After numerous delays due to the uncertainty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the European Squash Federation (ESF) was able to welcome 11 coaches for an elite Level Three course In Langnau, Switzerland, earlier this month.
The Level Three, the highest level of WSF coaching certification, guides coaches to work with players up to a national squad and professional level.
ESF usually aims to offer a Level Three course every two years, though due to the pandemic the course was postponed twice from the originally planned date in June 2020.
Coaches from all around Europe made it to the Sihlsport Center in Langnau near Zurich, including young Swedish coach Bolbol Aziz, and former world class players Elin Blikra of Norway and John Williams of Switzerland.
World Squash Coaching tutor Michael Khan was supported by Swiss tutors Michael Mueller, Pascal Bruin, Florian Poessl and physiologist Jamie Albert.
At Level Three, coaches undertake intensive practical and theory assessment. For the practical assessments Swiss National Coach Pascal Bruin provided young national level juniors for the candidates to work with.
There is a strong emphasis on annual planning and documentation for Level Three coaches. After reforms to the programme, candidates now need to select one of their own players, create an annual plan and deliver a meso-cycle with detailed documentation, including a video. This is assessed by one of the onsite tutors and WSC Tutor Colin White.
At the end of the training, candidates were rewarded with a social event, including a cable car ride to a mountain top dinner.
Speaking afterwards, Mr. Khan reflected on a hugely positive experience: “After such a long time running virtual training sessions, it was wonderful for us to be able to deliver an in-person elite coaching course once more. My congratulations to all the coaches who completed the course, they will no doubt go on to make a significant impact in the careers of countless players. My thanks to them for all of their hard work, and to my colleagues, without whom this could not have been such a success.”