In this second video example of a Games Approach coaching session, the objective of the session is to work on the game situation where the player in the front is working on her deception by lobbing or dropping straight off a boast from the back of the court.
In this example, Shona Kerr, the player in front is winning most of the points (trained as a young girl in the use of the “Pakistani wrist” by Hiddy Jahan) so the emphasis of the session has switched to helping Chris who is responding to Shona’s lob or drop in the front.
By starting with a game instead of a drill, Chris’ weakness in this game situation becomes apparent. Through the use of questioning by the squash coach (a key characteristic of the Games Approach) is becomes evident that he is not really aware of how his “T” position can influence the success of his opponent’s tactics, or his best options in response to her drop attack – although he becomes aware by the questioning process.
The initial game can be modified easily (as it was in this example with the added “redrop” condition) to make the initial game easier or more difficult, or to emphasize a different aspect or tactic. Both players spend the entire time practicing in game-like conditions so appear to be motivated (without coach reminders) to recover, hustle and try their hardest.
The second step of the Games Approach, to drill the different options in more traditional drilling practice (in this case the straight drop and lob), was skipped because Shona demonstrated solid deception and quality lobs and drops. We could have assessed her performance under more pressure by having the coach start with either a straight drive feed or a boast, which would have forced a later start from further back by presenting her from early anticipation of the boast.
Tim Bacon, M.A., CSCS is the world’s leading expert on racquet sport science and coaching development having taught all areas of sport science as both a Lecturer at Smith College and as a Coach Developer for the Coaching Association of Canada while actively coaching (Certified Squash, Tennis & Badminton Coach) and sport psychology consulting (25+ World Champions). He currently runs his consulting practice out of Northampton, MA and maintains his active coaching as the Assistant Squash Coach at Wesleyan University during the CSA squash season (Nov. 1 – Mar. 1).