Developing a Squash World Champion: Align Your LTAD & Coaching Programs

April 8, 2009

Although squash is played in 153 countries around the world, it is not as well developed as some of  the world’s more popular or richer sports like soccer or tennis.  A small, well organized group of dedicated squash coaches (e.g. currently the Egyptians) can develop world class players, and even a world champion. If we look at the recent history of the squash world rankings, we can see that there is quite a bit of movement near the top of the rankings on both the men’s and women’s side in terms of the players’ nationality.  We also see a lot of successful solo efforts that cross national boundaries such as Liz Irving’s (Australia) coaching of Nicol David (Malaysia).

In terms of sheer numbers in the top 100, the English dominate simply because of greater numbers and government related money that is put into player development (more than any other country).  You can read this post to explore the economics of developing champions.

In order to achieve sustainable results, squash nations need to take advantage of the advances in sport science. This means using a system where the coaching certification program and actual coaching programs used in squash clubs are in perfect alignment with  a nation’s comprehensive Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) system:

An LTAD Aligned Coaching & Club Training System

An LTAD Aligned Coaching & Club Training System

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Rethinking Squash Coaching Education

March 9, 2009

Currently, most Squash Coaching Education programs are organized based on a hierarchy of technique:

Level 1 Coaching Course – coaches learn how to teach the basic shots.
Level 2 Coaching Course – coaches learn how to teach the intermediate shots.
Level 3 Coaching Course – coaches learn how to teach advanced shots.

The problem with this approach is that there is so much more to good squash coaching than simply “teaching shots”.  Depending on the actual function the squash coach is fufilling (e.g., Assistant Pro in a club responsible for junior clinics or Part-time National Coach for a World Championship 2-year cycle) the skill set that the coach needs to acquire and demonstrate are very different.  The “clients” (i.e., athletes) of these two different types of coaches also have very different expectations about the person guiding their efforts to improve.

Stages and Ages of an LTAD

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