While the world of Squash is one of the sports that has been hit the hardest by the pandemic, it is finally time that for a lot of places, the courts are opening back up and players are allowed back onto at least play on their own, if not with others. Since we launched the Nick Matthew power challenges, a little while ago to celebrate the launch of the Sonic Core range of power rackets, it seems a good time to collect them all in one place, so that players who have to play on their own, can try and take on the challenges.
There are 10 challenges, each getting slightly harder than the next, and they are unforgiving, no mistakes are allowed, no cheating. Complete the challenge and then move onto the next. If you want to jump between challenges, you can do that, I mean, no one is going to judge you. It’s all a bit of fun really. However, we have it on good authority that very people have actually achieved all 10 and certainly even less people have achieved the special Boss level 11. If you want to give is a go and let us know how you get on – upload your attempts to social media and use the hashtag #DunlopNextLevel.
These videos were shot with 2 Dunlop junior players Asia Harris and Sam Todd.
Drill 1: Short Line Volleys
Starting simply. Stand on the T and deliver 5 consecutive volleys – as will be a theme in these drills, consecutive is the key word.
Drill 2: Drives into target
Now we are looking for 10 consecutive straight drives into the service box. Again, a key here is that you can’t miss and then keep going and just count the 10 when you hit, for example 15 (but again, you can, no one is judging, just have fun). Try it on the forehand and backhand side to really test your skills.
Drill 3: Back wall rally
Time to dial up the power. Perhaps there was bit more accuracy required for the first 2 drills. This drill requires making sure the ball comes off the back wall before every shot – You only have to hit 5 in a row. Luckily, the Dunlop Sonic Core power rackets are perfect for this squash drill.
Drill 4: Figure of 8
The infamous figure of 8. This requires practice, it requires the perfect balance of precision and power and it’s the one that the pros make look easy. Time to find out just how easy it actually is. Go for a rally of 10 consecutive shots – one forehand and one backhand only constitutes 1 so make sure you count properly.
Drill 5: Drives into small target
With level 5 we are giving you the scope to judge yourself. This time pick a small area just beyond the service box. you can mark it out if you want or you can trust your own judgement, but this time you are hitting 10 straight drives into this part of the squash court. This means you are hitting harder than before and more accurately.
Drill 6: The nick
Always a fun one and another drill that relies on you being honest with yourself. The nick in Squash, is a shot that comes off the front wall and lands as close to the where the floor and side wall meet as possible. If executed correctly, the ball essentially doesn’t bounce, which makes it the perfect shot. However, of course, this is a lot easier said than done. You have 30 seconds to hit 5 cross court nick’s that you yourself believe would be point winning hits, i.e you believe an opponent would not be able to return the shot.
Drill 7: 6 position volley
Let’s get some real movement into this now. Mark out 6 points on the court, you can see from the video the kind of area we are looking for. The drill is to hit 6 consecutive volleys whilst moving between these 6 points. The ball must not touch the floor and your biggest challenge will be moving from one side of the court to the other after hit number 3. If you wanted to mick up the order, you could – Have I mentioned we won’t judge?
Drill 8: Figure of 8
Okay, now things are getting really tough. Maybe you practiced the figures of 8’s to a point in which you could do 10. Well now we want 25 and we want it in under 30 seconds. If you can do them, you can do them and this should be easy, but it means hitting the ball hard and fast. Find your rhythm and you should be okay.
Drill 9: 2 straight, 1 cross
Even more movement here. Some find this easier than others, it will test your focus on the move. The drill is simple. Hit 2 straight drives and then hit a cross court shot and you have completed 1. However, it’s not that simple, you must continue the rally, until you have completed 5 of these, meaning you should have switched sides 5 times all with out the rally stopping.
Drill 10: The 360 degree figure of 8
The hardest of them all. Nick Matthew himself proclaims that he doesn’t think he can do it. Sam Todd on the other hand seemed to have no problem at all. Hit a figure of 8 like normal but after your second shot, let the ball come past you, swivel and complete the figure of 8 on the back wall – this constitutes just 1! Keep the rally going back to the front wall and try to complete this 5 times.
The BOSS Level
This isn’t a specific drill. This is just there for those who are feeling a bit cocky. if you have, by some miracle, completed all 10 drills. Then your next task is to complete all 10 drills as fast as you can in one go, you can stop in between each drill, we aren’t suggesting in one long rally (although that would be impressive). We have set a time of 15 minutes to complete but go for what you can.
We all sincerely hope that Squash will be back to what it was soon as we miss the sport we love. In the mean time, this may be a fun way to test your skills, practice and keep you fit and to be honest, even if Squash is back, we’d recommend you give them a go.