Happy Birthday Geoff Hunt (and me:)!

March 20, 2012

Source unknown.

  • Geoff Hunt was born on March 11, 1947; I was born on March 11, 1957.
  • Geoff Hunt started playing squash at the age of 12, was at his peak in 1977 – the year I started playing squash (at the age of 19).  In 1977 Canada had three official types of squash: balls, national championships, rules.  We used to play them all – sometimes all three on the same day!
  • Geoff Hunt ran his legendary 26(?) x 400’s @ 75s; I ran 24 x 400’s @ 80-85s for interval training.
  • Geoff Hunt won 6 British Opens and several world Championships; I won the 1986 Canadian National Hardball Championship Consolation in 1986 (Finalist 1987) – I beat the 1988 Open Champion Mark Barber 3-0, coming back from 13-11 down (playing to 15) in three consecutive games.  In softball, I played “A” league until I headed down to the U.S. in 1994, whereupon I took about 10 years off competitive play until the mid 2000’s. Then several Massachusetts 45+ State Championships, and was U.S. Squash 45+ top 10-ranked 2004-2006 (?);
  • Geoff Hunt was Head Coach at the Australian Institute for Sport, leaving High Performance sport to go and coach currently at a much lower level in Qatar; I was Canadian National Jr. Men’s Coach and psychology consultant to the Canadian National Squash Team Programs from 1987 to 2000 (as well as National Tennis and Racquetball Programs)  leaving to coach currently at a much lower level at Smith College.
  • Geoff Hunt has had two hip replacements; I have had one hip replacement (need the other one too!). Note: I personally know more than 30 squash coaches who have had hip replacements, so we were not alone in our belief that high volume training was the way to go!

I actually had my very first squash private lesson in 1978 with another Australian, Heather McKay, at the Toronto Squash Club, one of the few facilities in Toronto that actually had wide international courts. I prepped for the lesson by reading her book, only to be chided “Why are you trying to volley everything?  Two years later I was playing her in an exhibition match – at that point we both worked for the Racquet Sports Group of Canada – I was manager/pro at the Sherbourne Club (11 American/2 International courts), and she was the pro at the Dunfield Club.

But “our” (meaning the “B” and later “A” league players I played squash with) Bible at the time was Geoff’s Book “Geoff Hunt on Squash“.  Typed summaries of his two Chapters “Match Play” and “Tempo and Temperament” could be found on the bulletin boards of nearly every club.  I wholeheartedly embraced the Australian “attritional” , fitness-based approach to squash – although now I realize a much wiser and healthier approach would have been to cultivate the current attacking Egyptian style.

These chapters, as well as being “tactical” were also “mental”.  Phrases such as “play hard from the start” and “never throw a game” reverberated through my head during tough matches.  Later as a very busy mental training consultant, I realized this list of key points or cues was actually a basic “focus Plan” for squash players.  At the time there were only a couple of actual sport psychology books, with the number only increasing dramatically in the late 1980’s.

I actually started coaching squash the summer after I played it for the first time.  My first job that featured coaching squash was Head Instructor at the 1978 JCC Summer Racquets Camp – we taught tennis, squash, badminton, racquetball and ping pong.  My current competitive interest still involves all of the racquet sports:  Racketlon!

I am pretty sure I could take Geoff in a ping pong match – but just to be sure I may wait another 10 years to challenge my hero on his birthday!


Happy Holidays Squash Coaches! (Squash Vacations & 15% off sport science books)

December 20, 2008

We are off to Jamaica tomorrow for a tennis teaching vacation – after 32 days of rehab, my new right hip is ready to get on court and teach (tennis not squash)!  At this point I do not intend to return to squash competition and regain my #4, 45+ U.S. ranking, preferring instead to get back  our #3 spot in the World Racketlon Mixed Doubles Championship , which will probably be enough squash for my hips (they always hit to the woman:).

Fitpro Travel also offers squash teaching vacations, as done my friend and former Canadian Jr. National Coach Rene Denis’ organization, Sportausoleil – all you need is a basic squash coaching certification.  At the start of post-op week five, my physiotherapist has just started me on bodyweight squats and lunges, in addition to a multitude of other intricate exercises, so my return to the squash court is imminent (although I have done stationary drilling already) – I hope give it a try down in Puerto Vallarta at the start of January.  I will be training at the same club and time as Jonathon Power’s (my former pupil) Fantasy Squash Club.  At this point I can enthusiastically recommend my orthopedic surgeon, Stephen Murphy, M.D., if you have access to the U.S., and need a new hip! Obviously there are many alternative surgical approaches out there and you need to do your research very carefully.

For most of us squash coaches the holidays can be a great time to catch up on our sport science reading – so I would like to pass on a 15% savings on Human Kinetics (largest sport book publisher in the world) products – just enter promo code E5031 (details below – not sure it will work for non-U.S. coaches but give it a try).

Upcoming January and February posts on this site for squash coaches will include:  Nicol David rallying in the back-court, Neil Harvey on mental toughness, CSA 2006 Coaching Conference highlights, more biomechanics of squash examples, and “physiological” on-court squash drills.

All the best in 2009!

Tim Bacon

In Appreciation of You from Human Kinetics

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