Squash coaches unite for ESF ‘Role of Coach as Manager’ workshop

Experienced squash coaches from all over Europe met and exchanged ideas at last weekend’s new European Squash Federation workshop in Vienna entitled ‘The Role of Coach as Manager.’

Delivered by the ESF in partnership with the Squash Facilities Network, the event on 25-26 May featured four topics, each introduced by a keynote speaker, followed by discussion and a summary of ideas.

Led by Michael Khan, Director of the ESF Coach Education Committee, the workshop at Padeldome in Vienna attracted coaches from ESF member nations including Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Sweden.

The event started with a presentation by Markus Gaebel about the Squash Facilities Network and its 2024 Global Squash Report, which was released last week. The keynote speakers were:

Paul Selby – founder of Off The Wall Squash, England

Paul explained how his family-run squash academy has linked up with schools in Essex and Suffolk to deliver mini squash programmes to 2,000 primary school children every year. This activity builds towards the annual Roman Cup, which is the gateway to many boys and girls becoming regular squash players, often to county standard or above.

Ideas from the session: learn the funding system, run camps in school holidays, seek cooperation with other sports clubs, approach teachers and seek manpower (not necessarily qualified squash coaches). Read more

David Fear – Club Malmoe, Sweden

David covered principles of squash coaching that apply to all levels, including creating a business model, identifying your point of difference and structuring sessions.

Ideas from the session: Business models were discussed and set out for three types of stakeholder – full-time coach, a squash academy and a facility owner employing a coach. Read more

Jonathan Gallacher – Padeldome, Vienna

Jonathan explained how he has used Squash Levels to devise a simple but unique concept called Tournament Tuesday, which gives every entrant a guaranteed three matches and a finishing position – keeping club members engaged and courts occupied.

Ideas from the session: Time, team and handicap tournament formats, club nights, offence/defence team game. Read more

Jenny Denyer – performance psychology coach and member of WSF Coaching Commission

Former world no.7 Jenny (pictured below) explained what can be done to encourage more women to try out squash and level up the gender balance at squash facilities.

ESF President Thomas Troedsson said: “I’m pleased that another of the challenges set at the ESF European Think Tank in January 2023 has moved into action. As a former coach and club manager, I know the importance of these seminars and workshops, where you can pick up ideas and adjust them to your own environment.”