Squash Coaches: Train “Situations” not “Strokes”

We have published quite a few posts on the current Tactics First approach to developing thinking, smart squash players.  The key concept is that teaching technique alone (e.g., backhand lesson, forehand lesson) and leaving the match play and tactics to the student (laissez-faire approach) in their formative years does not encourage squash intelligence.  Squash is much more than striking the ball well. It is one of the most tactical individual sports and involves considerable perception, anticipation (reading the opponent) and decision-making (attacking weaknesses not strengths) on every point.  I would wager that squash is the most tactical of the individual sports – with more individual player decisions per minute of play than any other sport (in team sports like football it is the coach making most of the tactical decisions).  Our coaching needs to reflect this priority and we need to start training situations not strokes right from the very beginning of a player’s career.

How does a squash coach go about actually planning a Tactics First lesson or training session?  Here is a template that  coaches can use to plan a lesson around a particular tactical situation:

Tactics First Squash Lesson Template

Look for some video examples of Tactics First training in the coming weeks (maybe even days:).  In the meantime, here is some brief background reading from the ACE Coaching site – the leading proponent of a tactics first approach for tennis:

Game Based Approach for Tennis

6 Responses to Squash Coaches: Train “Situations” not “Strokes”

  1. […] Deception: Games Approach Example Here is a video example of a coaching session using the Games Approach method to teach deception in the front court. Notice the following in comparison to a “usual” […]

  2. […] The Long Answer: The long answer really depends on your philosophy of teaching squash, which depends on your own background and knowledge of sports pedagogy. Are you teaching adults who have no aspirations of top play, or a group of talented youths who might have national level potential (in which case you can let your nation’s squash LTAD guide you – except none of them have been fleshed out and therefore contain no specific to answer your question)? Are you a technique-oriented squash coach who teaches “strokes”, or have you embraced the Tactics-First Games Approach? […]

  3. […] Squash Tactics: WISPA Grinham-Grainger Examples There is very little published on squash tactics – and even less on differences between men’s and women’s squash tactics.  The […]

  4. […] Tactics First or Games Approach for all sessions – everything learned will be in a useful, practical, tactical context – no boring lectures – every sessions starts with a different tactical game and we go from there! […]

  5. […] the PPS Squash camp at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania – I designed the camp based on a Tactics First approach – every session started with a conditioned game so that we could assess the campers in a […]

  6. […] ever actually using it (Yvon kept it at his club!) since I had already been indoctrinated into a “tactics first” approach through my exposure to Tennis Canada’s “Methode des actions” (read “Tactics […]

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