Fitness Test Standards

August 14, 2018

To help you interpret the results of our team fitness test/movement screen we have posted the most common “norms/scores/results” for each test item.

Hexagon Test (USTA)

Hexagon Norm

10m Sprint (Tennis Australia mean)

U19 Boys 1.83s

U19 Girls 1.99s

Standing Broad Jump

Standing Broad Norms

 

Single Leg Standing Broad Jump

No norms available, so team rank/average. Note left and right leg scores should be the same.

Spider Test (USTA)

Spier Test norms

Planks (pass/fail)

Front 60 sec., side 60 sec.

Single Leg Squat

Note:  video from front to check proper alignment (knee cap over 2/3rd toe throughout) and R/L scores should be the same.

12+ excellent

8-12 good

<8 needs improvement

Stability Ball Single Leg Curl

12+ excellent

8-12 good

<8 needs improvement

Lying Hamstring Flexibility (pass/fail)

Completely STRAIGHT leg should be 90 degrees to the floor.

Shoulder Tricep Flexibility (pass/fail)

Finger tips should be interlocked (pass) and right/left arm should be the same. If fail, record & report the distance between fingertips in inches.

Lying Shoulder Internal Rotation (pass/fail)

Arm should be at least 45 degrees to the floor and both arms should be the same.  Measure and record the distance from the hand (straight) to the floor in inches.

Rope assisted IT Band/Glute Flexibility (pass/fail)

With back and both shoulders in contact to the floor, the leg should be at 90 degrees & both legs should be the same.

Rope Assisted Adductor Flexibility (pass/fail)

With back and both shoulders in contact to the floor, the leg should be at 90 degrees & both legs should be the same.

Lying Hip Flexor (pass/fail)

Entire posterior upper leg (thigh) should be in contact with the table.

Aerobic Beep Test (Tennis Australia)

Female

Average Level 10

Excellent Level 12

Male

Average Level 12

Excellent Level 15

2 X 100 Touches

Female

Average Level 6:15 min. for 1st, 6:45 for 2nd

Excellent Level 5:45 for 1st, 6:15 for 2nd

Male

Average Level 5:30 for 1st, 6:00 for 2nd

Excellent Level 5:00 for 1st, 5:30 for 2nd

Lifecycle Steady State

After estimating your VO2max:

Female

Average Level 45-50

Excellent Level 50+

Male

Average Level 50-55

Excellent Level 60+

5K

Male

Average 21:00

Excellent  18:00

Female

Average 24:00

Excellent  21:00

 

 

 

 

 


Wesleyan Squash 2018-19 Training Page

August 17, 2017

Download the 2018-2019 Team Fitness Test/Movement Screen (PDF File):  Wesleyan Squash Team Fitness Test 2018-19

The deadline to complete the test items was Monday, August 13.  The easiest way to send you results to Tim is to print out the test form, fill in your result with a dark ink pen as you complete the test, then take a photo with your phone and email the images to Tim (tbacon@wesleyan.edu).

Download our test “norms” so you can compare your results to athletes:  https://squashanalytics.com/fitness-test-standards/.

Download our current aerobic training program (August 27 – Nov. 1):  Wesleyan Squash Aerobic Training Plan August 27.

Download current strength program (August 13 – September 2, 2018):  Wes Sq Sum 2 2017

Overview of our Physical Training Program

We only have one priority – to avoid & minimize injury to maximize on-court play & training – multiple 2016 studies have shown a .87 correlation between “days lost to injury” and final team ranking.  This means a large emphasis on prehabilitation, recovery/regeneration and attention to training volume and intensity – rule of thumb is maximum of 10% increase in training volume per week (assuming intensity stays the same).

At the end of the season, we are placed in a pool of similar ability teams, and after the first round of Nationals we play teams where season overall match scores were 5-4, with many 3-2 individual matches…if one or more of you get injured and are removed from the line-up, your teammates are bumped up at least one position basically ensuring a team loss and a National Team ranking at least 4 spots lower (e.g., 22 instead of 18).

In the 2016-2017  season we were the ONLY program (both men’s & women’s team) in the CSA that outperformed their seeding at the National Championships  – and although we had some aches and pains we were one of the few teams who did not have to sit players due to injury…a considerable achievement considering 50% of the team showed up on Nov. 1 with some type of chronic injury – 50%.  The purpose of summer training is to show up injury-free.

The Best Squash Training

The best physical training for squash is to actually play squash for the same duration and intensity that you will need for your three matches at Nationals (so one per day) – so a 45-60 min. match at 100% effort (assume equal opponent with a 13-11 finish in the 5th).

**Once practices start on November 1 all supplementary physical training moves to a once a week maintenance level in order to have sufficient time to do the best training – which is to play squash: games, conditioned games, tactical drills executed at or near game pace.  So all increases in physical qualities (training 3 times a week) must be done BEFORE November 1.**

Here are some links explaining our overall approach to the season:

Action Plan – August 13 to November 1, 2018

  1. Strength: Do the strength workouts that we send out 3 times a week.  Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise.  If you have been doing a lot of strength training for the last 2-3 months and you think this program is too easy, contact me and we will write you a tougher one:  Wesleyan Strength Summer II.
  2. Aerobic:   Ideally, this should be interval training using squash-specific muscles:  30-60 seconds of harder effort, followed by 10-30 seconds of lower effort.  If you are lower leg injury prone (sore knees, ankles, shin splints) you should do these on a bike (until your legs are no longer injury prone).  Current Aerobic program:  Wesleyan Squash Aerobic Training Plan August 27.
  3. Avoid sore knees and shin splints at all costs! No large increases in training duration (guideline is 5% per week) or dramatic switching of surfaces (running on grass to road; from biking to running; from running to pounding on a court).  If you have not been doing much then play it safe and train on a bike or elliptical.
  4. If you have access to courts and are actually playing squash for an hour or more, you do not have to add in the aerobic training – and should not do both if you have been doing nothing.

College Squash Players: It’s June 1! Go!

June 1, 2017

February 15, 2018 seems a long way off – but your performance in the CSA national Championships will be largely determined by what you do starting today.  Most squash players – especially juniors and college players do not appreciate the long term nature (months not weeks or days) of optimal improvement of athletic performance.

Periodization Chart

The key concept is that in order to peak in February 2018, we start by planning backwards:

  • 2 weeks before our desired peak (so Feb. 1) we to cut our practice and playing volume in half – so 60-90 minutes of practice a day instead of 12–180 – this will allow a ‘supercompensation” and physical and mental peak to occur on the court.
  • it takes at least minimum of 2 months of intense competition without significant technical (strokes & shots) or tactical (overall game plan/style of play) changes for match performance to become automatic – a prerequisite of peaking – so all changes need to be completed by December 1, 2017.  this more or less coincides with exams and winter break by college squash players.
  • related to the above, in order to have a high level of tactics and match play, the volume of physical and technical training must drop to a maintenance level – so only 1-2 sessions a week in December, January and February to allow for an increase in volume of match play and training (five sessions of conditioned games or match play per week – each session lasting the expected duration of matches at Nationals – so 60 to 90 minutes).
  • it takes at least 4-6 weeks to optimally develop sport-specific power, speed and agility related athletic qualities though training three sessions a week – so this type of training must start by November 1, 2017 at the latest.  This is the date at which many college athletes (e.g., NESCAC) have access to on-court training with their coach.  Note that to accomplish the above, strength training sessions are limited to 1-2 times per week for about 30 minutes once the season starts.
  • this means that the foundation for high intensity squash play and training must be completed by the college player in the June 1 to November 1 period – five months, which seems like a long time until you take a close look at the time period required to develop the physical qualities required for squash, while staying injury free.

Working backwards here are the physical training priorities broken down into four week monthly cycles:

Oct. 1 – Nov. 1: 

  1.  Aerobic Interval training  (preferably a mix of on-court squash specific movement and bike intervals (to reduce stress on the joints – knees/back) three times a week, the last week featuring work periods of 15-30 seconds at 85% effort with about 10 seconds rest between intervals, for a total of about 20 minutes high intensity work.
  2. For returning players with a considerable strength training background (preferably under supervision) this is the time to work maximum strength (high loads/fewer reps).  Injury prone and less experienced athletes should continue to work strength-endurance (medium loads/higher reps).
  3. Enough general power/speed/agility (e.g., low bounce plyos) should be done about twice a week to prepare the joints for more squash-specific explosive loads.

Sept. 1 – Oct. 1:

  1. Continuous aerobic training can be done 3-4 times a week (20 to 30 minutes) at different training zones from 60-85% to induce the necessary physiological adaptations to lay the foundation for the aerobic interval training to follow.
  2. Squash-specific, strength-endurance training (12-15 reps. with medium resistance) can be done three times a week.
  3. Upon arriving on campus, return to on-court squash play should be progressive in terms of number and length of sessions per week to avoid a pre-season injury (e.g., 2-3 sessions of 30-45 minutes in week 1;  3-4 sessions of 45 – 60 minutes in week 4.).

June 1 – Sept. 1:

  1. The priority in this period is to do general types of training for 5-10 hours a week, with an emphasis on  prehabilitation and movement preparation for strength training (using a strength-endurance approach in the 12-15 rep range) to improve any physically weak areas and ensure full recovery from any prior injuries.  So three aerobic and three strength sessions a week of about 60-90 minutes.  This training does not have to be squash-specific, so soccer, yoga, Pilates, cycling, basketball, etc. all work.  most students work, so activities will often be determined by location and work situation.
  2. This is also the time, before the return to campus to correct and improve any basic squash technical areas: grips, wrist, strokes, etc.  This is the major flaw in the U.S. sporting system – squash coaches are not allowed to do this type of coaching outside of the NCAA designated seasons – players are left on their own, and the private squash lessons that are required to make these technical changes can be costly.

Summary

Most college squash players wait until the official start of the season to start physical training in a systematic way – they do not realize that most physical training must be accomplished before Nov. 1 – and that coach-run squash practices are for on-court conditioned games, drills, and match play – not for physical training, except for 1-2 30 minute maintenance sessions per week.

Breaking down the numbers for a typical college practice  can make the above more clear:

4:30-4:50  Movement prep and prehab

4:50-5:05  Basic squash drills or play to allow players to “warm-up” motor skill system.

6:15 – 6:30  Regeneration and cool-down

That leaves the 5:05 to 6:15 period – so 70 minutes  – actually only 60 minutes once you take out time for demonstrations, explanations (even if they are extremely short), transitions between games/drills, and water breaks.

Cognitive-motor learning research indicates that 20-minutes is an ideal amount for time (law of diminishing returns) for a conditioned game or drill – which means an ideal practice should feature only three themes – and with only four to five weeks before December exams and winter break – these should be tactical and game situations themes with very little time for technical instruction (as it slows down match-like training).

Most CSA Head Coaches now coach both the women’s and men’s team with an minimum squad size of 12 for both men and women; the implication being 60/12 means only 5 min. per player for the coach to observe, encourage, correct, interact during the on-court part of practice.  This means a very high priority on the coach using “task teaching” (the “rules” of the conditioned game or drill) as their primary pedagogical tool to improve their athletes’ play.

Experienced coaches with recognize that the above simplification is based on Bompa’s periodization theory:)

Periodization (Bompa, 2009)


Tim Bacon, M.A., CSCS is the world’s leading expert on racquet sport science and coaching development having taught all areas of sport science as both a Lecturer at Smith College and as a Coach Developer for the Coaching Association of Canada while actively coaching (Squash Canada Level 4 Coach) and sport psychology consulting (25+ World Champions).  He currently runs his consulting practice out of Northampton, MA and maintains his active coaching as the Assistant Squash Coach at Wesleyan University during the CSA squash season (Nov. 1 – Mar. 1).


Squash Back-Court Defence: Nicole David

May 12, 2017

The problem with most published work on notational or performance analysis of squash is that it is stroke or technique centered.  The simplest example of notational analysis would be when a squash coach charts one of their player’s matches by putting a “W” (for winnner) or “E” (for error) on a diagram of a squash court.

Another example of technique-centered performance analysis was our 1987  Squash Canada Level 4 Performance Analysis Task, where we had to chart a video of a match between Dale Styner and John Fleury (both Canadian National Team members), recording every stroke played and the result of the stroke. The output of the analysis was a summary chart of statistics: number of shots played, percentage of winners and errors for each stroke type (forehand drive, backhand drop, etc.).

Information of this type, without a tactical context is not very useful:  for example a player’s technique, and associated success ratio,  in the back of the squash court is very different depending on the difficulty of the received shot, the amount of pressure the player is under, and the characteristics of the opponent (fast vs. slow, retriever vs. shot-maker, etc.).

The best analyses are based on a defined tactical model in order to be able to make precise, specific recommendations to players concerning the improvement of their game.  When I teach the current Level 4 Performance Analysis Task for Squash Canada, the first assignment in the class is for each of the coaches to present the tactical model they use for coaching their players.

In order to demonstrate the usefulness of notational analysis based on a tactical model, I used the Dartfish Tagging  module to analyze the first 25 points of the first game of the  2006 British Open Final (purchase DVD here) between Nicol David (current World #1) and Rachel Grinham.  In this example I restricted the analysis to the backcourt.

The tactical model I used for the example analysis is the “zone” model I developed with the assistance of Princeton’s Gail Ramsay and Bob Callahan in the late 1990’s:  System 3.  The idea for a zone model was based on Jack Fair’s “Traffic Light”  Model (red, amber, and green) for hardball squash, and the tennis tactical model (Methode des actions) used by Tennis Canada starting in the early 1990’s (copied and adapted a few years later by Nick Bolletieri:  System 5). It should be mentioned that the Squash Canada Coaching Program independently adapted Tennis Canada’s Action Method into their own tactical model (less directive and evolved than System 3).

The model functions by dividing the squash court into three zones: front, mid, and back, and using the difficulty of the ball received  by the player (easy, medium, difficult), to determine the tactical objective of the player’s shot (attack, rally, defend).  The player realizes their tactical objective by choosing a particular technique (e.g., attack a loose ball in the mid-court with a cross-court volley nick). We have developed a “System 5” for international level players which features two more tactical objectives (force and counter-attack) as well as the use of deception.

In the first part of the analysis, we focused on what David did on defence (against a difficult ball) in the back-court:

  • out of 25 shots to the back, David was on defence (forced use of wrist only, stretched-leaning back, adapted swing) only eight times – her very quick perception got her into position quickly enabling her to “rally” most of the balls;
  • she was able to hit good drives 5/8 times (4/5 straight), being forced to boast only once, with only 2 “bad” (loose) shots;
  • she needed, and was very good at “adapted” shortened swings (versus the full drives we normally teach) and use of the wrist;
  • although not a direct goal of the analysis, it is clear that against Grinham, David’s high percentage of volleys in the mid-court, dramatically reduced the number of times she had to play the ball off the back of the court.
  • often she is not looking at the ball/opponent as her opponent impacts the ball, perhaps indicating reliance on the tactical knowledge of her opponent’s tendencies -perhaps Rachel should have tried a few more “surprise” shots.

Here are the back-court video clips, with the “bad” shots towards the end of the video.  Pausing the video gives insight into her approach into the back, her hitting position, and her recovery back to the “T”. In our next post we will examine Nicol David “rallying” from the back-court.


Tim Bacon, M.A., CSCS is the world’s leading expert on racquet sport science and coaching development having taught all areas of sport science as both a Lecturer at Smith College and as a Coach Developer for the Coaching Association of Canada while actively coaching (Squash Canada Level 4 Coach) and sport psychology consulting (25+ World Champions).  He currently runs his consulting practice out of Northampton, MA and maintains his active coaching as the Assistant Squash Coach at Wesleyan University during the CSA squash season (Nov. 1 – Mar. 1).


4 Simple Steps to Practical Mental Training for Squash

September 21, 2016

Since sport psychology exploded onto the world scene with the 1976 Montreal Olympics there have been literally thousands of books and articles published on how to “do mental training”.  My particular approach was adopted by the Coaching Association of Canada and integrated into their 5-Level coaching system – I wrote the sport psychology content for Levels 1,2, and 3 (French version). Here is the original article describing my approach:    Bacon (1989). Periodization of Mental Training.

My approach has been always been very practical (I have never stopped coaching and competing) and simple and continues to be supported by current research and involves 4 steps – which can be 4 one-hour team meetings,  that can be implemented by either a coach or a mental training consultant.  In support of the 24 athletes on the 1988 World Champion Canadian Racquetball Team, I trained the National and Assistant National Coaches to deliver my program via email, telephone, mail, and training camps – very well evaluated by the team members – so you do not actually need a sport psychologist to support your athletes in the mental area:

  1. Introductory meeting (60 min.) To help guide athletes to enquire about and learn lessons from their own best and worst sport performances.  Athletes complete an individual form and we take up some of the answers in a group setting.  I introduce Jim Loehr’s Ideal Performance State (IPS) model – still the simplest out there in 2016 – you can download a copy here:  ipsloehrsports.
  2. Goal-Setting and Introduction to Mental Skills meeting (60 min.) There are a multitude of  goal-setting forms available, but Terry Orlick’s form is still the best with key questions on dream, realistic and specific mental goals.  My mental skills approach involves having the athletes do 1-2 basic 2-3 minute exercises from each of the five categories of skills: relaxation, positive self-talk, activation, visualization and concentration – followed by a 2-3 min. I facilitate a short discussion on how these skills can be used in an actual competition.  Optional additional self-assessment questionnaires (very short or more comprehensive) can be completed by the athletes to help them zone in on specific areas they need to work on.  Orlick also has a short one-page “self-directed interview” the athletes can complete before this meeting.  Here is a link to a YouTube video where I demonstrate the different exercises.
  3. Focus Plan meeting (60 min.).  To help athletes to write a one-page plan on a) how to prepare optimally, both physically and mentally for a competition; b) how to focus their attention at key moments in a competition (e.g., start, in between points, near the end of a game, near the end of a match, etc.).  Here is one of the forms we have used in the past:  Squash Focus Plan Form and a post with more details on how to develop a Focus Plan.
  1. Distraction Control (Refocus) Plan and Competition Evaluation meeting (60 min.).  To help athletes  develop a written list of situations that cause them to play poorly or lose their focus, and though group discussion lead them to find possible solutions to get back on track.  The final step is to introduce an evaluation process – which includes a written form – that they can complete after every competition to speed up their “experience” and development of mental toughness.  Here is one of the forms we have used in the past:  squash-match-evaluation-form.

Psyching for Sport

The meeting format I use closely follows the meeting format recommended by Terry Orlick in his book Psyched for Sport (out of print but available used on Amazon.com) – all Canadian National Team and Olympic coaches have been trained in this approach.  Canada is generally recognized as having one of the top coaching training programs in the world.  in fact you cannot coach on a Canadian National team if you have not obtained your Level 4 Coaching Certification (I got mine way back in 1988 in the first cohort of Squash Canada Level 4 coaches).

Summary

Following the above four-meeting approach above, a coach will meet the needs of about 80% of their athletes (80/20 rule:).  There will always be athletes that need more assistance in developing mental toughness and solving “mental problems”.

If you need help preparing  your mental training program, or would want to engage me to run the meetings for your team drop me a line at squashscience@gmail.com – rates start at $50 U.S. per hour.  Here is a link to my Facebook Page.


Tim Bacon, M.A., CSCS is the world’s leading expert on racquet sport science and coaching development having taught all areas of sport science as both a Lecturer at Smith College and as a Coach Developer for the Coaching Association of Canada while actively coaching (Certified Squash, Tennis & Badminton Coach) and sport psychology consulting (25+ World Champions).  He currently runs his consulting practice out of Northampton, MA and maintains his active coaching as the Assistant Squash Coach at Wesleyan University during the CSA squash season (Nov. 1 – Mar. 1).

 

 


College & High School Squash Periodization: The Transition Phase starts now!

March 24, 2015

Periodization Chart

Periodization for a college or high school squash coach involves dividing the training and competitive year into four periods (hence the name periodization or periodisation in the Commonwealth and French-speaking countries) in order to make planning easier easier to understand and implement. The short official seasons – about 18 weeks from mid-October to March 1st – of U.S. colleges and high school present some unique challenges in seeking to optimize athlete performance.  The basics of periodization are outlined in some of my previous posts – if you want an overview of what the content of an annual squash periodized plan would look like you can check out this link..  The purpose of this article is to focus on the final period of the annual plan – the transition phase. Before North American squash coaches learned about periodization, this time of year was called the off-season – it started after the National Championships and ended in the fall a few weeks before the start of the next season’s squash tournaments.  In the U.S., many squash players would play tennis in the summer. The disadvantage of this old fashioned approach was that a player would lose nearly all of their squash-specific conditioning, and recommence the next season back at the same level as the prior season.  I have adapted current periodization theory (e.g., Bompa, 2009) and have developed several key recommendations for squash coaches for the Transition Period – the new functional term for “off-season”. Focus X2i iPad My first recommendations center around doing a thorough analysis of athlete performance:

  • Do a thorough evaluation of your players technical, tactical, physical and mental performance at the end of the season – preferably during key matches and final practices leading up to the final competition of the year.
  • A comprehensive technical-tactical analysis of your players is perhaps the most important thing you can do, as this evaluation will form the foundation of their goal-setting for the next season.  This is best done by analyzing match video using a good game analysis software such as FocusX2i for iPad and a logical tactical framework such as the Zone or Egg Model that I use for my analyses.  If you have not done this before, I offer a consulting service where you can send me your player’s video file and I will do the analysis for you – including improvement recommendations and player goals based on the statistics from the analysis.  Alternatively I can train coaches in the use of the software and show you or your assistants how to do your own analysis.
  • An analysis of your player’s mental performance can be done by examining their post-match evaluation forms (if you have used them) for the last few crucial matches of the season, or via paper and pencil tests such as the TOPS (I can provide questionnaires and scoring instructions).
  • An evaluation of your players’ fitness can be done by using their last few fitness test results (ideally one test for each of the three energy systems) and also by simply asking the players to assess each of the physical qualities essential for squash.  The other way is simply to note their performance level during the last few workouts of the season (before the peaking or unloading phase).

Egg Model for Squash Tactics My second set of recommendations concern general advice for the Transition Phase (adapted from Bompa, 2012):

  • Have your players take 4-6 weeks where they do not play squash, but instead do fun and cross-training activities (ultimate frisbee, swimming, etc.) about three times a week, that allow them to maintain their aerobic fitness and slow down the loss of speed and strength gains.
  • This is the period where they should try and rehab any injuries acquired during the season.
  • There should be limited, formal strength training sessions – and if there are any they should be of lower intensity (think strength-endurance: lighter weights 12-15 reps) and feature a high proportion of complementary exercises.  For example the types of exercises found in Exos’ prehabilitation and movement preparation.  One to two sessions a week should be sufficient to serious significant detraining.
  • Especially in the two weeks following the major competition, 15-20 minutes on an exercise bike followed by foam rolling, tennis ball myofascial release and use of a stretching rope 3-4 times a week will aid in regeneration.
  • If athletes set their goals for the next season in the week after the major competition, there is no need to do any formal technical, tactical, or mental training during the transition phase – they can just chill and relax.
  • After 4-6 weeks of the above, players can start their preparation for the next season by starting on their Preparatory Period training activities – a topic I will address in the coming weeks.

 Application for Squash Coaches

  1. Make sure to plan and schedule a 4-6 week “transition” period following your major squash championship in order to allow your players to fully regenerate for the next season.
  2. Do a thorough evaluation, including match video analysis, in order to set effective and meaningful goals with your players at the end of the season.

October Western MA Advanced Squash Training

September 23, 2014

Egg Model for Squash TacticsThis is the Tim Bacon “Egg Model of Squash Tactics” which we will be focusing on this month.  Acknowledgements to Yvon Provencal who taught the basic model to me (he learned it from Kevin Parker) and to William Smith’s Chip Fishback for his wonderful graphic and refinements (“Toast” and “Poached”).

Four Tuesdays 7-9 pm – Free Play right after 9:00-9:30 pm

National Team quality training with Tim Bacon, Level 4 Squash Coach and former Canadian Jr. National Coach (coach of World #1 Jonathon Power) and certified strength (CSCS) and mental training consultant (CMTR):

– tactical training: learn how to make the right shot at the right time using my Egg Model of Squash Tactics.

– technical training: individual video feedback (you receive video clip with audio and visual corrections) on your major flaws and how to correct them;

– physical training: learn the essentials to prevent squash injuries;

– mental training: learn how to analyze your performances and make a short mental plan to play your best

Every week will feature all four types of training with a minimum of 1.5 hrs. drills and playing and about 30 min. of physical/mental training of-court between 7 and 9 pm.

Free play following the training where Tim will roam, answer questions and give feedback.

1 Tuesday October 7:

– New Movement Prep Exercises EXOS system: movement prep\.

– Egg Model Tactics: learn to choose the right shots from: a) outside the egg; b) inside the yolk; c) in the egg white:)

– how to regenerate after play to minimize soreness – how to use the rollers, stretch ropes,  tennis balls,

2 Tuesday October 14 (Allen Fitzimmons is guest pro – exposure to new great ideas for improvement!):

–  Prehab: Key strength exercises to balance the body and avoid injury;

– Allen’s favorite training drills and games (got his team  10 spots up the ranking in one year!)

– Regeneration:  more post-training exercises:  Exos Regeneration Activities

3 Tuesday October 21:

– Alternate Egg Model games & drills

– Guest Strength Coach Skylar Marcoux with more injury prevention and balancing exercises

4  Tuesday, October 28

-Patterns of play (4):  from World master’s Champ Australian Kevin parker

– Video feedback: Put it all together and get video feedback on your match play and strokes – here I analyze World #1:

– Learn the best drills and conditioned games to keep your game sharp all season long

– Marking and Refereeing:  Using the WSF Line of Thinking

Registration and Payment

The cost of the four clinics is $100/person when payment is received (full refund if cancellation received 7 days prior to first clinic) by October  1.  (credit card, check, Venmo, Square, Paypal). The cost after October 1 for the four, or to just drop in and show up on a weekly basis is $30 per evening cash only.  Email Tim at tbacon@smith.edu to register and call him at 1-413-330-8222 with any questions.  **25% off – so $75 prepaid only by October 1, for all 4-session participants in September’s Training**


September Western MA Squash Training

July 31, 2014

Zone Model for Squash TacticsThis is the Tim Bacon “Zone Model” for squash tactics that we will be focusing on this month.  Acknowledgements to Princeton’s Bob Callahan and Gail Ramsay for allowing me to implement the model at their camps and helping with the details, and most recently to William Smith’s Chip Fishback for his wonderful graphic of the model!

 

Four Tuesdays 7-9 pm – Free Play right after 9:00-9:30 pm

National Team quality training with Tim Bacon, Level 4 Squash Coach and former Canadian Jr. National Coach (coach of World #1 Jonathon Power) and certified strength (CSCS) and mental training consultant (CMTR):

– tactical training: learn how to make the right shot at the right time;

– technical training: individual video feedback (you receive video clip with audio and visual corrections) on your major flaws and how to correct them;

– physical training: learn the essentials to prevent squash injuries;

– mental training: learn how to analyze your performances and make a short mental plan to play your best

Every week will feature all four types of training with a minimum of 1.5 hrs. drills and playing and about 30 min. of physical/mental training of-court between 7 and 9 pm.

Free play following the training where Tim will roam, answer questions and give feedback.

1 Tuesday September 9:

– How to get your body ready for squash – the EXOS system: movement prep\.

Zone tactics – learn to choose the right shots from the front-, mid- and back-court.

– how to regenerate after play to minimize soreness – how to use the rollers and tennis balls.

2 Tuesday September 16:

–  Prehab: Key strength exercises to balance the body and avoid injury;

– Alternate zone games & drills:  front, mid-, back-court. Here are some front court game/drill links.

– Regeneration:  more post-training exercises:  Exos Regeneration Activities

3 Tuesday September 23:

– Exos strength – focus on prehab and injury prevention – with Skylar Marcoux – Certified Strength Specialist and Smith ESS MSc. student (she was the strength person for our team last year!)

– More zone games and drills – here is a sample from the PPS Summer Camp with World #1 Karim Darwish and Miguel Rodriguez (top 30):  Zone Model Drills

– Breathing before your serve to clear head and relax – and other competitive mental skills:

 

 

 

 

4  Tuesday, September 30

– Video feedback: Put it all together and get video feedback on your match play and strokes – here I analyze World #1: 

– and here Karim demonstrates the grip/wrist necessary to optimally play squash:

– Learn the best drills and conditioned games to keep your game sharp all season long – here are the basic ones for this week:

Play out point after prescribed conditions performed.

(always straight drop or X in front)

Back – A serves, B cannot volley;

Back – A serves deep and straight from front T – B cannot volley – play out pt. (so B drives, def boasts or COLFs).

Mid (volleying) – A serves a) a lob or semi-lob straight & short (first bounce before short line) or b) X and loose (cannot hit side wall) – B volleys straight: i) volley drive (to dying length) or ii) volley drop or kill.

Mid (with a bounce) – A serves “short and medium pace” from back-court behind service box to mid-court – B straight drops balls that land short in the middle, and working boasts balls that are tighter to the side wall, and drives back the balls that are against the side wall (and A re-serves)

Front

A boasts, B a) drops low, hard 3-wall def. boast – if B drops – A must REDROP and then play out point. b) drives 2-wall working boast or high def. boast (if you have time to drop – DON’T!!!).

Mental:

Serve/Return Rituals (explain once front game 1 underway).

IPS Focus Plan Lecture (brief – refer to vid).

– Stroke or let?  Two simple models to guide your decisions!

Registration and Payment

The cost of the four clinics is $100/person when payment is received (full refund if cancellation received 7 days prior to first clinic) by Sept. 1.  (credit card, check, Venmo, Paypal). The cost after Sept. 1 for the four or to just drop in and show up on a weekly basis is $30 per evening cash only.  Email Tim at tbacon@smith.edu to register and call him at 1-413-330-8222 with any questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Squash Coach Educates Coaches!

May 21, 2014

I have been designing, writing and delivering coaching education materials for National Sport Governing Bodies, and more recently the Smith College M.Sc. Coaching program since 1987. I have developed coaching materials for the Coaching Association of Canada, but I have also developed coaching content for other organizations including Squash Canada, Tennis Canada and Racquetball Canada.

During this time of sport science teaching I have always been an active coach and competitor, enabling my practical experience to inform my classroom and on-court teaching. I coached the Canadian Jr. Men’s team (featuring a very young Jonathon Power and Graham Ryding) at the 1990 World Championships, and have been the Head coach of Squash at Smith College since 1994.  I have also won the MA 45+ Squash Championships and held a top 10 US Squash 45+ ranking on two occasions, winning the MA Softball Doubles Championships once (with a female partner) and been ranked 23rd in the World Racketlon Doubles Rankings (2007; table tennis, badminton, squash, tennis).

Currently I am a member of the USSRA Coaching Committee and an ASEP Coaching Principles Instructor. I also teach in the Smith College Graduate Program in Coaching, one of only  a handful of NCASE Level 4 Approved Coaching Programs in the U.S.A.

I graduated from the Master’s in Coaching Program at the University of Western Ontario (Coaching/Sport Psychology double), and am the only college coach in the U.S.A. with full-time Head Coach responsibilities and a simultaneous Faculty appointment teaching the equivalent of three, four-credit academic courses.  Recently (at Smith College) I have taught:

  • ESS 110 Introduction to Sports Coaching (undergraduate)
  • ESS 220  Psychology of Sport (undergraduate)
  • ESS 500 Foundations of College Coaching (graduate)
  • ESS 507 Critical Thinking & Coaching Research (graduate)
  • ESS 565  Seminar in Sport Pedagogy & Motor Learning (graduate)
  • ESS 520 Sport Leadership for Sport Coaches (graduate)

Other Smith College courses taught in the past include:

  • ESS 100 Introduction to Exercise & Sport Studies (undergraduate)
  • ESS 130 Stress Management (undergraduate)
  • ESS 505-506 Practicum  (graduate supervisor)

Non-Smith Coaching Education Courses taught:

  • ASEP’s “Coaching Principles” course
  • Coaching Association of Canada’s NCCP Level 1, 2, 3 Theory courses
  • Master Course Conductor for the NCCP, training Facilitators to deliver the above courses, and evaluating their teaching of these courses
  • NCCP Level 4 Courses taught:  Task 7 – Mental Training for Athletes, Task 8 – Mental Training for Coaches, Task 13  – Performance Analysis.

Coaching/Consulting Certification’s Include:

  • NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Member, Canadian Mental Training Registry (equivalent to AASP Certified Consultant)
  • Squash Canada Level 4 Coach (targets national team athletes)
  • Tennis Canada Level 3 Technical Coach (targets U18 jr. national players)
  • Racquetball Canada Level 1 Instructor
  • U.S. Squash Level 3 Certification (highest level)
  • World Professional Squash Association Pro 1 Certification (hardball squash – highest level)

Specific examples of coaching education projects include:

  1. Sport Psychology section of the Racquetball Canada Level 3 Coaching manual.
  2. Contributor to the Sport Psychology chapters of the NCCP (French) Level 1 & 2 Theory Manuals.
  3. Sport Psychology chapter of the NCCP (French) Level 3 Theory Manual.
  4. Sport Psychology material in Tennis Canada’s Coach 2 Manual.
  5. Sport Psychology chapter of Squash Canada’s Level 3 Coaching Manual.
  6. Developed the Sport Psychology competencies for the USSRA Coaching Program.
  7. Course Conductor for Sport Quebec delivering more than 50 Level 1, 2 and 3 Theory courses in both English and French between 1992 and 2000.
  8. Analysed and compared NCCP Level 1-3 French and English Theory learning objectives for the Coaching Association of Canada as a first step in revising their coaching program.
  9. As a Master Course Conductor for the NCCP, trained course conductors to deliver Theory and Integrated Courses.
  10. Helped develop and deliver content at the Princeton Squash Coaches Academy.
  11. Presenter/evaluator for the NCCP Level 4 Sport Psychology Tasks.
  12. Presenter/Evaluator for Squash Canada’s Level 4 Performance Analysis task.
  13. Co-Presenter on Squash Canada’s Level 4 Advanced Tactics task.
  14. Co-Organized and presented at the Squash Coaching Conference at the 1998 Jr, Men’s World Squash Championships.
  15. Facilitated the 2002 USSRA Coaching Conference and the 2006 CSA Coaching Conference.
  16. I have also made presentations at National Coaching Conferences in Canada and overseas, including the U.S.A., Barbados, Trinidad, Egypt, Iran and Spain; and made presentations for the World Professional Squash Association, the College Squash Association, the USSRA, Squash Canada and the World Squash Federation.

I stay up to date via Twitter and by reading scientific journals every month, as well as checking out coaching related new books.  Preparing to teach my courses every year also keeps me sharp!

 

 

Keep an eye out for my summer and fall 2014 Squash Coaching Education opportunities!


Psychological Skills for Squash Coaches???

May 21, 2012

(This is a reprint from my Sports Leadership graduate class that I teach in Smith College’s Department of Exercise & Sport Studies – I think is applies pretty well to the squash environment and summer is a great time for squash coaches to do some professional development:)

This topic could also be entitled:

  • stress management for coaches
  • self-management for coaches
  • mental training for coaches.

The rationale for the necessity of “peak performance” or stress management strategies will be evident after reading the references.  The Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Level 4/5 (i.e., Elite/National Coach) program featured two courses in this area: Task 8: Mental Training for Coaches (which I taught several times at the NCCP National Coaching Conferences – in both English and Francais:) and Task: 16: Enhanced Coaching Performance.

A reminder that this self-paced segment of the course is ungraded, so you may post your “assignment” whenever you wish.  Your assignment is to post a brief summary of:

a) Your current level of “coaching stress” (as opposed to academic or relationship stress).

b) Identify three “mental training” strategies (either ones you use now or from the reference material) that you could use to either improve your “game day” coaching performance or reduce your short term or long term coaching stress.

References (you should read at least two)

Bestsellers in “Success” Self-Help Books

Bradford, S.H., Keshock, C.M.  (2009). Female coaches and job stress:  A review of the literature. College Student Journal, 43, 196-200. (Click here or find on Smith Library’s Sport Discus)

Loehr, J., & Schwartz, T. (2001).  The making of a corporate athlete. Harvard Business Review (January).  Loehr & Schwartz, 2001

Taylor, J. (1992). Coaches are people too:  An applied model of stress management for coaches.  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 4, 27-50.  Taylor (1992)

Thelwell, R. C., Weston, N. V., Greenlees, I. A., & Hutchings, N. V. (2008). A qualitative exploration of psychological skills use in coaches. Sport Psychologist, 22, 38-53.  PST For Coaches

Other Resources

Stress Map – this was the “text” in my Level 4 Enhanced Coaching Performance course given by Peter

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – point form summary could be useful – and here is a useful downloadable weekly planner based on the book.