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…