Hi, my name is Priit and I’m a squash coach in MetroSquash, Estonia.
Estonia is a tiny country of only 1.3 million inhabitants next to Finland, Russia and Latvia. Squash in Estonia began in 1993 when the first squash club was opened in the capital, Tallinn. Throughout the years the squash in Estonia has been slowly but steadily growing, you can now play in the capital and several other cities. Just a few months ago CourtWall built 4 new professional courts in Tere Tennis Center.
Historically we’ve never had professional players – perhaps the biggest achievements have been medals from European Nations Challenge Cup in 2002, 2006 and 2007. This season the national team is planning to go play in St. Clementine, Jersey in the European Team Championships, 3rd division. Despite not having professional players, there is a strong community of players, and possibilities to compete on almost any level (highest being PSA satellite tournaments). Lessons and leagues are set up for beginners, intermediate as well as advanced players.
A few months ago, I had a chat with SquashSkills owner Peter Nicol about how to better organise squash teaching in Estonia. I explained that I’m an avid fan of the SquashSkills.com site and that it provides incredible value for a very small investment. I’ve watched hundreds of videos, created training sessions, and tested myself in racket skills, but I still couldn’t figure out how to put together a system that makes group lessons better and more efficient than preparing on paper. Peter gave me some excellent ideas and we worked out a solution that has kept getting better and better.
Here’s how the system is set up: I have a group of 25 people who have training at least twice a week. Each Monday I post the focus topic of the week (e.g. forehand volley drive) on SquashSkills and add a pre-made playlist that outlines everything a player needs to know about the shot. The theoretical part of all the shots is covered excellently on the site. During the lesson I briefly explain the focus topic and outline what the shot is, why, when and how it is played. A series of progressive exercises ensues – first players try out the shot in isolated simple conditions and eventually move on to using it in a real game. Players will also have training sessions without a coach during the week, but the focus topic will remain the same. In their solo training, I often assign a racket skill test from SquashSkills (e.g. 2 minute forehand volley drop test) and players save the result on the site.
It goes without saying that important parts are also a proper warm-up and a steady physical conditioning programme. Fitness and physical conditioning is an area that has greatly improved recently on SquashSkills.com – I’ve created many useful fitness sessions and implemented those in coaching and my own training.
Moreover, the SquashSkills team is diligently working on making a wide range of progressive squash drills and practice sessions available in the ‘squash sessions’ section of the site. This came after my recommendation and I’ve been impressed with the quick turnaround. I’ll just quote Peter Nicol on this:
“The idea is to progress through each practice as each one gets slightly harder and/or focusses on slightly different areas. As a coach you can adapt the sessions by taking certain practices out or adding your own ones in, all without having to do the work of creating each one from the beginning. There will end up being hundreds of pre-made sessions on the site for everyone to use in a simple, logical and progressive manner“.
I’m sure that this solution would help put together training sessions significantly more conveniently and improve my own game as well.
All that is left is to invite everyone to come and check out our wonderful country of stunning nature and modern innovative solutions in all areas of life.
Of course you shouldn’t forget to also play squash! Squash players all over the world form a tight-knit community, and I’m sure you can easily find a suitable player or a challenging competition here in Estonia. Every season we have a few PSA closed satellite tournaments, as well as numerous competitions for seniors and juniors. I’ll be happy to give you information – just send me an email by clicking here.
Thanks to SquashSkills team and keep up the good work!
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