Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Squash Matters: A therapeutic process born in our sport

How low repetitions lead to a faster retention of new skills in squash

It has been almost three year since we published our last Gevolution articles. They described an alternative path to squash learning born in and evolved from differential learning created by Wolfgang Scholhorn. 

As you can see below, repetition is among the least effective recognized training system for learning in sport. With our own experience over the last three years and that of more that 30 coaches in different European countries we can now clearly affirm this to be correct and would even say that an excess of repetition is a limiting factor in our ability achieve change in squash.

We have talked about working with teenagers with motor skill issues and disabilities and we saw that they would also change with the same surprising speed as normal players but in their cases value of the progression was therapeutic.

Just before Covid hit, by chance I met with the Moya family. Victor (former squash player) had a motor bike accident 23 years ago and has a severe lateral paralysis and ataxia (shaking).

Fifteen years ago he was told that nothing more could be done for him.  We decided to apply the Gevolution concepts to the Rox (devices with lights). After a few weeks I started to see small changes and contacted with Patricia, a squash player and physio, specialist in neuro rehabilitation. She confirmed that he was making small changes and said “that’s not normal!” 

Victor has been working with PCI for three years now and continues to make small changes, his shaking has reduced by 70% and he can now eat soup with a spoon, and according to his family his memory and attention have improved clearly.

Patricia started giving the concepts and sessions a therapeutic structure and we started trials with other people with different disabilities. We were again surprised to see clear changes. Alba, a four-year-old with cerebral palsy who was stable after two years of traditional therapy started to improve her movement!

We wanted to test further and Alba and Arantxa joined us. 

Alba (Physio) started working with the high dependency residents (Psychological and physical disabilities) in her centre and started to see clear postural and mobility changes. Up until now the therapeutic objective with these residents was maintenance and avoiding decline.

Arantxa (special education specialist) gives PE classes in a special education school to children very wide range of conditions including cerebral palsy, Hidrocefalia, despraxia adhd and autism.  Claudia, 18, who has cerebral palsy could open the clip on her wheel for the first time in her life and amongst other things is now able to control her wheel chair better than ever before. 

Arantxa’s work with autistic children work is also breaking molds. One of her colleagues commented: “If you told me one year ago that Stalin is doing what he is today I would have told you that it was impossible!! – I want to start working with you!”

At this time we decided to name our work Physio Cognitive Integration (PCI).

With these results we were invited to present PCI to health specialists in the Cantabria regional health service. 

From here, we were invited to do a research study related to Prevention of falls and cognitive decline with residents in a geriatric residential complex. We have finished the study but are unable share the results until it is published. We can say that the results showed a clear difference between the control group and the intervention group so we believe we’re a good path. We have also completed an end of Masters project, a case study on a stroke victim with exceptional results and their professors are encouraging Sara and Eva to publish their work as well. 

This month we have started training more that 15 Physio, occupational, logopedic and psychological therapists in a leading Neuro rehab center in Barcelona and presented our work in the Catalan conference for specialists working with Geriatric Residential centres. 

In this time we have continued to work with squash players from beginners through to elite players and coaches and are on a continuous learning path which we’ll share in the next articles. The level of change we’re seeing in with PCI has also taken us to a new level of appreciation of what can be achieved in squash. We can say confidence that with Gevolution learning and improving has become a stimulating and fun process and is not limited by age, sex or physical ability. 

With our ongoing experience and as talked about in the earlier articles, we can say Gevolution – PCI works through an understanding of how distractions, insecurities or fears interfere with how we use our eyes thus conditioning the way our body moves. And these concepts combined with low repetitions lead to a faster retention of new skills.

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