An LTAD Example for Junior Squash Coaches

January 20, 2009

A major criticism of U.S. Squash (and tennis), that also applies to North American sport in general, is that training activities are too squash-specific, too early in an athlete’s development, and feature too much technical work at the expense of developing a wider range of athletic abilities.

Here is a concrete example of what is meant by too squash-specific and too technical.  Imagine a typical junior private lesson for a 9-year old at the “X” Cricket & Tennis Club in City X.  After a short warm-up, the well-meaning squash professional spends 20 minutes on the forehand drive and 20 minutes on the backhand drive, correcting grip, backswing, follow through, and improving the students ability to hit the squash ball down the wall to land behind the back of the service box – finishing the lesson with a short, coach controlled game.

Contrast that with a second scenario, in which after 30-minutes of on-court instructions our 9-year old takes part in 30 minutes of the type of training activities that take place in this video:

Can you imagine the difference in the development of athletic potential?  Faced with the constraints of a beginner’s racquet skills, the nature of the bounce of the squash ball, and the confines of a squash court, it is not possible for our well-meaning squash professional to develop the type of athletic skills necessary for success at the elite level in squash – as depicted in this video (focus on White’s retrieving in the second rally):

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