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Developing the Skills

Published: 02 Oct 2004 - 23:32 by rippa rit

Updated: 30 Apr 2010 - 19:24

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Rippa Rita`s championship squash tip
Squash for the champions is like all other trades, it requires application and practice.
 Of course, genetic factors do have a bearing on our natural ability to "catch on" to things easily at the beginning, but don't be discouraged.

Solo practice will help develop technique since it will give more time to think about the basic elements of the swing, eg the grip, backswing and follow through

If, at first, you don't succeed, try, try, try, again.
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From aprice1985 - 30 Apr 2010 - 19:24

This is an interesting topic, I wonder just how much of the child star's ability comes from playing a sport from the age of 6, when everything in the mind and body is plastic and can be moulded with some basic coaching, those of us who then take it up at 23 will struggle to ever get near those who have the skills welded into their mind from such a young age.

I know that I find it very difficult to change the habits I have already formed and keep slipping back into the bad ways in matches and it is that need to practice not only the new skill but also practice out the old that limits how much or how easily one can improve their play I think.  For me footwork is the ultimate example, I played for years with a closed racquet and standing too close to the ball, once the open face came I had to alter my positioning and despite drills with a coach and mentally knowing what I have to do, in the heat of a tough rally i find myself stood over the ball trying to dredge it out from under myself.

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From rippa rit - 18 Jun 2009 - 07:24   -   Updated: 18 Jun 2009 - 07:25

Gee, this topic has been downunder for a while.  This is an intriguing topic. It is good to keep reminding ourselves that improvement is always possible with a bit of dedication and application.  I guess it is all about keeping a balance as we strive to improve, and at the same time enjoy what we are doing, or be able to appreciate why we are doing what we do.  From my observation it is the athlete that puts more emphasis into the physical/fitness of the game and loves the game for the workout though tend to overtrain their bodies.  it is the well co-ordinated that enjoy the racket skills and prefer to get on court and concentrate on skills. It is the obese types that enjoy the well being of feeling slim due to the calories burned during play that keep coming back regularly as they know they can keep eating whatever they like.  And, this list goes on as people are driven from within.. 

What is more interesting I suppose is the individuality that each person brings to the game and how a balance can be achieved through evaluation of weaknesses and strengths, and setting short goals as the standard improves.  Then we have attributes like perseverance and discipline that play a huge part too.  It is such a unique combination of skills that can change an outcome.

I like it.


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From hamburglar - 18 Jun 2009 - 02:17

The best description of this I have heard is that it takes a truly gifted, elitle athlete only a handful of times to learn a skill.

A great athlete might need dozens of times

A good athlete might need hundred of times of repetition

A not-so good athlete might need thousands of times, and then there are some that will never get it.

As long as you have the potential, and the drive to keep at it, you can probably learn anything, but the question is, how old will you be, or how much cartilage will you have left in your joints when you have all the skills to play at a top level? An amazing athlete will learn the basic skills more quickly and have more time to focus on other aspects of the sport, like the mental side or conditioning.

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From Viper - 23 Jan 2006 - 09:30

Skills can be developed for sure, but I reckon without a natural gift/call it eye hand/or timing or what ever trained skills will only take a person so far in any given sport, they can even become professional at that sport but it is these people that are usually called "journeymen "

It is the really gifted that become the elite, Federa is a prime example.

Hard work and training is a must of course but that special ingredient can not be coached in I think.

Of course the opposite can also prevail, look at The Scud, great natural talent but LAZY in mind and body.

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From raystrach - 23 Jan 2006 - 09:19

skills can be developed

the reason that many sports people are good at many sport is not restricted to hand-eye.
  1. decision making skills is a big factor (tactical and technical decision making)
  2. mental skills (clarity and calmness under pressure)
with the sports people that you mentioned, i would say that all developed skills as youngsters. the truth is that very few spend enough time as adults to develop skills. my skills now are far superior to what they were 17 years ago (when I was playing my best squash) due simply to the extra playing time and practice I have put in to try to maintain my standard against a backdrop of injury and lack of fitness

three things are key
  1. practice, practice, practice
  2. believe in yourself
  3. review, evaluate your performances and make necessary adjustments

how easy is that!!

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From rippa rit - 19 Jan 2006 - 22:32

Viper - you have the last word

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From Viper - 19 Jan 2006 - 17:04   -   Updated: 20 Jan 2006 - 06:06

Equally no matter the amount of practice, training, coaching will make a naturally clumsy racket person a champion.

Case in point :

Ponting is also a top class golfer.

Draper gives up tennis and becomes a golf pro

The Chappell bro's were fantastic baseballers.

I think Bradman was a top class snooker player.

Many footballers were also exceptional cricketers.

ie, world beaters in their chosen sport can cross to a completely different sport and without years of one on one coaching apply their natural eye/hand skills and timing and become top class in the new activity.


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From rippa rit - 19 Jan 2006 - 16:18

Viper there have been University papers/studies done on various top and medium players, and the finding said the elite take in more information and therefore get more clues/cues when watching the opponent hit the ball therefore making them earlier to hit the ball and make their decisions.

Viper, my point is you can have great hand-eye coordination, but then having a brain like a sieve, sort of cancels out alot of that good stuff.  You can have great hand-eye co-ordidnation but develop a recurring back injury due to scelosis. 
All of these things will prevent a player reaching their full potential irrespective of the natural ability.

I had a player who came to me at 13 years of age, had never played tennis, and became No. 10 in the World at about age 22.  She also became our Qld Ladies Champion. She could not volley to save herself initially.  The first volley lesson she would have missed at least 80 perfect feeds one after the other. However, by breaking the skill down into small bits, taking it progressiely, practising a lot of solo drills, and with persistence, patience and practice it is possible.

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From Viper - 19 Jan 2006 - 07:32

" I can train almost any student  to be a good player, ...but to take them to the next level (very elite), requires unique qualities."

Exactly my point, there is any number of "trained " good players out there but it is inherient "hand eye" that makes them elite, this can neither be trained nor purchased.

Cricket batsman are a typical example, players like Gilcrist, Ponting, Clark etc are freaks because they see the ball just that little bit earlier than the rest of the mortals, hence they have more time to shape for a shot. Like in squash this is not trainable.

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From rippa rit - 19 Jan 2006 - 07:21

Viper -there is not a simple answer to this.  It is very complex because of the blend of skills needed.
I believe, if the student is willing, I can train almost any student  to be a good player, as the skills are trainable with sufficient perseverence, but to take them to the next level (very elite), requires unique qualities.


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From Viper - 18 Jan 2006 - 20:44

Inherited "hand eye" plays a HUGE part in enabling a good trained player in any racket sport to take the leap into a champion, without it, any number of training hours and determination will not work.

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From rippa rit - 18 Jan 2006 - 20:33

Hi Slavi - just a little serious stuff in this link so when people make comments like  "he's a chip off the old block" this is possibly what they mean with respect to sport
Yes, most things are trainable, with the mind and body willing, but some do have a "head" start.
It is the correct blend of physical, physiological, psychological, skill, genetic, biological age, sociological, etc. that have to gell at the right time.
In fact, I reckon if I knew what I know now, at 21 years of age - whooooo!

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From drop-shot - 17 Jan 2006 - 19:36

So you disagree with my opinion? Years of experience in working with people taught me that wisdom. It is really true, and I can elaborate about it a lot. There are a lot of examples from the past of people with absolutely amazing talent (Leonardo Da Vinci to mention one name), but there is a mass of people in Encyclopedia Britannica because of their hard work and effort to make things better, internally or externally.
regarding the freedom of choice towards the parents - blunlty I have to agree :-D

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From rippa rit - 17 Jan 2006 - 06:37

Slavi - yeah, what I probably should have said bluntly "you cannot chose your parents" so that probably comes into the 10% you mention!!!!!

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From drop-shot - 16 Jan 2006 - 20:22

... it's 10 % of talent and 90 % of hard work, that's the mystery of champions in everything. And I think that even if you have no talent but you are stubborn, persistant and you work hard, you will become good in anything you do.

In squash – take a look on a careers of few players - Power, Willstrop i.e. - they play squash since they were kids. Age of 7 to start your career - perfectly planned. So, the guy is talented, but do not forget the other kids on the block – they're talented as well and they work hard. Speaking on "Generic factors" i would refer to James WIllstrop natural racket skills taent. This chap simply has it all in his wrists and arms, but still he's working hard to become better and better to surprise himself.

So, answering your point, Rita - Developing the skills is equal to hard and restless work. Motivation is important (Set your goal) and work for it.

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