Twitter with Science of Coaching Squash!

April 18, 2009

Sometimes you have a great thought about the Science of Coaching Squash but it is not quite blog-worthy.  That is where another one of the seemingly endless Web 2.0 tools comes in – and right now it is the hottest – and that is Twitter!

Twitter with Science of Coaching Squash

Twitter with Science of Coaching Squash

Take a look to the upper right of this page and you will see that Science of Coaching Squash is using Twitter to get those great ideas out quickly – links, articles, posts, books, etc. – it can all be done via iPhone as a squash sport scientist stumbles through life.  Just click on the “Twitter Squash Science” – our Twitter ID is “squashscience” and away you go.  You can also follow those who we are following (if you follow).  Right now I am following Coreperformance and PtOntheNet – two great sites for developing strength programs for our squash athletes (both of which are on Facebook by the way – but that is a story for another day).

Skype Coaching for Squash!

November 22, 2008


We posted a few months ago about how new Web 2.0 tools can help a squash coach do an exemplary job.  Here is another concrete Skype example that would work for either youth development  or elite coaches of WISPA or PSA Tour athletes.

**Update Nov. 24/08 – Skype picked up this article and interviews me on use of Skype here .**

Last week I went on medical  leave from my job as Head Coach of Squash of the Smith College Squash Team in order to have my right hip replaced (joining my squash idols Jonah Barrington and Geoff Hunt in having run too many miles, run too many 24 X 400’s, and played too many attritional matches, albeit at a much lower level:).  Although my replacement Erin Robson has quickly stepped in and done an outstanding job, 13 of my team entered a flight tournament this weekend, which means that Erin needed some help with the coaching, as they each played a minimum of three matches!

Travel to Smith was out of the question, so we resolved our problem with  the help of Skype as depicted in the video below:

If you are totally new to Skype, here is a quick, fun intro:

Three More Great E-Newsletters for Squash Coaches!

October 3, 2008

The more teaching and research I do the more I am convinced that printed books are going the way of the Dodo bird.  More and more in my Introduction to Exercise & Sport Studies class at Smith College I am using YouTube videos, podcasts and links to websites as first exposure to sport science topics such as biomechanics, physiology and sport psychology.  We then follow this up by directing students to more scholarly work using the SportDiscus database for which there is no charge at Smith College.  We are lucky enough to be the only Liberal Arts College in the U.S.A. with both a Graduate Program in Exercise & Sport Studies (ESS) and a Minor at the undergraduate level.  As an aside, we have graduated seven women with M.Sc.’s who have trained with me as assistant coaches in our varsity team program in the last 15 years.  Read the rest of this entry »

Free Newsletters (Good Ones!) for Squash Coaches

September 19, 2008

I just got the National Strength & Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Performance Training Journal (or Jounral as they have written it below – way to fight that strongman stereotype!) in my e-mail inbox..  As an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) I get two professional journals with my membership, but this publication is also designed for the practicing coach:

“is published monthly with informative strength and conditioning topics based on sound research and practical application.  Subscriptions are free of charge and can be set up to send a monthly email reminder right to your computer. So, whether you are a strength and conditioning professional, or a serious weekend warrior, NSCA’s Performance Training Journal provides the information you need when you need it.”

NSCA Performance Journal

NSCA Performance Journal

Read the rest of this entry »

Web 2.0 for Squash Coaches – Part II

August 12, 2008

In our first post on Web 2.0 for Squash Coaches we looked at WordPress (blogging) and Skype as two practical, easy to use tools for coaches.  We continue with the ubiquitous YouTube and Facebook.

No more bulky VHS tapes, and tape compatibility issues, no more burning CDs and DVDs, no cumbersome e-mails files.  Now squash coaches can broadcast and distribute video media to their teams and fans effortlessly and for free.  Here are some of the best things that YouTube facilitates:

  • broadcast team matches for fans & semester abroad athletes
  • publish instructional videos
  • refer athletes to training videos
  • refer athletes to Pro squash matches (who needs TV?)
  • video recruiting adverts for your program

Broadcasting your own video, for example a squash game, can be done is a few easy steps:

  1. Video the game using a digital camcorder (all the camcorders are digital now – if not under $300)
  2. Transfer video from camcorder to PC (Mac or Windows).
  3. Use free software (Windows Moviemaker or Apple iMovie) to edit video to under 10 minutes.
  4. After opening a YouTube account, upload video to your account.
  5. Send or publish link to interested parties.

This blog has a channel  here, and we have used YouTube for both team stroke analysis (Dartfish on the cheap!) and recruiting.

If you really want to stay in touch and get to know your team outside of practice, the social utility Facebook is a great tool.  This is a great place to form a community of team, alums, friends and supporters to help everyone stay in touch in and out-of-season, through, chat, e-mail, photos, video, posts, all in one place.  It has a lot less formal feel than e-mail, and it is very easy to set privacy limits, something that initially was a concern when Facebook came on the scene.  Here is a great article from the Chronicle of Higher Education that provides an update on Facebook.

If you have not already, find out a bit more about the four Web 2.0 tools we have covered and perhaps give them a try!

Ahead…IPhone for Squash Coaches

Web 2.0 for Squash Coaches – Indispensable!

August 9, 2008

As a member of Faculty at Smith College I get invitations to Faculty teaching workshops that my fellow coaches in the Athletics Department are not invited to.  In the last year and a half I have been fortunate enough to participate in one workshop and a conference on “Web 2.0”, and can tell you that you cannot coach in the new millenium without it!

What is Web 2.0?

You can read about orthodox definitions of Web 2.0 here – but my personal definition is “very useful internet based tools that are highly interactive (facilitate sharing and communication amongst people) and easy to use.  Easy to use means quick to learn with almost no training involved and no set-up required – if you can sign up for an account online and use the “attachment” function in your e-mail program you are ready to go.

Here are the four most useful Web 2.0 tools for coaches and some examples of their uses:

Create your own website where you can write articles, post links, and post photos and videos without having to learn HTML! WordPress is what I believe to be the “friendliest” blogging software, although there are others.  The feel of using WordPress is exactly the same feeling as writing an e-mail – type your thoughts – then hit “publish” instead of “send. You can create blogs for your team, for recruiting, for training programs, etc. Go to YouTube for a step-by-step tutorial. This site is a blog and here is our Smith Squash team blog.

Skype is simply web-based software that lets you make free internet phone calls to other Skype members, or very cheap (.02 cents?) calls to landlines or mobiles (a bit more expensive).  I cannot believe there are members in my department who still do not have an account – and I cannot believe administrators do not insist we use it to save on recruiting calls.  The big extra with Skype is that if you have a webcam (under $20) you can make video calls to your contact and have almost real human interaction.  I ran one of my Psychology of Sport classes with Skype from a doctor’s waiting room in Boston by having one of my students place her web cam-enabled laptop at the front of the classroom! Chat with JYA’s, monitor practice, webcast games (small parts that is), chat with recruits, have guest speakers chat with your team at practice…the list of uses goes on.

In part 2 we will cover YouTube and FaceBook…