Xamsa Squash Camp
This year we ran our first-ever Xamsa squash camp, and it was a great success. Xamsa's goal is to support grassroots squash movements by offering camps to club players of all levels, beginner to advanced, at an affordable price. Headed by former PSA pro David Phillips, the event took place at the prestigious Club Atwater conveniently located in Downtown Montreal. Along with 5 more high-level coaches, nearly 50 participants got a chance to improve their squash while making new friends and hitting partners. The camp consisted of 4 sessions, with each session emphasizing a different aspect of the game: foundations, attacking, movement and gameplay.
Below you will see the original poster and summaries of those sessions describing the general layout and drills, along with some of the fun experiences.
We are looking forward to running more camps in the future that will be accessible to everyone, and we hope you guys/gals will be interested!
24 May 2015 - 14 June 2015
We are happy to announce the first ever Xamsa Squash Camp brought to you by Club Atwater and Sports Virtuoso.
Price: $60 for the whole program ($50 for Club Atwater members)
When: Every Sunday from May 24, 2015 till June 14, 2015 (4 total)
Where: Club Atwater, 3505 Atwater Avenue, Montreal, QC H3H 1Y2
Eligibility: Anyone 18 years and older who wants to improve their squash skills
The program includes:
- 8 sessions of 45 minutes - 2 sessions of 45 minutes a day
- 1-month free access to Club Atwater facilities for non-members (including squash, badminton, gym and more)
- A lot of fun
We will be able to accommodate a total of 45 players (10 spots will be reserved for Club Atwater members).
15 players per block of 1 hour 30 min:
- 10:00 - 11:30
- 11:45 - 13:30
- 13:45 - 15:30
The sale of packages will start on April 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM.
Just go to www.sportsvirtuoso.com and click on the banner which will be located on home page.
The participants will be divided into 3 levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced.
Please indicate your approximate level when filling out the form (we will have a quick evaluation at the beginning of the program to ensure a good fit).
Please also indicate the time preference and we will try to accommodate.
As you read this, the program is being carefully developed by former PSA world #60 David Phillips, head pro at Club Atwater. Other top players in Quebec such as Jason De Lierre and Josh Schwartz will assist to make the squash camp productive and enjoyable for players of all levels.
Any questions? Please contact Tim Burganov at Tim@vist.ca or (514)880-9311
May 24, 2015 - First Session
Hey Ladies and Gents,
This Sunday May 24th we ran the first leg of our first ever Xamsa squash camp, and things got off to a great start. As a non-profit program, the goal of the camp is to expand the wonderful game of squash as much as possible. It was conceived to bring squash enthusiasts together from all over Quebec, making it more accessible to all participants who may be interested, whether fresh beginners just trying the sport out to more seasoned vets looking to hone their skills.
The camp was hosted at the prestigious Club Atwater, a fantastic sporting facility located near the heart of Downtown Montreal, who were generous enough to offer their space to help support our event, and sponsored by Xamsa, a squash company dedicated to offering great products at reasonable prices. Xamsa has always been interested in supporting squash at a grass roots level, constantly looking for ways to grow the squash community and helping those who may not have the luxury of being able to afford expensive lessons to improve their games.
With this in mind, the Xamsa squash camp was created. Headed by David Phillips, former PSA top 60 and Squash Pro at Club Atwater, the organization of proceedings was certainly in good hands. Several other knowledgeable coaches contributed to make sure the quality of instruction was as high as possible, well-ranked players such as Jason Delierre (former PSA and assistant Pro), Josh Schwartz (Canada Games coach), Tim Burganov (Xamsa partner), Pranav Sharma (top local player), as well as Vincent Ferlat (passionate squash enthusiast).
Taking place over the course of a month, this was only the first week of the camp! The day was divided into 3 one and and half hour sessions of 16 participants, each starting at a different time, and further subdivided according to skill levels, assessed from beginners to intermediate to advanced. From these rough divisions, players were spread out across 4 courts, 4 players per court to ensure that everybody could receive plenty of attention from our coaches.
As all good squash camps should, we started off with foundations building, focussing on precise technique and solid positioning. As espoused by David Phillips and many other great coaches, positioning in squash is key, so we worked hard on creating a lot of space and keeping our stances nice and square to the side walls. To do this, we employed several drills, moving from straight drives to cross courts to boasts and lobs, spending plenty of time on each to make sure everybody could understand and apply changes to suit their needs. Finally, after the tough learning, we ended off with some fun happy-go-lucky ‘three quarter’ and ‘king of the court’ games where everybody could test out their new tricks against one another.
Overall, we’re extremely pleased with the turnout and the first session was a great success. While this week may have focussed on foundations and defensive tactics, next week we’re switching gears to learn about the attacking side of the game! It should be a lot of fun, so make sure not to miss out, and see you guys/gals next week!
Jason De Lierre
May 31, 2015 - Session 2
After Week 1, we all were looking forward to Week 2. To reiterate a few things - we worked on the basic aspects of the game, the straight drives, cross courts and lobs. These make the backbone of a successful squash player. With these basics absolutely right, one can then move onto more complex parts of the game i.e. the attacking part.
All the best squash players in the World, the Jahangir Khan’s, the Peter Nicol’s etc. all had a great basic game, they could hit straight drives for hours and could hit a perfect lob from any corner of the court and to top all of this they were always in the position that we taught and hence could reset the play whenever needed.
Week 2 started off with us reiterating what was taught during Week 1, some key aspects were reinforced whether it was the correct positioning of the shoulders and the body or whether it was how the racquet had to be prepared for a certain type of shot. We then moved on to what was the attacking version of squash. We worked on straight kills and crosscourt kills. We also did a mixture of these shots with the ones that were taught to us on Week 1 and played a few drills.
We finished these things off in the end with a few rallies playing three quarter game and straight games. In the future, we all will notice how important these shots are in the game and especially how underrated the lob actually is. We will also notice that how shots like the lobs even though look so easy and simple but are the hardest to master.
I request that during this week you play a few guys where you practice these shots and to cap it all off - here are a few things that we should take into consideration while practicing these shots in a match type situation:
- Shoulders facing the side wall
- Waiting racquet always
- Run back to the T after hitting the shot
- Don’t get over excited when a loose ball is given to you
- Always hit with the leading leg in front
- Always make contact with the ball when it is at the highest position as soon as it is about to start dropping down
- Take your space, make sure there is enough room to hit that ball
- For a straight drive, hit the ball as soon as it enters the inner part of the leading knee
- For a cross court, hit the ball just in front of the leading knee
- For a kill, drop the leading shoulder down
- For a kill, always try to hit over the ball, and aim in such a way that it bounces at least twice before the red line on the floor
- Hit the corner for a cross court so that the opponent wouldn’t be able to cut it off
- For a straight drive, make sure that the ball dies at the back with the second bounce hitting the back wall
June 07, 2015 - Session 3
When putting the program together, I always knew week 3 was going to be a tough one. With the focus of the session on speed, fitness and movement there were bound to be a few cases of “squash butt” on Monday morning.
We started off the day with a quick recap of the skills we have been working on over the past few weeks (straight/cross length, lobs, boasts, kills). As the session progressed and players were nice and warm it was time for the fun to begin. Two sets of 20 court sprints was a great way to get started with a big emphasis on backpedaling from the front to mimic a real game situation.
Tip: It is very common to side shuffle back to the “T” after striking the ball from the front of the court. Forcing yourself to backpedal during these sprints will be great practice in improving your speed back to the “T”.
As our legs stopped burning and we finally caught our breath, it was on to the “ghosting”. In addition to gaining fitness and speed, “ghosting” is a great way to map out your movements around the court. Not having to concentrate on striking the ball will give you the freedom to really focus on each step you have to take around the court. It is also a great way to develop muscle memory by repeating the movements to the same corner over and over again.
First up was the “six point drill”. Despite the name of the drill sounding like a delicious cocktail you would order at a resort, I assure you it is very difficult. Mapping out your steps, having to swing at the end of each lunge and trying to maintain a steady breath makes for a very tough minute and a half.
We then graduated to lateral ghosting movements and random corner movements chosen by yours truly. Everyone did a terrific job and worked extremely hard!
Reminder: When moving into the 4 corners of the court always try and move in a banana shape to the ball. This will ensure that you will have the space you need when striking it.
We ended the day as usual with a few games of 3/4 court. Despite the courts being drenched with sweat and a few sore muscles I think the day was a great success and I look forward to seeing all of you this Sunday.
Last Session - June 14th, 2015
The last session of the Xamsa squash camp culminated in style this Sunday. The order of the day was matchplay, putting everything that we’ve covered over the previous 3 weeks into practice. It was a great way to see how much players have improved, what they’ve learnt and how well they could translate it into positive results. Besides, everybody loves matches, that’s why we play squash!
So, we started the day by playing ‘3/4 court’, to get everybody warmed up and in the competitive mood. This condition game is great for beginners and advanced players alike, since with a smaller court it’s easier to pay attention to holding the ‘T’ without too much pressure. Once the competitors were nice and warm, we paired them off and let them loose against one another in 1v1 bouts, one game at a time. As players sparred on court, coaches watched on the sidelines and interjected to offer helpful hints, tips and solid advice on anything ranging from tactics to positioning to shot selection. All the while, those sitting out got to analyze the games of those playing to figure out their opponents strengths and weaknesses, and develop a good a bird’s eye view of the sport.
Certainly it was a tall order for players on and off court, as we all know how difficult it can be to think about implementing new tactics and strategies while trying to stay focussed on the point at hand! That being said, the players did great, and everyone was receptive to the feedback and willing to experiment and try new things in the heat of battle.
In terms of tactics, emphasis during the games began with foundations. We wanted to build up well-structured points, creating space by squaring the shoulders, holding the ‘T’ position, and focussing on hitting good solid lengths to the back of the court to have opponents cough up easy openings. Once the loose balls presented themselves, then it was time to shift gears and go into attacking mode, showing a little flair to put in some quick low kills. Players quickly learnt how to employ this tried-and-true strategy to their own advantage, and noticed the effectiveness in its simplicity almost immediately.
As play winded down, everybody had their fill of squash along with a bunch of new ideas to take home. Each player got to spar with the members of their group several times and the coaches as well, which meant that everybody saw plenty of variety to be able to find out what worked against different playing styles. All in all, the day, and the whole Xamsa squash event, was a great success. There was always a fun, social and motivating atmosphere throughout the camp, with many players finding new hitting partners and making new friends. It was a fantastic turnout, and hopefully we’ll organize many more in the future!
Jason De Lierre