I did not learn everything I know about squash psychology from a text book during my M.A. at the University of Western Ontario and Ph.D. studies at L’Universite de Montreal. I was reminded of this last week when one of my co-captains, Elizabeth Guyman, on the Smith College Squash Team that I coach had to rest an injured wrist for the entire week. In addition to reading several chapters from several different sport psychology books, visualizing, doing her CorePerformance workout, doing bike intervals, and playing left-handed, I had her read two chapters from Geoff Hunt’s book. I consider his two chapters “Match Play” and “Tempo and Temperment” to be two of the finest sources of “squash psychology” related to match play. (Note: I suspect we will have to switch Guyman over to being a “left-handed” player when she returns to Smith College on January 3rd – something we have done before with a previous Smith captain Becky Spalding: she started her season as a right-hander with a field hockey injured wrist, playing one match for us at #4 before we had to switch her over due to a too long predicted healing time – she won her last match as a left-hander at #4 for us at our nationals at #4:)
The above slide shows that squash coaches can obtain useful knowledge of squash psychology (MT = mental training) from three sources – the information in Hunt’s book falling into the “subjective experience as a player” category since he had not done any significant coaching at that point in his career. “Professional practice experience” would be that knowledge picked up as a squash coach or sport psychology consultant through observation and practical experience working with players and other coaches. This latter component can be critical in integrating the other two aspects of squash psychology knowledge. Continued involvement in teaching academic sport psychology has helped me to critically reflect on my consulting experiences outline in the slide below.
Application for Squash Coaches:
- “Regular” squash books written by former top players can be a great sources of sport psychology knowledge – a great supplement or adjunct to sport psychology books and a squash coach’s own subjective experiences as a player and professional practice experience as a coach.