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This time I would like to reflect on the function of the coach. Very often I am asked what is so important about a coach and what is its added value. Many players can’t do without it, others don’t benefit from it at all. What is the value of coaching?

Quality Squash Stores has helped make this article about squash possible. Their squash webshop is www.qss-squash.com.

First of all, it is very important to know that coaching in our squash sport is very undervalued. We do not have the same position and popularity as, for example, a tennis coach. This is often the face of the club and in tennis it is obvious that players who start tennis first follow a number of lessons to learn the different techniques. In squash this is unfortunately not the case. The clubs where coaches are active, certainly experience the added value of it, because they do not only take care of the training, but they also do many other things outside of it.

What are the tasks of the coach?
– Individual (private) lessons
– Team training
– Organizing tournaments
– Organising competition
– Rackets strung
– Coaching club teams
– Promotion of squash club (youth)
– Squash shop

Of course there is a big difference between the various clubs, because not all clubs have a coach permanently employed, which is actually the ideal situation, because then there will be a real coach culture within the club. In addition to a number of tasks, the coach must also have certain skills.

Skills:
– Leader
– Teacher
– Organiser
– Friend
– Humorist (good mood)
– Motivator
– Basic knowledge of the game
– Discipline
– Appearance
– Friendly
– Examples are
– Guide

When someone possesses a large part of these skills, you can immerse yourself in the profession of “squash coach”. And that’s where the catch lies. At the moment, in my opinion, there are too few qualified coaches in the Netherlands. To go back to tennis, you can’t start training or teaching without some form of education. As head coach of SBN I also strive for such a situation. Fortunately, SBN has a nice training program where coaches can develop themselves further and where they can acquire certain knowledge and where they can also continue to build their coaching career. This is essential in this profession. In this way, we also get competent coaches in our squash.

What does a competent coach stand for? 
– Provides good feeling during training and games
– Strives to improve every player
– Is concerned about dealing with players
– Is competent to deal with groups of people involved in the sport, e.g.: parents, referees, board, …
– Is aware of the different styles to coach and that players can react differently

How does the coach ensure maximum results?
– Drawing up a training plan
– Being there in time to prepare everything
– Discuss the training plan so that players have a clear picture of the activities
– Give demonstrations
– Monitor each player’s performance and repeat exercises to determine progress
– Giving good advice

September 2013 we started our elite program at SBN and there we see the value of the coaches very clearly. The private coaches work together with the technical staff to bring the players to a higher level. This by means of knowledge, commitment and good communication. This already results in very good results.

I hope that many centres in the Netherlands will consider hiring a coach to give the club more quality. I also hope that many fanatic squash fans will consider joining the coaching profession. This can happen at any level, because also in squash coaches are needed at any level. The coaches who lay the foundation are often the most important in the development of the players.

Last time we dissected the drives a bit more in detail. This time we will go a bit further on the boast. The boast is an important blow in squash and also the most squash specific, because in other racket sports (except racketball) you don’t see a boast.

Especially as a beginner it gives you more possibilities to get the ball out of the corners. The boast is both a “defensive” and an “offensive” strike. In women’s squash, the boast has a very important function. Here’s a more specific approach to the boast

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