Squash Mad

Measuring accuracy with the Geoff Hunt Test

Geoff Hunt with Qatar star Abdullah Al Tamimi

Useful tool to help coaches monitor performance 
By DOMINIC BENACQUISTA – Squash Mad Correspondent

One of the many challenges squash coaches and athletes face, is actually being able to measure quantifiable improvements in one’s hitting ability that will transfer to match play. Even Australian Squash legend Geoff Hunt had this problem!

Due to this, Geoff and the resident sports scientists at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar, designed a simple test comprising 13 different shot types to test the hitting accuracy of his players. Hunt was Head Coach from 2006 to 2013, before moving back to Australia, where he now resides on the Gold Coast.

The test was named the Hunt Squash Accuracy Test (HSAT). The development of the HSAT would allow Geoff to track his players’ progress and monitor any changes that occurred during their training.

Figure 1. Target areas in the HSAT. Figure taken from Williams et al., 2016 paper.
Before the HSAT was implemented within the Aspire Academy’s Squash program, it had to be put through testing itself to confirm whether it was able to produce reliable results and measure what it was supposed to measure.

The good news is that the test showed promising results, with only a small error (1.82%). This demonstrated that it was very reliable. The HSAT was also deemed to be valid as players who scored higher on the HSAT did better during tournament play, which was part of validating the test. To date, three studies have been conducted on the test, all of which the authors have concluded that the test is valid and reliable for measuring hitting accuracy.

Shot / Type / Max Score Protocol
Forehand Drive Middle 50
Hit continuously on the forehand side to self; the ball must hit the back door (0.9 m wide) after bouncing once, then be played again (the first hit is not counted; this includes when or if the player has to restart due to the ball dying).

Backhand Drive Middle 50
Hit continuously on the backhand side to self; the ball must hit the back door (0.9 m wide) after bouncing once, then be played again (the first hit is not counted; this includes when or if the player has to restart due to the ball dying).

Forehand Drive Back 25
Hit continuously to self on the forehand side from behind service box; the ball must not touch the side or back wall and must land within 1 m of the side wall (the first hit is not counted; this includes when or if the player has to restart due to the ball dying).

Backhand Drive Back 25
Hit continuously to self on the backhand side from behind service box; the ball must not touch the side or back wall and must land within 1 m of the side wall (the first hit is not counted; this includes when or if the player has to restart due to the ball dying).

Forehand Volley Drive 25
Hit continuously to self from the half-court line on the forehand side, within the service box; the ball must not touch the side wall and must be hit within 1 m of the side wall (the first hit is not counted; this includes when or if the player has to restart due to the ball dying).

Backhand Volley Drive 25
Hit continuously to self from the half-court line on the backhand side, within the service box; the ball must not touch the side wall and must be hit within 1 m of the side wall (the first hit is not counted; this includes when or if the player has to restart due to the ball dying).

Forehand Volley Drop 25
Standing at the “T”, the ball is fed to the player, who must play a volley shot on the forehand side; the ball’s 2nd bounce must land within 0.35 m from the side wall and 1 m before the half-court line.

Backhand Volley Drop 25
Standing at the “T”, the ball is fed to the player, who must play a volley shot on the backhand side; the ball’s 2nd bounce must land within 0.35 m from the side wall and 1 m before the half-court line.

Forehand Boast 25
The ball is fed to the player on the forehand side via a straight drive shot approximately 0.5 m from the side wall, then, after ball hits the back wall, the player hits a boast (hits the ball into the near side wall, then front wall); the ball’s 2nd bounce must be within 0.7 m from the opposite side wall and 1 m before the half-court line

Backhand Boast 25
The ball is fed to the player on the backhand side via a straight drive shot approximately 0.5 m from the side wall, then, after ball hits the back wall, the player hits a boast (hits the ball into the near side wall, then front wall); the ball’s second bounce must be within 0.7 m from the opposite side wall and 1 m before the half-court line

Forehand Drop 25
Standing at the “T”, the ball is fed to the player on the forehand side, who must play a drop shot; the ball’s 2nd bounce must land within 0.35 m from the side wall and 1 m before the half-court line

Backhand Drop 25
Standing at the “T”, the ball is fed to the player on the backhand side, who must play a drop shot; the ball’s 2nd bounce must land within 0.35 m from the side wall and 1 m before the half-court line.

Volley Mixed 25
Standing behind the “T”, one foot must stay either side of the mid-court line; the ball is hit with alternate forehand and backhand shots continuously without hitting the floor (the first hit is not counted).

Total Overall Score Possible: 375

The results of the testing suggest that the HSAT could be a great tool for coaches and athletes to use, as it could aid in quantifying accuracy improvements over time, outline weaknesses and/or deficiencies in stroke-play or monitor accuracy changes occurring within a training block.

As for tracking and monitoring changes over time, I have linked a calculating tool which you can download from my website. The calculator will:
• Calculate your HSAT Score out of 375.
• Express the score as a percentage out of 100.
• Provide you with a rolling average of your past three performances.
• Compare your most recent HSAT test to your previous performance and determine the change as a percentage.
• Determine whether a true change has occurred i.e. the change calculated (signal) is larger than the test error (noise).

Lastly, it should be noted that there are various limitations to this test, which have been outlined in this review. Lastly, it should be noted that there are various limitations to this test, which have been outlined in this review.

 

 

 

Posted on November 28, 2019

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About The Author

Alan Thatcher

Lifelong sports journalist and squash lover. Event promoter, coach, author, voice artist. Founder of World Squash Day.

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