Today I'm going to give doe examples of the questions to as your athletes. I like to get them thinking about the game and specifically their game. The use of guided questioning is one of Joan Vickers 7 steps of decision making training that I will get into in a future post.
What's the most important shot to hit in squash? And why?
What is the most important physical fitness trait of a good squash player? If they are humming and awing at this I then give some examples, is it aerobic or anaerobic fitness? Speed? Strength? Agility? And then I folio up by asking it it's more important to have maximum whatever (say speed or strength) or to have endurance?
What is your best shot?
What is your favourite shot? Yes, this may be different!
What is your most consistent shot? Again, this may be different.
What is the best match you've ever played? What did you do well?
I play my best squash when I_______.
What style of squash do you like to play? Or you can ask how they would describe the style they prefer to play?
What type of opponent do you have the most difficulty with? Why? And what is a good strategy to counter this? You could also just ask who they have the most trouble playing against and why.
Do you prefer a hot ball or a cold one?
How is it different playing a lefty?
Which of the following skill is more important in squash, having good technique or being smart tactically?
Which of the following skills is more important in squash, beautiful technique, smart tactics/shot selection, physically gifted, or mental toughness? And why?
What is your strategy when you're playing someone for the first time?
What is your strategy at the beginning of a match? How does this change as the match goes along?
This is a small example. You can get into more specific questions when you know your athletes. I think this is a better way to get answers from your athletes as opposed to just telling them what is right or wrong, and hey we aren't always right. A lot of these answers will vary depending on the coach you ask.
You can also look back at my Match Situations post http://www.serioussquash.com/2014/08/match-situations.html to see some match specific questions. This goes along with my coaching philosophy. I often ask my athletes what they would like to work on in lessons. I will also ask them what they thought after we play a game, or after they play a game. I want to hear what they are perceiving to happen on the court vs. what I see. This isn't always the same thing. Sometimes they aren't sure you guide in them in the general direction. I may ask, 'were you able to get back to the T?' if they were leaving their length short or there opponent was volleying a lot. If I just tell them what I think I feel like they will always rely on me or some other coach to tell them what to do. At some point we all play without a coach and need to make adjustments on our own. We also can't wait until a game or two is over before making an adjustment. Experienced squash players can do this much faster and will often do it instinctively. The more we get out athletes thinking about the game and their own game, I believe we are equipping them with the tools required to becoming independent and succeeding on their own.