This week we welcome back Elite Squash Head Coach Hadrian Stiff to the site. Hadrian has put together a fascinating playlist that examines his personal philosophies surrounding the ‘learning journey’, and how he approaches that coaching process with the players he works with.
The purpose of this blog is to give you some suggestions of sessions you can incorporate into your training, to help allow you to start putting into practice some of the insights that Hadrian discusses in his featured videos.
A lot of what Hadrian covers in his playlist relates to getting your body and mind into the optimal state for learning when you go on court to practice, working through his theories on the warm-up, then finding your general rhythm and timing with your hitting, before moving into the more focused technical development part of your training session, and beyond into more open play.
Another theme of the playlist is the idea of restricting your focus to just 1 or 2 key areas of technique focus in your sessions, keeping your objectives simple and direct. Ensuring you’re in a relaxed, rhythmical state before you start working on anything too specific is a major point of reinforcement, with Hadrian proposing how this will then allow you to better absorb and embed the detail of what you’re going on to work on in the main portion of the session.
With all this in mind, it’s important to then approach your matchplay with a calm, clear focus, trusting that you’ve absorbed the technical elements into your system. It’s not realistic to expect perfection to appear in your competitive performance immediately, but by remaining consistent in your approach you put yourself in the best possible position to improve your skills over time.
To complement some of the great insights in this video series, check out below our solo and pairs ‘primer’ sessions – short 10-15mins collections of drills that will aid you in getting into a rhythm at the start of your on-court training, in line with Hadrian’s philosophy of prioritising a feeling of relaxing and discovering your flow of hitting and movement before anything too technically focused.
Put it into practice
This session is built around a selection of foundational solo drills, designed to help you find the rhythm and flow of your hitting before you go into a more focused technical session.
This pairs session works through a series of simple drill progressions, allowing you to settle into your shots and movement in a relaxed setting, and groove in your timing before you move onto a more specific focus.
If you enjoyed this series from Hadrian, be sure to check out this one focused on character development. It also addresses some of the fundamental questions about why we play squash and how we can maximise our enjoyment from the game.
Creating a free-flowing, easy swing where your movement and racket head link together will help create the sense of rhythm and timing that Hadrian discusses in video two of the series. This playlist from Lee Drew explains how to create smoothness in your ball striking.
It’s crucial that we’re able to identify our strengths and weaknesses when we play. This playlist focuses in on amateur matchplay and helps create a better understanding of what is going well and what isn’t.
Let us know how you get on with the sessions, we’d love to hear your feedback!
Haven't seen the full playlist yet?
In this new series, Hadrian Stiff talks about the different stages of ‘the learning journey’ and highlights what he encourages his players to be doing during the process.Watch the playlist in full