Advanced PlayersSo it's time to get serious, and yes I can teach old dogs new tricks. You know the shots of the game and you can hit them with accuracy, but now you need to be able to execute them with ever increasing time constraints. Progression to and beyond the advanced level has a great deal to do with efficiency of movement. Being able to execute all of the strokes with less time requires good footwork patterns. Having a choice of good strokes cannot be produced without a good position on the ball, and of course a good position on the ball cannot be achieved without good footwork. Furthermore, you have to replicate these footwork patterns again and again without getting tired at a rate faster than your opponent. These patterns can be learned and whilst speed can be an advantage, it is more about efficiency of movement that is dependent on rhythm and timing.
And then there are the more complex tactical concepts that must be understood to be able to progress further and compete with the pro's.
Do you understand the intricacies of correct shot selection? How does your opponent's "T" position influence your shot selection? How does the flow of your opponent's body weight through their shot dictate whether you attack or defend on yours? When should you positional drive, and when should you go for the fading length? When should you hold your shot at the front of the court and when should you take the ball early? When should you push forward in the court to play a higher "T" position, and when should your "T" position move off to the side? How do you read your opponent's swing and/or their movement on to the ball to be able to cut down the number of different shots that you have to cover? Can you use combinations of shots to set "traps" for your opponent? Do you know how to change pace and break your opponent's rhythm? How can you use your movement to and from the ball to dictate your opponent's movement and therefore put you at an advantage? How do you use body position and space to create wider open lanes for your winning shots?
With hard work and dedication a large percentage of club players do indeed move beyond the intermediate phase and start competing at a low advanced level. However this is where it's easy to plateau and not that many players learn how to move efficiently, or develop the tactical understanding necessary
to make the jump from a "low advanced"
player to "A" league or inter-provincial level squash. Improvement at this level is undoubtedly slower and requires more patience, but if you have the motivation and are willing to work hard, then with enough time
I can teach you all of these concepts and help you progress to play provincial squash, and even play for your country
"I would employ Mark as a coach without hesitation as overall I believe he is one of the best in Britain.
My daughter Pamela is aged 21 and is the current Scottish Women's National Champion. In the last 12 months
she has progressed from 130 to 25 on the WISPA world rankings. She is set to go higher on the next ranking
list, and Mark Allen has had an important input to her success."
John Nimmo, father of Scottish #1 woman player, Pamela Nimmo. May 1999.
"I started taking lessons with Mark when I felt that I wasn't improving in my game like I wanted to. Mark is precise in his diagnosis of my weaknesses and was able to work with me and correct them. I was impressed by his ability to break down a certain practice drill into simple steps. This helped me to isolate and work on my weaknesses more efficiently. Mark's energy and hands-on approach to coaching also helped me grasp new techniques faster. His honest assessment of my game, sometimes hard to swallow, plays a big part in providing feedback and guidance for my game. This only serves to better my game. I honestly believe that a person can be a very successful squash player under Mark's coaching."
Mei Lin Ong, Senior Tax Consultant, Oracle Systems.
"In one year of lessons I went from a low B to a solid A level player. Mark's ability to communicate effectively, coupled with his complete understanding of the game, helped me to improve more than I thought possible in such a short amount of time. His accurate drilling techniques and the use of detailed repetition, broke down the skills and showed me the specific points that I needed to work on to improve. And as well as building these skills and techniques, he shaped and prepared me for the necessary mental aspects of the advanced level game too."
Tony Marcell, The Puccini Group.