Teaching Squash Beginner’s (and other raquet sports too)!

August 27, 2010

As September rolls around most of us squash coaches, whether club or college, are going to be put in the position of introducing groups of new players to squash (and perhaps other racquet sports).  To make a long story short, most of the mainstream coaching world has finally caught up with a pedagogy that has been around for 30 years – unfortunately it takes several generations for new knowledge to filter down to the average coach whose primary choice of pedagogy (teaching methods) is to “teach the way that they were taught”.

In this series of videos from my Squash Science YouTube Channel I explain the rationale behind a progressive approach to teaching beginning racquet sports.  The “old” method of demonstrating and explaining the whole, complete final skill – and then working by “correction” (instead of progression) only works with “talented” learners (and demotivates and discourages untalented learners).  Obviously the costly (and inefficient in terms of developing a nation of players) private lesson coach has more latitude to use old-style methods.  These principles of learning apply to all racquet sports, something I learned as Head Instructor of the Toronto JCC Racquet Sports Camps in the summers of 1978 & 1979 – and as a recent racketlon player. I have embedded the first video, and provide links to the others.

Introduction to Teaching Racquet Sports to Large Groups of Beginners – Part 1

Teaching Racquet Sports to Large Groups of Beginners – Part 2

Teaching Racquet Sports to Large Groups of Beginners – Part 3

Teaching Racquet Sports to Large Groups of Beginners – Part 4

Teaching Racquet Sports to Large Groups of Beginners – Part 5

Finally, here is the recent ITF rationale for a progressive approach to teaching racquet sports:


A Progressive Approach to Teaching Racquet Sports – Part 2

August 27, 2009

Part one of this three part series covered the rationale behind using a Progressive Approach when introducing players, young or old, to squash and the other racquet sports.  In this second video, we  make a recommendation  to use a racquetball racquet as the starting “implement” no matter what racquet sport you coach.  It has the largest hitting surface, closest to the hand, making it the easiest weapon of choice.  The only easier implement would be Ken Watson’s Big Hand – a sport “glove” to really make contact with a ball easier – a great product.

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Ask the Squash Sport Scientist a Question #1

August 14, 2009

With almost 30,000 hits in little over a year, our Science of Coaching Squash blog does get the occasional question. Since in general, we squash coaches are an isolated bunch, I will post any questions with my short initial response. Others are more than welcome to chime in as obviously there is no one correct answer!

Question #1 received from Dr. Shawkat Gaber (shawkat435@hotmail.com) yesterday, August 13, 2009:

“What is the correct order to teach the skills of squash?”

Thank goodness the first question was such a simple one!

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