On the 11thJuly a group of 5 aspiring Elite Squash Juniors took to the skies and flew over to the Dutch Junior Open held at the impressive Frans Otten stadium in Amsterdam.
For many it was their first time experience of such an event and what an event to inspire! The club consists of 21 squash courts with a lovely bar and terrace looking out onto the tennis courts. We couldn’t dictate the weather but it appears it was on our side as the sun was shining all week and when playing an indoor sport it is great to escape to the sun away from the intense/buzzing atmosphere inside.
The draws are big with the boys under 17’s featuring 96 players! This means that you are always guaranteed plenty of games as its played in a monrad format. Each player took part in 4-6matches over the event and from a player/coach perspective this is brilliant as the players have so many opportunities to learn and grow as the week progresses while experiencing the high’s and low’s of competition which are not possible to create in a normal training environment
The 5 Juniors that went with myself (Bristol Head Coach – Richard King) were Owen Heyes, Will Cheek, Marcus Wales, Abe Forshaw-Stewart, Bhuvana Senthil-Kumar.
Each player had many different needs and expectations for the weekend so this was something as a coach I had to really take into account, each person is an individual and no two players are the same so it was important to make sure the coaching and support reflected this from things such as keeping a togetherness in the group to how you communicate in between games.
One of the biggest factors that affected the quality of the juniors experience and performance on court was the mental side of the game, no matter how hard you try to replicate tournament experience it will never match up to the pressures and emotions felt in such an event like this.
By being together as a team we were able to bring a team aspect to something which is predominately an individual sport. This really enhanced our opportunity’s to learn from one and other, support each other and openly discuss our experiences and emotions felt throughout the event. What was very important was that we succeeded together but also failed together and be able to use both experiences to learn and grow.
This was a learning experience for all, myself as a coach as well as the players and through this event we have a greater understanding of ourselves as well as each other.
Well done to all on the team, looking forward to our next event together!