Tag Archive | training

The Millman Experience weekend club program

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Announcing the next installment of ‘The Millman Experience’ : Intensive training weekends for competitive Squash enthusiasts of all levels. October 17. 18.19, 2014 at Meadow Mill Athletic Club in Baltimore.

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Photo Courtesy of Will Carlin

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE: NEW DATE OCTOBER 17,18,19 – 2014

Hi folks,

I am writing to invite you to another edition of ‘The Millman experience’, my intensive training program for competitive Squash enthusiasts of all ages at Meadow Mill Athletic Club, in Baltimore on the weekend of October 17th, 18th and 19th, 2014.

The schedule will be as follows:

Friday October 17 – 5pm-8.30pm

Saturday October 18 – 10am-4pm ( break for lunch at 12.30pm)

Sunday October 19 – 9am-1pm.

Once again I will have videographer Franklin Sayers at this session all day Saturday and will supply a DVD to those that have completed the full program.

The cost of the weekend will be $400 ( including the CD)

Those wishing to do less than the full weekend are welcome to apply.
The cost per daily session will be as follows:

Friday 5-9pm $135
Saturday Full day 10am-4pm $200.
Sunday $135.

People coming for the full program and those that have attended in the past will be given priority although I hope to fit everyone in. There will be a limit of 16 places.

This will be an exciting and intense training and learning weekend and participants should be ready to work hard throughout.

There are several nice bed and breakfast locations near the club and also the Radisson Cross Keys on Falls road where you can receive a discount by mentioning ‘Meadow Mill.’

Please email me to reserve your participation at: millmansquash@gmail.com

thanks and I look forward to working with you on your game.

best

Richard

Sent from my iPad

Mind/Body – How does your Competitive philosophy affect your mechanical and strategic performance?

As I approach my thirty-eighth year as a professional Sports coach, I find myself increasingly intrigued by the philosophical aspect of competitive development and coaching itself as a field of study.
Many wise coaches over the history of our profession – even back to the days of our true ancestors – the fencing masters and the sergeants at arms and gladiatorial instructors – have routinely declared that 95% of what we do is mental and that the skills that must be learned in order to participate – no matter what the level of excellence achieved – are merely tools and are in reality the entry fee that must be paid to get in to the party. What you do once you have gained entry – that is the crucial part.
This being the case, I cannot help but feel that importance attached to certain areas in the development process are not only given disproportionate quantities of attention but, in point of fact, whilst well meant, do a great deal of damage.

Let me explain.

I have a pet saying that when I look at a competitor performing, what I am seeing is a physical representation of the ideas in that competitor’s head.

Therefore if the philosophy is flawed, no matter how hard the competitor works on mechanics and skills, ultimately the competitor is doomed.

You may work as hard as you like on running a race, but you can only win if you are on the right course.

In my field of competition, the Sport of  Squash, competitors become distracted by the huge volume of attention given to winning and losing, rankings and rivalries, outcomes rather than performance.

This in turn manifests itself in mistaken philosophies and assumptions that misdirect competitive development.

Not only this, but because philosophy directly contributes to mechanics, the physical execution of skills are compromised through a failure to understand ultimate priorities.

Language, as we know both to our benefit and to our cost, is a very powerful tool and so before we speak – and that includes self-talk – we must make sure that we understand the consequences of the words/advice we offer or hear.

For instance a simple example of a philosophy that has disastrous consequences in Squash, is the concept of trying to hit ‘a winner’ – ( a finishing shot).

To the unthinking or the uninitiated this may seem a harmless expression.

But let’s follow through the philosophy:

If a player is attempting to play ‘ a winner’ they are attempting to end the game.

If they are committing to ending the game, how much will they focus/work on the continuation of the game beyond the shot that they are attempting to win with?

None is the answer, because in their minds they are hoping/intending to finish.

Should the opponent retrieve or worse still counter attack against the attempted ‘winner’, the player is unprepared for the next phase of the game – having committed to the end and having made no plan for the future.

But this is not the end of the story.

When a player attempts to play ‘a winner’ it seriously affects the physical and mechanical technique employed.

When attempting to bring play to a halt, the player becomes static – focused as they are on stopping rather than continuing the play. As a result they only employ their upper body strength as in focusing on stopping – they don’t employ their legs to move into position (as they execute their shot) in order to be prepared for the opponent’s possible reply. Why should they? In their mind there isn’t going to be a reply so why move to cover?
As a consequence of not dynamically recruiting the powerful muscles of the legs and thereby creating an energy wave that will flow smoothly and uninterrupted up through their bodies, through their arms and into the ball and at the same time alleviating all stress in the arms to enable the arms , hands and fingers to precisely control the ball – the opposite occurs and the upper body becomes stiff, prevents smooth and precisely controlled weight transference and produces a tight inaccurate, emotionally charged attempt – which frequently results in an error.

I am sure that there are exactly equivalent behaviors in the competitive business world.

All this from a seemingly innocuous expression – ‘ a winner.’

The expression ‘winner’ of course is a description of an outcome that has occurred in the past, not something that should be attempted in the future.
Competitors  should ‘attack’ with gusto, always remembering that highly talented opponents will almost always retrieve those ‘attacks’ and that one should therefore always assume a need have a plan in place for the continuation of the play.
If by some chance the opponent doesn’t retrieve the attack even though you expected them to, then you are in the happy position of having covered every eventuality. And of course because your philosophy was to ‘attack’ without making any prediction as to how successful your ‘attack’ would be, your body has been employed dynamically and thus has produce mechanics which have resulted in the best possible combination of power/weight transference originating in your active legs which in turn was funneled through the precision oriented, relaxed and sensitive, unstressed arms, hands and finger – all in a seamless and natural progression which facilitated both protection for your self ( the primary focus) and pain for your opponent ( an important but secondary focus).

To summarize: Competitive skills must not be developed in isolation from the philosophy of the competition.
Over concentration on ‘how’ to perform a skill rather than on ‘why’ to perform a skill will lead not only to poor strategy but poor execution.

Competitors  must firmly understand their purpose in all of their behaviors otherwise they will emphasize physical and mechanical movements that are counter productive.

In general we in the Competitive world need to direct all of our activities toward putting us ahead on the timeline.

Much is spoken of staying in the moment – but this refers to the physical and mechanical execution of skills being well delivered and not distracted by concerns about possible final outcomes.

In point of fact Competitive people need to focus on remaining physically up to date ( in the present) but mentally slightly ahead ( in the future) to be successful.

Forgive me for misquoting the great Wayne Gretsky, but he is credited for ‘ not wanting to go to where the puck is, but where the puck is going to be.’

That, in a nutshell, is what Competition is about. Keeping your mind being prepared for what could happen next and making sure that whatever you are doing now puts you in the best position to strengthen your situation.
This may mean attacking, defending or both in various ratios.

Always prepare for the worst. Attack like a demon when you can, but never over commit, never become complacent. Hurt your opponent over and over again, but make no assumptions as to how effective your attack will be. A wounded opponent can be a lethal enemy, so keep your guard and your position up until nothing comes back.

Here is the sequence that I believe produces the best player development:

1. Study and understand the philosophy of the game understanding that in order to survive one must always think ahead.
2. Develop movements and skills that adhere to that philosophy.
3. Condition the mind, emotions and body to be able to execute the movements and skills that are in line with the philosophy of the game.
4. Continually review, reappraise and re-rehearse all of the above with an open mind.

With this formula I believe that both competitors and coaches can achieve their maximum potentials.

Richard Millman
Dec 9th 2013.

Weekend Squash camp in Baltimore with Richard Millman:The Squash Doctor

Richard Millman in association with Meadow Mill Athletic Club
presents:

A weekend with The Squash Doctor

Friday to Sunday July 12, 13 and 14 at the Meadow Mill Athletic Club, Clipper Mill Rd, Baltimore, Maryland.

Come and have a fun, informative, competitive and challenging weekend with Richard
Millman.

Experience the unique, thoughtful and focused approach to Squash that has helped
Richard to successfully train players at every level from beginners to international
champions and that he uses himself in his approach to his own game,

In a twelve hour weekend of intensive coaching, The Squash Doctor will give you a
prescription for your own unique development and send you away with a multitude of
ideas and options to improve your game.

To sign up contact Richard at: thesquashdoctor@yahoo.com or phone him on 843 323
7340 and fill in and return the form below before Wed July 3rd 12noon.

Payment can be made by Pay Pal to thesquashdoctor@yahoo.com

Name……………………………………………. Age………………..
Experience/Objectives and Level ( 3.0-5.5 players
welcome)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Email………………………………………………….Phone……………………………………………………….
Address………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
I hereby declare that I have paid the non-refundable deposit of $75 via PayPal to
thesquashdoctor@yahoo.com and that I will pay the balance due upon arrival at the
program on Friday July 12th 2013.

I further declare that I hold harmless Richard Millman, his assistants and Meadow Mill
Athletic club and their employees and agents of any and all injuries or accidents that
may befall me in the course of this program.
So declared and signed by me ( print name)…………………………………………

Signed( Parent/Guardian if minor)……………………………………………………………
Date………………………………….

Cost of Program – $395 Schedule: Friday 5-8, Saturday 9-12 & 1.30-4.30, Sunday 10-1.

Accommodation: Radisson Cross Keys – mention the Meadow Mill rate.

How many thinkers are there in the game of Squash?

In the game of Squash world-wide, we are indeed fortunate to have an enormously broad and deep human asset pool.
We have innovators who are developing the way the game is broadcast. Innovators who are developing the way the game is marketed. Innovators who are constantly striving to evolve the equipment we use.
But how many players, coaches, referees, administrators and promoters accept the game as it is and how many ask deep and searching questions about the status quo? In my own writing I try and promote deep questioning thought and of course, when I come across those who seem to have a similar bent, I am delighted.
In my book ‘Angles’ I tried to pique the curiosity of readers by challenging accepted wisdom and asking contributors to reveal their own thoughts on the subjects that my poems considered.
At 52 years old, having been in Squash almost all my life, I am gradually becoming a little more tolerant and considerate of ideas that oppose my own – and perhaps a little more effective at outlining the reasons for my differing.
How refreshing it is then when an individual comes to the fore who is young, considerate and importantly a deep thinking individual who profoundly investigates ideas to the point of continually challenging  and evolving their own previously held values.
Such an individual, it seems to me, is James Willstrop.

It is of course wonderful that he has become the number one player in the world. And wonderful that he is such an extraordinary exponent of our game.

But if you have read any of his writing either in his regular newspaper columns or his new book: ‘A Shot and a Ghost,’ or elsewhere, you will appreciate that his playing of the game is actually a  physical realization of a very complex and deep mind.
James Willstrop is the world number one, but I suspect that his contribution to the sport will go far beyond that accolade – rare as it is.

Medicine Ball Training for Functional Performance.

Since I have suffered both hip and knee injuries and impact has become a serious concern for me, I have looked for alternative training methods to both prepare and maintain myself for intensive Squash competition.

The “discovery” of Medicine Ball training has been a lifesaver.

I have used the Medicine Ball in one way or another since I was a kid at school, but more recently I have incorporated it in my coaching and training. If I am honest ‘though, I had mainly subjected my students to the Medicine Ball routines and hadn’t done a great deal myself.

When I still owned a Squash club, I invited famed Sports Specific trainer Damon Leedale Brown to come and offer some Functional Training sessions to my members. I also participated and the experience proved to be something of a light bulb for me.

Damon had worked extensively with James Willstrop and Vanessa Atkinson – both world number one Squash players at various times – and had studied extensively how the movement patterns of Squash players both function and breakdown.

When we fatigue our musculatures naturally default to less efficient movement patterns and Damon was able to explore Sports Specific exercises to counter the loss of efficiency.

Much of this work was developed using the Medicine Ball.

After my sessions with Damon, I began to develop exercises based on my own knowledge of Squash and specific to the types of movement that I needed to be able to reproduce.

The net result is that I now have a simple training program that I try to use once or twice per week.

I am delighted with the results.

Not only are my joints protected, but my movement efficiency on the court is noticeably improved when I do the Medicine Ball sessions consistently.

With my existing hip and knee injuries, my form when reproducing these exercises is not the best – so rather than trying to emulate me – I strongly advise you to read and watch some of the numerous brochures/ videos that there are available on the net, in order to gain the correct impression of how these exercises are done. See the links below.

http://www.coreperformance.com/knowledge/movements/medicine-ball-rdl-to-overhead-squat-tennis.html

http://www.coreperformance.com/medicine-ball/

http://www.performbetter.com/wcsstore/PerformBetter/catalog/assets/Excercisesheets/PDF/MedBall%20Handout.pdf

www.coreperformance.com is a great site with powerful information that is of great practical value to Squash players – particularly if you interpret your own movement patterns when you are fresh and try to analyze how you are breaking down when you are fatigued. You can also follow them on twitter: @coreperformance

When you purchase a Medicine Ball I would recommend that you buy a ball that is comfortable for you. If you have never done any medicine ball training and you are a slight person or a junior who hasn’t passed puberty yet I would suggest a very light ball – no more than 4 pounds.  I myself use a 6 or 8 pound ball and find that more than adequate. If you are in great shape and have used Medicine Balls a lot you might want 8 or 10 pounds – but try the lighter ball first.  There is great advice for how to select your Medicine Ball at www.coreperformance.com

I would recommend the rubberized ball that bounces as you can do a broad range of exercises with these balls.You can purchase your this equipment at www.performbetter.com. This is a great site to buy your Medicine Ball.

My typical session includes 4 to 6 different exercises. I typically do 15 reps of the leg and arm focused exercises, and around 30 of the core based exercises.

I try to do a Squash movement such as the one in the picture below (see images below and excuse my form), followed by a core exercise and then a swinging arm exercise and then a Squat and upward driving movement exercise. If  I do my 15 reps for each exercise (both sides if the exercise involves lateral movements) and 30 reps for my core exercises and repeat the whole series twice, it typically takes me between 30 minutes to an hour.

Once or twice a week in addition to my stamina and sprint sessions,  plus my games and training/practice sessions seems to provide this 52 year old body with a strong foundation for competition.

I strongly recommend you try this program. If you are not sure of your movements you should get some advice from a trainer or experienced Medicine ball user. Certainly watch the available videos carefully.

I would love to hear about your results so please get back to me with your findings!

Meanwhile – Good Training to you!

Top Row Squash Movements  – Bottom Row Coordinating Medicine Ball Movements:

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