Friday, February 5, 2010

Coach's Pet

I try to write as much as I can about the students I coach in squash. Since I've taken on a technology project in the city, I've had to cut back a bit on my coaching hours. Regrettfully, because at our club we have a dedicated, albeit small, following of squashers and I never like to turn anyone down for a lesson or just a hit. My days are a bit brutal now and start at 5:30 a.m. with my son and training partner...we go hard for 2-3 hours, I then rush off to the City for my technology project and return home around 6:30 pm for a quick bite to eat, a change of clothes, and then off to the squash club to coach. I keep it to only 2-3 lessons.
Okay, so we all have demanding schedules and this isn't what this post is about. It is about when a student shows up for a lesson ready to work and to improve and push hard through the lesson. There's nothing worse than getting on the court with a student who is really not all that into the lesson, it's a downer, because every coach should take pride in their work and accomplishments and it takes two to make a student succeed. But that's part of the challenge, to motivate, to push your student into wanting to succeed.
My most favorite student these days is Margaret, the 30 something year old and former captain of the Princeton squash team. I've written about her before and thought I would just write a bit of an update. She is the one whom I've called a combination of Grace Kelly and a Pit Bull. I look so forward to her lesson because she is so motivated to succeed, she has quite a nice game as it is and she could probably just settle for playing points and improving a bit here and there, but she doesn't, she strives in our lessons to take it to another level. She is very intuitve on the court which means when you show her something and work on something she gets in in a short period of time, so for me as her coach, I often see instant results. I have other talented students who are very capable of taking their games to a much higher level, but they haven't reached her mind set, I watch her when we work on something, sometimes she gets frustrated, sometimes takes a bit of time off in concentration and focus, but when you tell her hey work harder, focus, get to that ball, better length...she snaps to it...the best part of it is she projects this attitude that tells me she's on court with a purpose -- to get better. She came on the court last night and seemed a bit annoyed because her sets of star drills on the other court (while I was finishing up with Matt and his evolving backhand...) was interupted by players who wanted the court. I could only smile because she had done sets of these the other night and was a bit sore when doing them...coach's pet, no doubt. But should she read this, she'll know that she's only as good as her last session that is my constant reminder to her and my other students.

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