Coaches often find themselves teaching the way they were taught. This can have positive and negative consequences for athletes. Continual professional development is necessary for finding new approaches, methodologies and techniques of teaching a sport.
I reached out to Chris Lengthorn, Head Coach of the Manchester Squash Academy at the National Squash Center in the UK, to learn more about their junior development program by being both a participant and observer. As a participant, I assisted Chris in facilitating 7 junior beginners who were working on volleys, drops, drives and footwork. Chris was very thorough in his introduction, demonstration and explanation. However as an observer, I noticed that the beginning students were more driven to play the 7 advanced players to see how far they could go against the best players in the Academy.
It was also enlightening to observe how Chris switched gears to teach advanced players on the concept of playing the ball in front of them. After a group discussion on the pros and cons of adjusting one’s body and racquet position to play the ball in front, Chris was able to highlight a nuance that allows for greater offensive play and efficiency of movement. Overall, I am thankful for Chris and the Manchester Squash Academy for the opportunity to learn more about squash in its country of birth.