11 July 2022 / 3-Min Read
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Honestly, I really don’t know if these ideas are crazy or cool. You decide. Below is a video taken from Twitter. It shows a group of children in China performing a synchronised bouncing drill with basket balls. It’s both impressive and scary, like a lot of these types of videos. But it got me thinking about whether it would be useful and fun for children to do this on a squash court.
We should do this for squash. pic.twitter.com/FY5B3CnZOL— Phillip Marlowe: BetterSquash (@bettersquash) October 6, 2022
Bouncing a ball is a staple drill for getting children and sometimes adults to feel comfortable with a racket and ball. When you first start to play squash, the simple control of racket and ball needs to be developed. Just as driving a car is about control the car itself and then using that ability on a street with other traffic and changing situations.
Getting children to be able to clap at the same time can be hard, so bouncing the ball in time to a leader or with others in the group might be too difficult for younger children, but there are so many variations of the “bounce the ball” theme; bounce and catch, bounce in the air (to variety of heights), bounce on the floor, bounce against a wall etc.
All these take a fair degree of skill and doing them with precise repeatable results is even harder, couple that with doing it in a synchronised group, and hopefully you can see that this quickly develops into a highly skilful activity.
I couldn’t help myself and wonder whether if it proved popular if a national competition could be set up. A sponsor could be found who would help promote the event and the winning group (could be multiple groups from the same club/facility) would receive some sort of prize (maybe tickets to a pro tournament. Coaches would start their choreography planning 6 months before the submission time and the groups could spend 10 minutes a week rehearsing their routine. There could be age groupings; under 10 and under 15, but those are just suggestions. The groups would submit their entry routine via video, with clear guidelines for the video and routine.
Who knows, maybe there could be an international competition, with each national champion representing their country or state. Yes, I know I am becoming over-excited when we haven’t even tried it, but that’s my personality!
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Perhaps the better question is would it actually help improve a child’s skill? I believe it would. Children love competition and challenges, and working in a group/team with a clear objective can be a huge motivator for children. I certainly don’t think that coaches should spend hours and hours on it per week, but a little time drilling the basic racket/ball control couldn’t hurt.
It might be possible for the routine to be practice at home, like many people did during the pandemic, so that might be another benefit. Honestly, the possibilities are really exciting.
Putting aside juniors and children for a movement and the synchronised aspect, it also got me thinking about whether it was possible to do some drills with 4 adults and two balls. Not being on court any more with pupils, means that I have to perform thought experiments, but this needs to be tested and adapted.
Imagine the classic 4-person drill, where each player is standing in one corner. A player at the back hits a straight drop to the front and the front player hits a straight drive to the back, and so on, The other two players are doing the same, but on the other side of the court. Now imagine that instead of hitting a straight drive, the players at the front hit a crosscourt. The player would then hit a straight drop. Two balls being used at the same time. Hitting a straight drop off a crosscourt can be hard and hitting the right angle of the crosscourt might be even harder.
Perhaps the above idea is totally stupid, but what if you gave 4 skilled players two balls and said they must create a drill where both balls are being used at the same time. Players are allowed to move or not, that’s up to the group. I don’t know. It sounds fun to try to get working and would certainly require skill and control from all the players. Clearly, nothing dangerous would be allowed, so that has to be considered.
I honestly don’t know if this would be cool or not. I do know that any drill that requires skill and timing is useful. There are some many possibilities for drills, routines, music, ways to run the competitions etc, that I can’t help but hope that a few coaches try it. If you do, please let me know what happens.
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