In our first and second examples of coaching deception from the front using the Games Approach we looked at two of the most common situations: pairing a drop option with a cross-court drive and pairing a drop option with a lob – both force the opponent to cover the largest territory – the diagonal. In our third example, we look at a less common option from the front, the pairing of an angle (roll corner in Americanese) with a straight drive. This option could be classified perhaps as a “surprise” option or “an unexpected shot from an unexpected place” since without surprise both shots expose the striker to counter attack: the angle rebounds towards the middle and the straight drive if loose could result in a stroke against the striker. However we do see these shots played at the higher levels so players should be trained in their use and how to anticipate and respond to them.
As in the other two examples, we will focus more on the coaching method and framework or the Games Approach, and less on the actual technique of deception (e.g., use of wrist). Here are the key teaching points from this video which may differ from more technically-oriented coaching sessions on the same topic:
- Flexible approach to the session’s’ content. We see the coach accept the player’s suggestion to modify the game according to the player’s preference. The coach can always return to the original options, but should be willing to experiment with the player’s suggestion in order to reinforce self-direction on the part of the player. Build choices for your players into your squash coaching – they may not notice it but will develop more confidence in themselves.
- The Games Approach encourages competition so that training takes place in a similar psychological environment to actual match play. In fact here we see that Chris is somewhat down and not that competitive after losing the first conditioned game 5-0, but the coach encourages competition.
- In the previous example of Games Approach session we saw the addition of options or conditions to make the games more challenging. Here we see the player presented with a simple skill drill to encourage appropriate technique – in this case the use of the wrist versus the stroking to control the ball. Lower standard players might in fact spend a majority of the session working on basic technique (grip or swing) following the initial game if this is what might improve them the most. What is important is that the student understands that improving technique is what will help them solve the tactical problem they are presented with (in this case how best to attack the opponent in the front of the court after forcing a boast).
- Playing a game instead of doing repetitive drills may encourage a player to more closely observe their opponent, if their opponent is clearly better at the game. In this case it is clear that Shona Kerr is demonstrating superior deception with the wrist in the front.
- Videotaping and replaying the the Games Approach training session will help the student understand the effect of their initial shot on gaining (or losing) an advantage in the rally with the payoff occurring several shots after the first – something not possible with traditional drilling.