Why Is The Second bounce So Important?

Why Is The Second bounce So Important?

The second bounce is often used in squash to talk about where you want the ball to land but why is it so important?

Let’s start with a question.

Where do you need to be before the ball bounces?
No where. You don’t need to be anywhere at that point.

Where do you need to be on the first bounce?
No where. You don’t need to be anywhere at that point.

Where do you need to be just after the first bounce?
No where. You don’t need to be anywhere at that point.

Where do you need to be just before the second bounce?
You NEED to be near the ball. This is your last chance to hit. If you miss this chance, you have lost the rally and therefore the point.

Okay, I may have laboured the point, but the second bounce gives the player the maximum time to get to the ball. Players general leave the ball until the last moment to hit. “Why rush when I can take my time, right?”

With regard to a straight drive, you are generally trying to make the second bounce in the back wall nick (the join between the floor and the wall).

If the second bounce is too, short you could be giving your opponent an easy shot. If the second bounce is too deep, you could be making it easy for your opponent. Remember, deep second bounces just come back off the back wall.

Of course, this is all quite hypothetical because it is very rare that we see a perfect second bounce land in the nick.

But why is that?

Well, because your opponent knows that if they leave it, it will be harder to retrieve, so that hit it before it gets there. Ideally, you would be hitting it a little longer so that the opponent wants to leave it come off the back wall but then realizes that is going to be harder and has to rush.

What all this is doing is putting minute amounts of pressure on your opponent.

Over time, this pressure gets too much and they start to make mistakes. That’s when you pounce like a tiger and kill the ball.

Just watch a professional player warm up on court and often you see them driving the ball down the wall and every now and again they just leave and watch it bounce. More often than not, this is the perfect length: second bounce in the nick. If you are curious, they are testing the court conditions.

Start paying attention to this detail and you should see your game improve.

You Need All Three.

Physical – Mental – Technical

Those are the three aspects of Squash that you need to think about.

Each area comprises sub-aspects.

Over the coming weeks, I will be exploring each one and looking at the sub-sub-aspects, but for today let’s start defining them and then start thinking about the whole.

PHYSICAL
The fitter you are the more likely you are able to take advantage of the other two aspects. However, you can’t get very fit without working on some aspects of MENTAL.

Physical is not just about aerobic ability, but also includes strength, especially core strength, flexibility, agility (the ability to use your flexibility), balance, the ability to recover, footwork, speed and power (the combination of speed and strength).

MENTAL
Measuring the MENTAL aspect is almost impossible because there are no clear criteria. Mental includes concentration, the ability to stay focused when physically stressed or tired, shot selection, tactical awareness and adaptability, and determination & motivation.

Clearly, you couldn’t get really fit if you were not a determined person, fighting for those last few points is no different from running those last few intervals. Being able to think clearly when you are under-stress is something that must be worked on – some people have the ability naturally, but most don’t.

He is an example: after a tough ghosting session I used to ask my students a simple maths problem (3 x 38). You would be surpised at how many get it wrong and how long it takes. While this is not exactly like playing a match being able to choose the right shot at the right time when really tired is a skill that needs to be improved.

TECHNICAL
By technical I mean swing and footwork. You need to be able to hit the ball cleanly in all situations, but to do that you need to be in the right position and at the right time.

Just like a wizard, a pro player is neither early nor late but arrives exactly when he or she needs to!

As a player, the more evenly balanced you are regarding the three aspects, the better. Being stronger in one than the other is common but the difference should be made as small as possible.

Condense it down to this: Work on your weaker aspects more and harder.