Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doubles Vision: The Squash Genius of Barbara Cooper

Barb Cooper might be the equivalent or combination of Dale Cargnegie, Delphic Oracle, Sigmund Freud, and even Oprah. She's one of the most intelligent squash gurus, but what makes her really unique is she is able to connect the dots with squash and a squash player's temperment and personality along with all the other facets of the game (doubles or singles).

Her book, Double Up, is simply remarkable. It's a book about Doubles Squash, but like Ms. Cooper herself, the book goes well beyond what meets the eye. My recommendation to any serious squash player especially those coming up through the junior ranks, read everything you can from Ms. Cooper and then have your parents read the material too. And after your parents have read all her material, have your coach read the material as well.

Note: Barabara Cooper is the highest level certified coach in North America. Her credentials as a player and coach are so impressive. She currently resides in Canada and is instrumental in bringing Canadian Squash to the forefront of internatioonal competition.

And for any budding professional, pick up her book, read it for the same reasons you might have read Barrington's Murder on the Squash Court, or Khan's Eye on the Ball, or any other Master's blueprint to great squash fundamentals and tactics. However, what really sets Cooper apart is her attention to the mental aspects of the game. This is where she really excels.
Almost every player at any level will be able to relate to her book. While I'm not a Doubles Player, much of what she writes about transcends squash, singles or doubles, it's about having the right mind set to practices, to improve, to move that newfound experience and energy to a greater level...to find reward in playing and improving.

It doesn't matter if you are man, woman, or junior, you will benefit from this book. It is so packed full of information, and not the kind of infomration you can get just anywhere. It is the kind of infomration that comes with being at first a student of the game and then subsequently, a teacher of this game. She maintains the highest coaching level in North America. She's a level 5 (5 is the highest), which to put it into perspective, we have a few who are highest at Level 3 in the US.

And with all the seriousness of learning to be in the right frame of mind to play this game at a higher level, the chapters are punctuated with pencil drawings, and quotations appropriate to the topic. Squash does imitate life, and like life, you need a bit of humor, some fun. At least that is her message loud and clear, you can be a serious player and competitive, but don't forget this game is supposed to be fun, we're supposed to enjoy it to the point we never want to stop playing. If anyone has ever doubted the benefits of drilling, read her chapters on the essence of drilling and what it does to a player's game.

I found myself taking lots of notes about strategy that can be used in my own coaching, and by strategy I mean the mental and emotional aspects of the game. While Double Up is primarily about the ins and outs of doubles squash with many doubles drills, almost all of the book dedicated to the mental and emotional part of the game translate into the singles game as well.
As you read through this (and you will want to read through it again and again) you will realzie just how complex this game is on one level, afterall human nature is complex, but also how simple this game is (if you can believe that) on another level; in its simplest form the game moves fluidly as you become the very thing that holds all the court's four quadrants together.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is so rich with wisdom and insight into this game that you sometimes can only take in just so much. I thought about quoting passages from the book, but I'm afraid I'd be including most of the book here, in this review. Read this book and also check out Barbara Cooper's new internet talk show help My Squash Game(http://helpmysquashgame.com).

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