Coaching book is spot-on about joining up so many little segments that make the perfect swing
By TONY GRIFFIN – Squash Mad Coaching Columnist
We are delighted to welcome squash coach and author Tony Griffin to the Squash Mad team of coaching columnists. Tony, a New Zealander based in Spain, has recently published a book with the fascinating title of ‘The G Spot – A Book About Squash’. Here he explains how he came to arrive that title and expands a little on the content of the book. We look forward to sharing extracts with Squash Mad readers.
I will start by answering the obvious question, why is a book about squash titled ‘The G Spot’? Many years ago when I first thought about putting my ideas and experiences from inside a squash court into a book, the search for an appropriate title had me a bit baffled. Ideas like ‘The Right Place’, ‘The Perfect Place’, ‘The Good Place’, ‘The Perfect Spot’, ‘The Soft Spot’, ‘The Sweet Spot’, ‘The Right Spot’, ‘Getting to the Comfort Zone’ and many others came to mind. None of them seemed right.
Then, ‘The G Spot’ came to me and it made me smile. While smiling about this possible title for my collection of ideas, ‘G’ words started coming to mind as possible explanations or justifications for a title that may have other connotations.
Words like my surname Griffin or Good, or Gift or even God but, in the end, the title ‘The G Spot—A Book About Squash’ simply made me smile.
Squash is about putting a lot of small details together. Many of these details in themselves are often not considered to be overly important. Yet, to do well in squash, the maximum number of these details need to be put together to improve.
As more time is spent on the squash court practicing and playing we gradually coordinate and incorporate more and more of these details into our game. In this process we create habits that often become a subconscious part of the way we play.
In this book, and in this series on Squash Mad, I will try and talk about some of these details and how they are interrelated.
I have noticed that the more conscious we become of these details, how they are put together and kept together during the course of points, games and matches will help us improve and become more consistent in our game.
It is important to remember that your body needs time to evolve and incorporate new habits. You build them with practice and develop an awareness of what you are asking your body and mind to do.
New habits are acquired over time, they are also lost over time if you are not working on them. Once you have developed a new habit, the next step is to add new objectives.
Remember that to improve you need to develop technical, tactical, physical and psychological habits.
Try not to focus on any single area. They are all interrelated and need work. It is a never-ending
and on-going process.
I look forward to sharing my ideas with Squash Mad readers and receiving your feedback here on the website.
Interview with Tony Griffin
What inspired you to write a book about squash?
Well, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. In the spring of 1987 while doing some solo training in Paris I saw the relationship between the shoulder of my racket arm and the point of impact, the racket with the ball. I saw that if I had my racket well prepared, and I used a natural and fluid swing (after having moved my body into position) the ball would go where I wanted it to almost every time.
In squash, the constant challenge is to be able to put together all the small details that are needed to hit the ball well. And the fact that our sport is played at an extremely high speed just adds to the fun. This is what I have tried to explain in the book.
Why did you wait so long to write it then?
I actually tried to write it more than 20 years ago. That was before I had ever sat down in front of a computer. I managed a couple of pages of texts, crossed out lines and arrows joining the different parts of texts before I gave up and threw it in the rubbish bin.
In retrospect, at that stage of my life I probably wasn’t capable of coherently putting the ideas and concepts into a written form. Chasing a little black ball around the place doesn’t really prepare you for writing a book.
I hadn’t been involved with squash much for a few years and at the end of 2013 Ignasi Herms, the new manager of the Catalan Squash Federation, remembered he had a guy living nearby who used to coach and play squash.
He called to ask if I was interested in helping them again. One of their objectives was to organise and prepare a training course for coaches. Now I had a computer and no excuses for not writing the book! I started writing at the end of January 2014 and finished it in the October.
And the title, The G Spot, A book About Squash?
The idea came to me when I first started thinking about writing a book all those years ago, and it simply made me smile. As Ross Norman has kindly said in his testimonial, the title fits in well with the way the book is written. I have explain it properly in the first few pages of the book.
And there are no photos in the book?.
That was another challenge. Most of the squash books I have looked at seem to age with their photos. Photos can also be distracting, readers othen look at the clothes, the hair styles, the individual features of the players, the state of the courts etc. Doing photos was the Plan B if we didn’t manage to find the way join the ideas in the texts with the illustrations. I think Caitriona O’Leary has done a wonderful job. And then Toni Ricart the graphic designer was brillant in putting them all together in a book format with the texts.
Liz Irving says it’s written differently from other squash books. Why?
Probably best to ask Liz that one. When I started writing I was clear I didn’t want it to be a list of instructions for playing squash. I’ve tried to write it in an informal context, in the same way I would explain things to someone if we were on a squash court together. I actually got a bit of a surprise when Lisa, who corrected the text for me, commented that she had tried to respect my style of writing. I didn’t really see myself as having a style of writing.
How do you see squash today?
It has certainly evolved in many ways and is now a truly global sport. It’s great. What has not changed so much is the way players hit the ball and in the end that is what often makes the difference.