There are many reasons why you would want to attempt squash drills with three players. The main ones are usually: you have limited court space and more players in a team or club that are wanting to play and improve; you just happen to be friends in a three and want to train together; there is one good player and two improving players to learn from the better one; there is a coach and two players playing with the coach.
All in all, whatever the situation, 3 player squash drills can be really beneficial.
What are the best squash drills for three players? A good drill to start with for three players is to have two at the back boasting the ball, and one player at the front hitting straight drives straight back down the wall. You can extend this to the player at the front hitting crosscourts. There are numerous other drills involving volleys, drops and drives.
In this article I look at the best 3 player drills I could find. 3 player drills are really beneficial and definitely worth a go!
Drill 1 – Boast, Drive, Boast
This is the classic 3 player drill, and definitely the one to start with.
Two players stand at the back of the court, and one player stands on the T, and will be operating at the front of the court.
One of the players at the back hits a three wall boast to the opposite front corner. The player at the front attacks it and hits a straight drive down the line.
The player at the back on that side of the court, then hits a boast to the opposite front corner.
The player at the front straight drives the ball back down the wall on that side, and the process begins again.
After several repetitions, swap positions so that everyone gets a go at being at the front. The front player is the hard bit! It is totally exhausting compared to the relatively easy job of playing at the back.
Drill 2 – Boast, Drive, Boast Competition
This drill is the same idea, but this time with a competitive element. The player at the front is against the two players at the back.
When you make a mistake you lose a point. The first team to 5 points wins.
The players at the back usually have a definite advantage in this game. The player at the front needs to try to keep the ball as tight as they can to the sidewall.
Drill 3 – Boast, Cross Court, Boast, Drive
This takes a bit more getting used to, but is quite similar.
PLAYER 1 and PLAYER 2 stand at the back again. PLAYER 3 is on the T.
PLAYER 1 plays a boast.
PLAYER 3 attacks the ball and plays a cross court back to PLAYER 1.
PLAYER 1 plays another boast (the players at the back just play boasts in this drill)
This time PLAYER 3 drives it back down the line towards PLAYER 2.
PLAYER 2 boasts it, and PLAYER 3 cross-courts it back, and the cycle repeats again.
Drill 4 – Boast, Rotate, Cross Court
This next one gets an element of rotation in the drill. This just adds an extra little element of difficulty. In general, the difficulty level is probably about medium.
The players will rotate clockwise. The real goal for this drill will be to improve your cross court hitting, your volley straight drives and your capacity to move in three different directions. If everything goes well, then all three of those objectives will be realised.
Each rotation should be ten minutes at the very least, supplemented by a one-minute break in between all of that.
So, here is the deal.
PLAYER ONE hits the boast.
PLAYER TWO – normally stationed just in front of the T-line then moves across to hit the cross court. PLAYER ONE then waits in the back right corner to hit a straight drive.
PLAYER THREE – who was waiting behind PLAYER TWO – the moves forward and waits for the next boast.
That next boast will be hit by PLAYER TWO, who moved to the back right corner of the court to retrieve the straight drive. PLAYER TWO effectively restarts the rotation by hitting the next boast and so the cycle continues.
Drill 5 – Back, Middle, Front of Court
The level of the difficulty for this drill is rated as high. So, it is suggested for the intermediate and advanced players.
PLAYER ONE will stay at the back of the court throughout and his job will only be to play a gentle straight drive that sets the whole thing up.
PLAYER TWO will plant himself in the middle of the court and just behind the T-line. His job will always be to hit a series of volleys. This player has two options at his disposal. He could hit the straight drop volley or hit a boast.
PLAYER THREE is at the front. Their job is to hit a shot to the back. It could be a straight drive, a cross-court, or a lob.
PLAYER TWO then gets ready to collect whatever shot PLAYER THREE comes up with. PLAYER TWO has to try to attack the shot on the volley.
If PLAYER TWO misses it, or can’t get there, then PLAYER ONE at the back will play another straight drive to set things up again.
As the drill continues, the three players can then rotate positions or roles on the court.
PLAYER THREE – or the player at the front – benefits lots from this drill. They get to improve their footwork at the front corners of the court.
PLAYER TWO gets to work on touch and feel, mastering the art of the short volley to the front of the court. It is great practice for attacking loose shots and hitting volleys.
A five minute rotation for this drill is more than enough.
Drill 6 – Drive, Volley-Drop, Drive, Volley
Here is another one for the more advanced players.
Once again, PLAYER ONE benefits probably the least from this drill, so it is a good role for a coach or the best player of the three. Alternatively just rotate positions.
PLAYER ONE will hit gentle straight drives.
PLAYER TWO, once again stationed in the middle of the court will return that drive with a volley straight drop.
PLAYER THREE will be stationed at the front of the court. He will then retrieve that volley and hit a straight drive.
PLAYER TWO – the man in the middle – then intercepts with a deep volley to the back of the court.
PLAYER ONE starts the drill off again with a gentle straight drive. And repeat.
So, what is the point to all of this?
PLAYER TWO (AKA the Middle Man) has a heavy workload on this drill. He is called upon to make two strokes during the cycle. He is also forced to take the ball early on both occasions.
Quick reaction time and swift movement are key components of the session. Another one of the Middle Man’s goals is to develop their racket preparation. Keep your racket up.
Each rotation should be at least five minutes.
Drill 7 – Cross Court, Volley, Drive, Drive, Volley Boast
This is another drill that is somewhere between medium and advanced difficulty.
PLAYER ONE is stationed at the front of the court and they set up the drill with a cross court shot.
PLAYER TWO will be stationed in the middle of the court, where he will make the interception and kill the ball in the front corner. He then makes the retrieval himself and hits a straight drive to the back of the court.
PLAYER THREE, who is at the back of the court, hits a straight drive.
PLAYER TWO then gets drawn back into the action and follows that up with a volley boast to PLAYER ONE.
Then repeat the drill again.
Once again, it is the middle player that reaps the benefits of this drill. They get to practise footwork, movement, and taking the ball early with good racket preparation.
Rotate positions so everyone has a go of this key middle role.
Drill 8 –
This is another drill that is somewhere between medium and advanced.
The three amigos are at it again. PLAYER ONE will be stationed at the back of the court. PLAYER TWO finds himself in the middle again and PLAYER THREE will operate from the front of the court.
PLAYER ONE will focus on straight drives.
PLAYER TWO in the middle returns the straight drive with a volley drop or a boast.
PLAYER THREE at the front will then make a return cross court. PLAYER TWO then gets called back into action again, by intercepting the cross court with a volley that heads back to PLAYER ONE.
Once you manage to get your head around that, which you likely will, you can start the rotation again. Much like the other drills…a five to ten minute rotation should be sufficient.
This time, it is the players at the front and the middle will reap the benefits. The player at the back is more of a feeder.
The player at the front gets to practise their footwork in the front corners of the court. The player in the middle gets to work on different types of volleys.
Drill 9 – Boast, Drop, Cross Court, Volley, Drive, Drive
This is definitely an advanced drill.
It also involves a considerable amount of running too, and is fantastic for conditioning. There is a boast, a drop, a cross court drive, a volley intercept drive, followed by two drives! Hopefully that will make sense in a moment.
PLAYER ONE and PLAYER THREE start in the back right of the court. PLAYER TWO is on the T.
PLAYER ONE starts the rotation by hitting a boast from the back right corner of the court. PLAYER TWO retrieves that boast and plays a drop shot.
PLAYER ONE then runs to the front of the court – in fact he started running shortly after hitting the boast – retrieves the drop shot and hits a cross court drive.
PLAYER THREE, stationed on the right hand side of the court then hits a drive volley. PLAYER ONE then shuffles across the front of the court to play a straight drive to the back of the court.
PLAYER TWO, now stationed at the back of the court, will then play a drive of his own. PLAYER ONE then backtracks, retrieves the drive and plays the boast, starting the rotation all over again.
It is a tremendous amount to follow but once you get your head around the drill it can be fun and tremendously rewarding…physically and mentally. Situational awareness comes under the microscope during this drill.
Drill 10 – Simple T Rotation, Forehands
This is a medium level drill.
Three players stand on the T. PLAYER ONE moves to the right and sets up the drill with a forehand drive down the line.
PLAYER TWO will move across and then play a drive down the line.
Then PLAYER THREE.
Continue like this. The only tricky part of this drill is not getting in each other’s way, and also remembering the order.
Once a player hits the ball, he drifts into the waiting zone.
It is really a straightforward rotation in many respects. However, to make it harder you can introudce the rule that the ball is not allowed to bounce before the T-line.
There is also a competitive element to this as any player who hits the ball short of the T-line is automatically faulted. The winner of the rally is awarded one point (ie. the person that played the last successful shot, and they start the next rally).
This is all about improving your shots from the back of the court and mastering your movement at the back.
There is a real difference in skill levels required in these drills between simple, to medium, to extremely advanced.
Just start at your skill level and take it from there. Other types of drills that really help your game are solo drills and drills with two players. For fun and social purposes, you can also attempt drills for four or multiple players.