ESR high performance coach Lee Drew discusses topical coaching issues

At the highest level of the game you must utilise every movement to help with the next phase. A pause here or hesitation there will lead to your opponent nailing home an advantage.

The back corners are often where opponents look to apply pressure. One of England’s most consistent performers over the past decade has been Peter Barker.

ESR_BarkerPhysically imposing and difficult to beat, a Barker key strength is his ability to establish a platform from the back, neutralising an opponent’s length and being able to establish strong positions to exert pressure. I recently chatted with Barker to find out the secret to his solidity in this area.

He explained it was something that was instilled in him from a young age, to have options in every position on court. This included the back corners, where choices can be limited. Barker stressed the importance of getting behind the ball and using every ounce of momentum to get back to the T.

Barker recalled watching British great Peter Nicol, explaining: “He worked so hard off the ball. I wanted to implement that in my game, because it gives you such a strong platform.”

“I use the central line as a guide to move back before positioning myself in the corner. I feel this gives me the space I need for more options in the shot.”

Barker acknowledges the significant role of off-court conditioning, as well as practising his movement patterns without a ball on court.

He continued: “Ghosting and resistance band work help me get behind the ball quickly enough. It has taken a lot of time and consistent work to achieve this.

“It’s important to get behind the ball so that you can flow back to the T. Once I’m behind the ball, I use the follow-through of my racket and my body weight to help me back to a central position.”

Next time you are on court, see if you can build your back corners like Barker. Aim to flow as much as possible and, remember, it takes a lot of consistent work to achieve this.

TIPS: ● Work hard to get behind the ball. You will have to practise your ghosting to be able to do this well.

● Once behind the ball, use your body weight, momentum and follow-through to move towards a central position.

● Use simple practices, like boasts and drives or rotating drives, to practice getting behind the ball and moving back towards the central area

Report courtesy of Squash Player Magazine