Stage 1: Active Start, Ages 0-6 males </p><br /><p>and females

Key Objectives

Develop squash-specific skills. Start to build the performance ‘engine’: work on athlete speed and introduce strength training.

Where

Clubs and Provincial programs; schools and community recreation programs.

Who

Provincial coaches and club coaches/ professionals; community recreation instructors.

Total Hours Training & Competition

4-6 hours per week

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Training to Competition Ratio

• 60% training and 40% competition (tournament participation increases). Although players may select squash as their main sport, it is important for them to maintain participation in one other sport. Introduction to national competition may occur at this stage depending on the developmental age of the player.

Periodization

• Single periodization that features a semester-bysemester evaluation and progression.

Technical

• Focus on developing squash-specific skills.
• Increased emphasis on court movement.
• Continue to acquire and perfect the ball striking fundamentals of Height, Speed, Distance, Direction and Spin.
• Continue to work on error correction.
• Skill award programs.

Tactical

• Introduce the concept of open and closed strategies based on opponent’s court movement (e.g., open court strategy for slower opponents and closed court strategy for faster opponents).
• Begin to recognize strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your opponent.
• Begin to develop pattern recognition skills.
• Identification and correction of tactical and strategic errors in play.

Physiological/Physical

• This stage presents the maximal growth rate for both females and males.
• Females typically experience increased body fat levels in response to hormonal changes.

Psychological

• Athletes should have structured, planned psychological skills training sessions in their training schedule.
• Encourage regular personal use of psychological skills.
• Optimize quality of play during training sessions by building players’ awareness of their best mental performance states.
• Use positive imagery to help refine skills (e.g., imagine how a drop shot will look and feel when executed successfully) and for motivation (e.g., imagine making a comeback when behind in a game).
• Use both short term and long term goals extensively.
• Introduce outcome goals (e.g., placing top 3 at a competition).
• Initiate performance planning and development of pre-competition plans.

Ancillary Skills

• Players continue to learn about nutrition through a progressive educational program that provides practical suggestions for the player’s daily lifestyle.
• Warm-up, cool-down and recovery activities should be well-defined and integrated into overall training programs.

Competition

• Club programs include junior interclub league play
• School squash
• Travel to other provincial clubs and cities
• Exposure to team play and mixed team competitions
• Provincial and National Squads (near end of stage)
• Provincial Games and Canada Games (near end of stage)
• Provincial/National/Club camps
• Mentoring Program (with an adult member)