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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Bi-Cycle for Squash Coaches: Periodization’s Transition Phase

March 6, 2009

I was  introduced to periodization of squash training during my 1987 Squash Canada Level 4 Coaching Certification Course by Rene Denis.  At the time Rene was the Canadian Jr. Men’s National Coach (I was his assistant – his teams included Jonathon Power and Graham Ryding), but he also collaborated with Tudor Bompa in designing a periodized version of a Training Diary for National Coaches – that is, all coaches – all sports.  He was the Course Conductor (Tutor for Commonwealth folk) for the Planning Task.  The final assignment for the Level 4 Course was to submit a periodized annual plan for all of the training factors:  technical, tactical, physical and psychological.

bompa

What is a bicycle?  I mean bi-cycle in periodization terms?  It is an annual training and competition plan with two peaks (hence “bi”).  Periodization is the division of a certain time period into “cycles”.  A concrete example would be a college, high school or junior athlete in North America who has just finished their March 1st championships, but want to play in the National Championships in mid- or end of April. Read the rest of this entry »