As a player, I was driven first and foremost about the outcome of a shot and by extension, the rally. As a coach, I have to stop myself getting too caught up in the technical aspects of the game and allow the players I teach to find ways to achieve the desired outcome without too much technical coaching. Obviously, there needs to be some consistency in form and the mechanics have to be correct for the shot to be accurate. However, there as so many ways to reach the same impact point that too much technical focus can be counterproductive.
Once the basic technical points are covered, how players then strike the ball varies dramatically. A simple example is that how can a tall player strike the ball in the same manner as a short player? They cannot as the racquet head is coming from a completely different position through to impact.
This has made me reconsider how I teach and my recent sessions have been focussed on either technical improvement or just quite simply how much better each and every shot is in regard to ball placement. I’ve loved breaking down the swing in a morning session to then have the same player only focus on targets in the afternoon, without much of a mind on the technical aspects worked on that morning. It feels like the player has the chance to firstly evaluate and adapt their swing to help improve shot production and consistency and then allow them the chance to integrate that new swing into their regular game by purely looking to hit targets later. Too much focus on one or other element can lead to either an over thinking of the technical aspect of the game or a technical deficiency – neither of which helps in the long run.
The perfectionist in me wants to have the best swing I possibly can and also hit targets I set for myself every time. Although it’s the ideal scenario, I don’t see anyone having the perfect swing and being 100% accurate anytime soon. A mixture of good solid technique and then plenty of repetition in practice should give you the best chance to improve. Therefore, give yourself a good balance of technical and outcome-driven sessions, then work out what needs more attention. Practise heavier on that aspect of your game and reassess after a period. If you are an analytical person, try not to overdo the technical sessions and if you are more of a doer and match players, think of having some more technical sessions.
Sign up to the SquashSkills newsletter
Get world class coaching tips, straight to your inbox!