2006: by Dan Kneipp (kah-nipe)
Do You Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
a club player is obviously very different from coaching a pro. One
major difference is the club players’ knowledge of their own
game (or lack of knowledge in comparison to the pro player). Prior to
coaching a player I always ask them to list their strengths, weaknesses
and goals they hope to achieve from coaching. A lot of people aren’t
able to cite these easily, which is crazy. When you play an unknown opponent
you should always begin the match concentrating on your own strengths,
then adjust your match according to whether this is effective or not.
If you don’t know your weaknesses you don’t know what to
improve, and if your opponent knows your weaknesses and you don’t – you’re
in big trouble. Having set goals for coaching helps your motivation and
without those goals it is difficult to gauge your improvement.
I recently began a 10 week coaching session with a group of English
guys at my club in Amsterdam. I asked all of them via email to list for
me their goals, strengths and weaknesses. Below is one of the answers
I received, which I found particularly funny. I just wish his squash
skills rivalled his humour.
Goals: Squash is a hobby to me at the moment but I am confident that
I have the necessary skills to become a pro. I would like you to fine
tune my existing abilities so that I become a global top 5 player. (May
only take 5 weeks for this though so I will think of another goal for
the other 5 weeks).
Strengths: Number 1 strength would have to be my power. I sometimes have to reduce
the amount of strength I put behind a shot as it is costing me a fortune
in new balls. Despite the awesome power at my disposal I often surprise
myself at the speed at which I can change in a rally to play an almost
perfect drop shot that has any opponent scrambling to the front of
the court, and leaves them ridiculously exposed for any shot that I
will then select to kill the rally. My other main strength is my energy
and my fitness. I sometimes "play" with
an opponent. Instead of killing the rally I keep it going for as long
as possible just to push myself. It has not been unknown for me to
book 2 courts, one straight after the other as I find that
2 games in a row help me to maintain my peak level of fitness.
I am such a kind hearted and generous sportsman I often have difficulty
calling the "let" shot. This comes more in
to the fray when playing someone of a more portly nature (e.g. Geoff).
When my opponent is, for want of a better word, "Fat", I
often try to take the long way around to keep the rally going. Sometimes
this is just not possible but I will give away the point rather than
shout for the let. Opponents have taken advantage of this in the past
and have sometimes made the score look more respectable than it maybe
should have. I would like you to teach me to have more of a killer
instinct and shout for these lets when it is blatantly obvious that
the lard bucket I am playing against is clearly in my way.
I think that covers everything.
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