Coach Development



The aim of this is to give you a clear direction with an overall coaching philosophy for quick development of players.

Stage 1 - Get the basics

Learn movement first

There are two main areas we want to focus on

1. Movement

2. Technical swing

After that other factors will enhance your outcomes and capabilities

1. Strength

2. Speed

3. Flexibility

4. Balance

5. Concentration

We start with movement so we can get the ball in the right position relative to your body and then the technical swing will be repetitive and controlled.

If you start with the swing the player will need the ball to be set to the best position or they will push their racquet out in front to meet the ball or hit cross court or boast depending on the timing of their swing.


Stage 2 - Understanding progression

We will use a standard drive as an example

1. Static drive - no movement required

2. Movement from an easy direction pattern without a ball

3. Swing over a cone then movement from an easy direction then hit a ball

4. Movement from different directions prior to hitting the drive

5. Use a faster set to make it more difficult

6. Use a random set to make it more difficult

7. Set the ball earlier to reduce the players time to get back to drive


Stage 3 - Adding targets

Targets change everything, it is pointless hitting if you do not have a specific goal.

A target is where you want the ball to land on first bounce (not on the front wall).

1. Start with a large target zone

2. Gain an acceptable repeated outcome before reducing the target area

3. Start by reducing the width of the area then the depth

4. Set reasonable general targets expecting a repeatable outcome rather than a very small finite target such as one cone.

5. Players should be able to hit 5 consecutive shots to target before you reduce the size of the target.

6. Different players can have different target sizes in the same group

7. Consistency or grouping is more an indication of ability rather than a few quality target hits.

8. Targets get harder to hit when the set is more difficult due to power or time to make good position.

It is far better to practice using an attainable reasonable sized target that players will hit greater than 30% of the time and improving the grouping of all shots rather than having a very small finite target which is very hard to hit.

A reasonable sized target will have the player continually achieving the required outcome with a feeling of success and reducing as they get better.

You can use a finite target like one cone as a reward if it is hit where all other players do 5 pushups if the striker hits it.


Stage 3-2 - Conditioned games

This is a form of target practice where there are restrictions on where the ball can land and what shots are allowed. This is just as beneficial to beginner players as it is for advanced players. Samples of conditioned games are

1. Deep Game

2. Short Game

3. Rails or Tramlines

4. Deep game with volley short

5. 3/4 court

6. There are many more

Any routine or training drill can be turned into a game just work out rules that suit the standard of player or players and as long as there is a set goal or area of improvement you are working on it will be beneficial.


Stage 4 - Add reward

Reward is simple, add a benefit for achieving tasks. If a player performs a routine successfully you can use reward, here is a natural progression of a routine using reward. 4 players one hitting with each taking their turn to hit.

Sample - Boast and drop routine

1. Each player gets one set then the next player is in

2. Each player gets 2 sets then the next player is in

3. A player stays in until they make a mistake and then the next player is in, this should be capped at 5 sets so all get a go but the coach can make the set up harder so players get around 3 sets. If a player only has one hit and makes a mistake they are out, no special treatment, this encourages switched on concentration.

4. Add Targets and other requirements as players get better.


Stage 5 - Add cost

Cost is great and it is the start of players feeling the squad environment where there is a minimum standard and a cost for not reaching it. Cost can be in many different forms.

1. Exercises (pushups, Burpee, Squats, Planking, Star Jumps and so on)

2. Sprints - only up and back on the court as the important thing is the knowing you under achieved not the fitness

3. Ball hits - Drops, volleys, corner volleys or alike that can be performed safely on the court.


Stage 6 - Add competition

This is generally for the better players when all are around a similar standard.

Set a routine or training game and the winner stays in

You can use different targets and requirements for different players to challenge each player and keep it interesting

You can make it first to 3 or 5 depending on the length of rallies

You can set minimum standards and add cost eg In a game to 3 if a player does not get one point they must plank for 30 seconds


Stage 7 - Analyzing and grading a normal game

Self analysis is fantastic with a player reviewing video of their own game and a Coach then doing the same. You will learn where a players thoughts are as to what is important and then be able to guide them and point out otherwise unrealized issues with their play.

Coach analysis is vital as it has the effect of focusing the player on what the coach wants you to learn and aligns expected outcomes or acceptable standards for movement and shot outcome.


Stage 8 - Benchmarking

Benchmarking or testing gives measurable outcomes and clearly shows improvement rate and development. Players can not clearly judge improvement on results as other players are improving also so a benchmark exercise will give clear outcomes and therefore be fantastic for motivation and confidence. Here are some areas where benchmarking can be used.

1. Video general play benchmarking

2. Hitting skills benchmarking

3. Fitness benchmarking

4. Concentration benchmarking

5. Flexibility benchmarking

6. Speed benchmarking

7. Balance benchmarking

8. Target hitting benchmarking

The main thing to remember is that up until squash development becomes a professional pursuit it must be enjoyable, variation and continual challenges will ensure players are engaged and want to play more.

Tasks do not need to be mastered before moving on to the next, short burst exercises will give continual new challenges and the improvement should be evident each time you revisit a task. Progression in tasks together with reward and cost will allow you to easily plan your lessons and have you as the coach enjoying the sessions as much as the players do.


Learning new skills

1. Give the player a clear demonstration of what the skill is

2. Let the player attempt the skill several times

3. Break the skill up to each component that makes up the outcome

4. Master the components in order from movement to recovery

5. Increase difficulty

6. Add pressure with speed, cost or targets

7. Have the player identify what works with ok outcomes

8. Return to the skill after doing something else and get an instant ok outcome without any prior practice


Wishing you wonderful success



Log and graph your results on our skills benchmarking app

Available in your app store

Level 1 & 2 FREE/$30 AUD upgrade


All information and Videos on this site are the property of and is not to be reproduced without concent. All coaching Tips are general advice explaining methods of playing and learning, you should see your local Coach or Trainer for advice that suits your individual style. Squash Analysis uses cookies to store and receive identifiers and other information on computers, phones, and other devices.
DashboardPersonal AnalysisPrice ListPremium Squash MembersPremium Racquetball MembersRegister FreeContact Us