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Home > Squash Tips > The "Down the Middle" Shot

The "Down the Middle" Shot


This shot has never been used intentionally by the club player but has always had a place in the armoury of the pros and of the connoisseur.

The objective is to play a shot that looks a though it is going cross court - thereby making your opponent lean and position his racket for this - but actually to hit it directly at him, forcing an error or a very weak reply. The most enjoyable outcome, of course, is to hit him as he flails helplessly at the ball and for him to be left looking rather foolish and embarrassed.

It can only be played towards the front of the court and when the ball is about 6-18 inches away from the side wall. (Following a hectic exhange at the front is a possible time and also after a high backwall boast is often a good time: sometimes an awkward shot to deal with if it is dying into that 6-18 inches zone.)

Several elements are absolutely crucial to successfully excecute this shot:

  • As you play the ball, you should simultaneously be moving tight up against the side wall, thereby eliminating any possibility (from your opponents point of view) of you playing straight - thus "confirming" the shown cross court and his readiness for it.
  • The ball must be hit hard, fairly low and aiming to hit your opponent's knee area.
  • Immediately you have completed the shot, move back from up against the side wall towards the T. If the shot is not already a clean winner and the opponent has managed to make contact with the ball, it should be a poor (late reaction) shot and will allow you to take control.

Played correctly, it will be a winner. Played badly, it will be a loser: definitely one for the connoisseur.

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