Melanie Jans posted a comment in December:
“Thanks Tim for all of the information you post. I read your site all the time for inspiration in my coaching. I’m not sure if you are aware but Squash Canada now has an LTAD model called Beyond the Nick. It can be downloaded on the Squash Canada website at squash.ca. Here’s the link.“
Melanie, now coaching at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club, is one of my favorite squash coaches and players – she got her Bachelor’s of Physical & Health Education at my Alma Mater – the University of Toronto (one of the best P.E. programs in Canada). Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Squash Canada actually had three mental training consultants working with their National Team Programs: Stan Gendron did the senior men; Peter Bender did the junior and senior women; and I did the junior boys (e.g., Jonathon Power, Graham Ryding). So I only actually officially worked with Melanie once, replacing Peter at a training camp – but we have run into each other at tournaments over the years – and she always has thoughtful and insightful comments.
I had actually already downloaded a copy of the Squash Canada LTAD, but Melanie was the first (and only) squash coach I know that has mentioned it. So you can download a copy at the link above – but here are a few key pages from the document. The first, an overview of the FUNdamentals stage, is important as it reassures parents and coaches they do NOT have to pressure kids into squash at an early age (proper grip and cocked wrist are essential however as this is extremely difficult to change at a later age).
This second page is a good overview illustrating the necessity of adapting training at each stage of a child’s progression, in other words “kids are not simply miniature adults“, and so you cannot use the same training methods (a lesson for untrained volunteer parent coaches).
While the document is a good start, it is short on detailed specifics, so most squash coaches will still be asking the question “So what do I actually need to do today?”. Squash Canada (and/or other organizations) need to take the next step, which is to produce annual, periodized example programs or templates, as Tennis Canada did back in 1992 – and of course to link Squash Coach Certification programs to each stage of the LTAD as I have explained in a previous post on the topic.
And of course, as usual with planning documents (since sport psychologists do not author them), the Squash Canada LTAD is a bit light on mental training content:)
If you are new to the LTAD-squash discussion here is a list of previous posts from Science of Coaching Squash: