball for a few minutes to heat up the ball.

✭ 3 minutes forehand straight drives, aiming to hit the ball off the back wall. 80% your maximum hitting speed.

✭ 1 minute side to side ghosting, aim to touch the side wall shoulder height.

✭ 3 minutes backhand straight drives, aiming to hit the ball off the back wall.

✭ 1 minute side to side ghosting, aim to touch the side wall just above the floor. 80% your maximum hitting speed.

✭ 3 minutes forehand straight volleys, standing on the short line. Aim to hit the ball shoulder height. 60% maximum hitting speed.

✭ 90 seconds ghosting into the back corners, alternating sides. Start with an imaginary serve.

✭ 3 minutes backhand straight volleys, standing on the short line. Aim to hit the ball shoulder height. 60% maximum hitting speed.

✭ 90 seconds ghosting into the back corners, alternating sides. Start with an imaginary serve.

✭ 2 minutes side-to-side hitting. Aim to make no mistakes.

✭ 1 minute ghosting to the front corners alternately. Focus on getting low and having smooth movement. Come ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE T!

✭ 3 minutes side-to-side hitting. Aim to make no mistakes.

✭ 1 minute ghosting to the front corners alternately. Focus on getting low and having smooth movement. Come ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE T!

✭ 3 minutes forehand kills. Standing in front of the short line, hit the ball so that it hits side wall, front wall, and other side wall, so that it comes back to you. Hit a kill and then feed yourself again.

✭ 1 minute ghosting from the front left corner, back tot he T, back right corner. maker sure you pretend to play a drop at the fron and a straight drive at the back.

✭ 3 minutes backhand kills. Standing in front of the short line, hit the ball so that it hits side wall, front wall, and other side wall, so that it comes back to you. Hit a kill and then feed yourself again.

✭ 1 minute ghosting from the front right corner, back tot he T, back left corner. maker sure you pretend to play a drop at the fron and a straight drive at the back.

✭ 2 minutes serving with the ball, from the right box.

✭ 1 minute side to side ghosting, easy pace.

✭ 2 minutes serving with the ball, from the left box.

✭ 1 minute ghosting side to side, very easy pace.

That’s 40 minutes of either hitting or ghosting. With 10 seconds break in between each one, that will bring you very close to 45 minutes, including hitting the ball at the beginning. if you court times are 40 minutes just leave out one set of of the drills/ghosts.

Holy Crosscourt Nicks Batman!

If you do that session above, you probably hate me right now. Believe me, I know. It is NOT easy. It requires focus and discipline. The exact things you need to succeed in most things. Of course, that’s just one example, and you can honestly swap in and out all sorts of drill and ghosting combinations. It’s even possible to do this with a partner and adapt the drills and ghosting to ensure you don’t crash into each other. I promise to make a video about this one day.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear to me after writing this article that I need to create videos and posters for a few different Drill/Ghost sessions. That way, players can print the poster and stick in on the door and refer to it until they remember it. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for a few months until I can get back on court and begin to move to at least demonstrate the ghosting parts.

I really believe that these sessions can keep your training fresh, but also very effective. Six weeks or weekly, or preferably twice weekly Drill/Ghost sessions would show a big improvement in every club player’s standard.

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Hi, I'm Phillip, your online squash coach.


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