Press release: The Millman Experience and Richard and Pat Millman are joining Scenic City Squash in Chattanooga!!
We are excited to announce that the Millman Experience will be moving to a new home as of February 27th 2017.
Richard Millman will be joining Scenic City Squash in Chattanooga Tenessee as Director of Squash and Pat Millman will be joining him as Assistant Director. The Millman Experience will have its new base of operations at Scenic City Squash.
” I am absolutely delighted to be able to join Scenic City Squash and Mike and Taylor Monen. The Monens are squash crazy and are highly motivated to help grow the game – not just at Scenic City Squash but everywhere. Their passion for our game exactly mirrors the passion that Pat and I have for the people of Squash and for the sport itself,” said Millman, the owner of The Squash Doctor Corp and the originator of The Millman Experience.
Millman’s first priority will be to develop Scenic City Squash’s programs at all levels, whilst simultaneously developing the Chattanooga club as a ‘go-to’ destination for the development of the game both in terms of coaching and tournament play.
Mike Monen, the owner of Scenic City Squash said,
” We are so excited to bring Richard and Pat Millman into our Scenic City Squash Family. It’s seriously a dream come true and I look forward to working with them to make Scenic City Squash the absolute best it can be. I look forward to what the future brings and making a life long friendship with the Millman squash family. ”
Millman will offer The Millman Experience at Scenic City Squash and will welcome students of the game from all over the world to study with him at the Tennessee club. He will also continue to attend major masters events and will take players from Scenic City Squash with him both to tournaments and on tour to the UK and elsewhere.
Philosophy, Analysis, Practicality, Strategy and Execution in Squash. A five part series by Richard Millman. Part 2: Analysis
Phlilosophy, analysis, practicality, strategy and execution in Squash.
A five part series, by Richard Millman.
Part 2. Analysis
As I said in the first of this series of five articles, the central pillar and most important priority in the game of Squash, and indeed in the struggle for life itself, is survival.
This powerful and apparently simple principle, is much less than simple to adhere to, however. In the complex application of behaviors that we see in Squash, the essential principle of life and death is often forgotten and is eclipsed by behaviors that should be being used to survive but, for various reasons, are given such focus and attention, that they improperly take on a life of their own and receive undue or misplaced attention – ultimately to the detriment of their original essential purpose.
In order to develop as a Squash player it is essential to clearly analyze and clearly understand the capacities required to survive, without becoming sidetracked.
In the battle for life, ultimate survival is a punishing razor’s edge where complacency or mis-judgement, over-confidence or loss of focus, have only one outcome:
Since time immemorial, human beings have been engaged in the battle for survival against other species and against our own species.
Whichever it was against, two key traits were and are required in order to succeed, overcome and survive. These two traits are as true today as they were a million years ago or however long ago it was that our ancestors first fought to survive.
These two traits work in combination, are as important as each other, are interdependent, but must never be confused or used as substitutes for one another.
The first can be termed ‘Primary focus.’
Primary focus is used to ‘attend’ to a human being’s most immediate and urgent matters at hand (more on the much mistaken concept of attention in a later part of this series).
In primeval times it may have been used to follow the spoor or trail of prey, or to attend to a Grizzly bear that suddenly confronted you, or a hostile member of our own species who was attacking.
On the Squash court Primary Focus is concerned with the ball.
Only the ball.
The second of these essential traits that work in concert for our survival can be termed ‘Peripheral Awareness.’
Peripheral Awareness is used to continuously scan your surroundings and the environment around which a human being’s most immediate and urgent matter at hand is transpiring.
In primeval times it may have been the forest around the trail you were tracking to ensure that you didn’t step on a dry twig and give your presence away or break your ankle stepping into a gopher hole, it may have been detailed awareness of the immediate area in order to escape or trap the Grizzly bear confronting you, it may have been knowledge of the obstacles around you and your attacker as you fought for survival – to ensure that you didn’t lose your footing or have your ability to maneuver thwarted.
On the Squash court Peripheral Awareness is concerned with everything except the ball.
It is what we use to continuously be intimately familiar with the entire court and our place within it.
It is what we use to continuously be aware of our opponent’s position, their options,the angles of possibility of those options and the best location from which to equilaterally defend the court against the specific options of that moment.
It is what we use to continuously be aware of imminent happenings such as the opponent imminently hitting the ball or the ball imminently hitting the nick or ourselves imminently running into a wall or our opponent or their racquet.
It is what we use in the process known as Hand/Eye coordination – a vastly useful tool that humans use in the survival process, not just to strike a moving object, but to judge the intersection of any moving objects – and that with a level of accuracy that is as extraordinary as it is microscopic.
It is what we use in an inextricable partnership with our Primary Focus to attempt to avoid death.
These two then, are the tools of human survival and success.
We use them to manage the commodity of survival.
But what is the commodity of survival?
That which a surfeit of means life and a lack thereof turns us into slaves and even leads to death?
It is non other than Time itself.
That monstrous, slippery, never-ending, fickle, resource.
The dance of life and death wherein human beings have used the two vital perception systems that I have described, Primary Focus and Peripheral Awareness, in order to lethally manage Time, is as old as mankind and as paramount today as it was then and all the days between.
It was and is still the difference between you and the Tiger’s jaws, between you releasing your arrow and the Antelope escaping, between your swerving body and your opponent’s sword tip or your sword tip and their body, and in Squash between you and the ball being struck by your opponent and then bouncing twice and between your opponent and you striking the ball and it bouncing twice.
It is a minuscule amount of time that when marginally increased by stealing it from your opponent or expanding it through management of your actions, can make you feel enormously powerful; conversely that minuscule amount of time can be rapidly lost by loss of focus or poor decisions or by incapacity and suddenly you are the most miserable pauper in the world.
Survival is determined by your capacity to balance time in your favor. But that balancing act is performed on a razors edge and unless you have analyzed just precisely what is required to survive and prepared yourself to be able to practically do so, disaster awaits you.
The tools at your disposal: Primary Focus and Peripheral Awareness.
The task you must perform with those tools: The management of the time between you and the ball being struck and bouncing twice.
The prize: Survival – in the face of the opponent’s efforts to do so.
But how do we practically manage time? What are the necessary assets and skills required to effectively manage these tools that we have carefully analyzed? And what are the pitfalls?
In my next article I will discuss the Practicality of Survival.
Please enjoy my article as published today on Squashmad.com below:
Please enjoy my article from Squash Magazine below:
Credit where credit’s due.
I have been criticized recently for seeming to be harsh in my criticism of some of the decisions and choices that those in positions of power in our sport have either made or failed to make.
I am not a competitor in a popularity contest.
I have been a Squash professional for over 35 years and throughout that time I have done my best to push the boundaries of Squash.
The failure of England Squash and Racketball to learn how to develop our sport as a business, in my opinion, is a fact and a consummate disaster.
ESR have done other great things I am sure, but the fact remains that participation in our sport in England has declined sadly and in particular in the women’s game.
This particular piece is not, however, about that.
In the aforementioned 35 year span of my professional career in Squash, I have traveled far and wide and have had many and various experiences within the confines of our sport.
Even before I entered the professional ranks, I met some extraordinary people as a junior Squash player.
One of my fellow juniors left a lasting impression on me.
He was a wonderful player with probably the finest drop shot technique that I ever saw – even until today.
He was a great competitor and yet never felt the need to boast. He let his racquet do the talking.
Just before the end of his illustrious junior career he suffered with a debilitating health problem which is not particularly relevant to my story and so negates the necessity of me mentioning it here.
Fortunately he was able to overcome his illness and returned to the game.
For one reason or another he didn’t have a career on the world stage, although in my opinion had he elected to do so, he would have met with an unusually high degree of success.
After I became a professional and played professional Squash I played him several times. The best I ever did was to win a game from him in an inter-county match. He simply did the things that I did considerably better than I did them.
Later on in my travels representing several racket companies, I dropped in to visit him in one of his first positions as a coach and had the pleasure of watching him work with a talented 10 or 11 year old. I was fascinated to see the pressure drills and interpersonal skill with with he exhorted the boy to feats of athleticism that defied belief in a player so young.
The young boy’s name was Simon Parke.
In later years I had the pleasure of helping a young man that had been on my Essex U14 team. Tony Hands was ranked somewhere in the 20s in England at the time. I knew he had great potential and I also knew that I had no time or opportunity to work with him.
He had terrific athleticism and enthusiasm, but in my opinion lacked feel and touch. So of course I sent him to the coach who I believed to have the best drop shot I had ever seen. Under such supervision Tony Hands went on to become a wonderful and successful member of the World Tour.
The coach I am referring to had a number of difficult interactions with ESR. First because in the early years when some people had qualifications and some had not, ESR decided to alienate this coach by undermining him for a lack of official qualifications -despite his extraordinary and irrefutable track record.
After a brief sojourn in the USA, he returned to his roots in England and to Yorkshire in particular.
He and I once had a little disagreement about the technical aspect of the sport. When a few years later he changed his view, he went out of his way to point out that he had altered his view more in line with my own. This is a very rare quality in the coaching world of strong egos and personal opinions.
Later he was welcomed into the ESR fold and had several very successful years before he fell foul of political machinery that often produces casualties that have little to do with the performance of the individual, who then suffers from the wheeling and dealing that leads to their demise.
Despite perhaps feeling abused and unappreciated, this coach has retained his good nature. He never fails to greet a fellow pro when he sees them at an event, always taking the time to pass the time of day and to enquire into the state of things in that person’s own life.
But today, operating once again in his favored role as a trainer of Squash players, he stands out.
In my 35 years I have met many wonderful professionals, players, administrators, promoters, sponsors, benefactors and good old recreational club hackers.
But of all those professionals that I have had the pleasure of meeting, in my opinion, there is no finer trainer of Squash professionals and players than the man of whom I speak.
He is of course the coach of record breaking three time world champion Nick Matthew.
I salute you David Pearson.
Not just for the successes that the world knows you for, but for the years, months, days and hours of unending hard work, through thick and thin, personal highs and lows, that I know that you have endured and that have gone into the making of a champion’s coach.
You are truly a professional’s professional.
Before I give you my two cents worth on this so called ‘Debate’ that has somehow gained some traction on websites recently, I want to say ‘Hats off’ to Kevin Klipstein and US Squash.
Kevin and I don’t always see eye to eye, but in this matter, in my humble opinion, he and the association are streets ahead of the competition.
Now to the heart of the matter: are Women worth the same money as Men in Squash?
First of all, I assume this discussion – it’s hardly a debate – was triggered by one of the rising PSA players’s twitter comment.
It was certainly inflammatory. I don’t know if it was a serious comment based on thoughtful consideration, on weighing up all available evidence, on consideration of the effect of the remark. I rather think not. But I didn’t make the remark so I don’t know for sure.
What I do know is that Women exact every bit as much pain and effort from themselves as Men do in pursuit of excellence in our sport.
I have been coaching this sport Man and Boy since 1976 when as a high school player I started helping out other team mates and friends. In the intervening time I have been privileged to work in some capacity or other with the following players at some point in their development: Alex Cowie, Cassie Jackman, Omneya Abdel Kawy, Michelle Quibell, Louise Johnson, Amy Gross, Julia Beaver AND Chris Walker, Tony Hands, Del Harris, Mark Chaloner, Julian Illingworth, Paul Millington, Mark Heather, Robbie Lingashi, Ahmed Hamza, Josh Schwartz, Rishaad Pandole.
However long or short my interaction with these players was, I can guarantee you that there was no discernible difference in how hard they tried – everyone of them gave every last drop of effort that they could muster.
Every professional Squash player, whatever their gender, is contributing toward the development and success of this sport.
If you try and value one gender above the other you are failing to understand the intangible nature of the contributions that both are making to society – your society.
You may as well say that a good father is worth more than a good mother. Think about that for a moment.
If we don’t value the Women’s game as highly as the Men’s game we fail to understand our own origins.
As to the practicalities of the matter – well there is no doubt that it is much more practical for club coaches to show the average club player the game by using the WSA and the Women’s Professional tour as an example because the average club player can relate to what they see there.
Not many people can easily relate to what Ramy Ashour is doing – because at the moment he is pretty much the only one doing it. Even his opponents are having a hard time relating to it!
But this is not the point – the point is that we want Women and Men to be valued for their contributions. Their contributions are different – the proverbial Apple and Orange – but equally valuable and equally necessary.
But in the case of Squash – we want to equally reward those that are the best Apples in the world and those that are the best Oranges in the World.
So far as I am aware there is no standing competition where Apples compete against Oranges – nor should there be.
Without giving Women equal standing in society our societies fail. Consider the countries where war/persecution is still prevalent. Consider the countries where Women have parity. Then think about which societies you would prefer to live in.
Without the Women’s game, there is no Men’s game in the long run and even in the medium term – without the Women’s game, the Men’s game would degenerate into ugliness.
In all things balance – no Ying without Yang.
So either you support parity for Women, shouting ‘Vive la difference’ from the roof tops or give your mum a call, and see how she responds to your idea that she isn’t worth the same as your dad.
A day trip to Aosta.
After a wonderful party with seventy or more of the World Masters Games Squash players that featured a seemingly endless Turinese dinner so typical of Italy – more of a fiesta than a meal – Pat and I walked the fifteen minutes or so through the classically porticoed – ‘though eerily quiet- late night streets of Torino and caught the penultimate metro train home to our little apartment on the Corso Brunelleschi.
Following an all-too-brief, six-and-a-bit hours in bed, we awakened to honor our previously arranged rendezvous with some of our US Squash team mates.
Neither Pat nor I were particularly bright or breezy as we dragged our bodies back to the Massaua metro stop at 7.30am to ensure that we met our assignation at the Porto Nuova at 8.10 or so.
After a painless train trip, a deliciously hot cup of Cafe’ Machiato and a few tasty morsels from the pastry shop at the station, we wandered over to platform 14 to meet our friends.
Despite an overwhelming desire to shut our eyes, the intriguing prospect of the Piedmonte region’s landscape kept us glued to the windows.
We were not disappointed.
As the distant Alps drew steadily closer, we were rewarded with a variety of hillside ‘pensione’ that seemingly clung to the rock defying gravity; terraced vineyards beautifully ordered with almost geometric precision and distant alpine meadows where one could imagine mountain sheep and grizzled ancient shepherds plying their age-old trade undisturbed by the hue and cry of the modern world below.
We changed at Ivrea and immediately became aware of the impending proximity of the French border as the voices on the Aosta train took on a distinctly gallic tone.
The view from the window became yet more spectacular as the milky waters of mountain streams cascaded powerfully into the valley almost threatening to carry the ancient stone bridges away as they burst out from beneath them.
The increasingly French influence on the area became further enforced as we arrived in the little city of Aosta and noticed that the signs at the train station were in both Italian and French. After some momentary uncertainty we ascertained the whereabouts of the city-center and on completing a two or three minute walk, we found ourselves in a beautiful large piazza, dominated by the impressive Hotel de Ville. The street signs themselves were written in French and everywhere French and Italian flags wafted symbiotically in the cheery breeze.
We immediately availed ourselves of the variety of coffee offerings from one of the piazza’s several boulevard cafe’s and I plumpted for a Nuttichino – an interesting mixture of chocolate Nutella, cafe mocha and hot milk foam.
Suitably replenished we made our way to the Ponte Pretorian which did indeed prove to be a remarkably well preserved Roman gate and beneath its arches we found the city’s tourist information office. In the process we were met with the most picturesque view of the Via Ponte Pretorian – a lovely street given over to a combination of delicatessens, souvenir shops, cafe’s, artisan’s workshops and local linen stores. Making a mental note to return later, we crowded into the tourist information bureau.
Prior to our trip I had done my utmost via the world-wide-web to discover the sights to be seen in Aosta. I had found evidence of a cable car to the ski resort of Pila, but every page I scrutinized seemed to suggest that it was closed in the off or non-ski season.
For this reason I was pleased and amazed when the pleasant English speaking young lady behind the counter assured me that it was very much open and available to take us up to Pila.
Having discovered that there was a 12.45-2.15 lunch break when the cable car shut down, we scurried along and – despite a detour born of self-imposed mistaken directions – arrived with five minutes to spare.
The seventeen minute trip from Aosta to Pila costs five euros and is worth every cent. Within moments of departing, the spectacular panorama of the Alps around the little city enveloped our tiny world – suspended on an impossibly thin wire – and like an insignificant asteroid in the massive void of the universe, we floated ever upward toward our ultimate goal : Pila -one of the most famous ski and mountain bike resorts in this part of the world.
Having passed several way stations, we gently bumped into the Pila arrival station and as the doors opened we stepped out into crisp air, seven and half thousand feet above the spot from which we had embarked but a few minutes before.
In the final moments of the ascent we had noted the location of at least two very inviting ‘ristorante’ – one crowded and busy with children, bikers, table-tennis and the other that featured a family sitting around a picnic table that supported two large, impossibly refreshing looking beers.
After stopping for a few snaps for the album and having established that the noisy pub held much less attraction for us than the quiet, refreshing beer-prominent one, we marched down the hill to stake our claim.
I was in the mood for a walk and our team mate Julie Kessler was also up for the challenge. Pat, on the other hand, had spotted the invitingly comfortable lounge chairs at the ristorante and nobly volunteered to forego the walk and to bravely defend our backpacks whilst we were away.
The others seeing the logic of Pat’s thought pattern did the same.
So it was left to Julie and me to brave the heights – which we duly did for a good 30 minutes. Within the first five I was struggling for breath and after 20 I had to take a break, realizing as I did that the thin air was liable to make me ill if I didn’t take care. Having had the rest, Julie and I walked back down the hill and regrouped with the team.
The views were heavenly and the world in which we dwelt for those couple of hour was truly other-worldly, quickly vanquishing the memories of that nether land from whence we had recently arrived.
Time however waits for no man( or woman come to that) and we knew that our sojourn to Nirvana must come to an end.
We gathered ourselves after a quick lunch and headed for the descent which, while equally spectacular, was over far too quickly.
Back then to the beautiful pocket city of Aosta.
Pat was on a mission to buy gifts for our grandchildren and for the first time this trip, her personal compass was on fire as she headed gangbusters for the previously mentioned Via Ponte Pretorian and shopaholism!
I am not always – perhaps I should more accurately say – I am seldom – a good shopping companion. It is remarkable to me that I have managed to achieve a level of fitness on the Squash court that has won me multiple national titles and yet when it comes to the grueling physical challenge of shopping I am like a novice contestant on the first day of the TV program ‘The Biggest Loser’.
Even short bouts are liable to floor me.
On this occasion however Pat was on world class sprinting form and found every item she was looking for in short order.
Having won the competition and perhaps even threatened the previous world shopping record, we were rewarded with a post match respite and collapsed into the shaded chairs of a lovely cafe’ at the end of the Via Porte Pretorian.
One cup of English Breakfast combined with the Prince of Wales’s own blend for me and a Coke light to the good for Pat and, with a zephyr breeze around my ears, I gratefully slipped into an afternoon doze.
Awakening to discover that I had not realized that I had dropped off, I felt comfortably refreshed and ready to reconnect with the team at our previously agreed meeting point back beside the Hotel de Ville.
With the rendezvous complete, we agreed to return to Torino a little early, filled with the satisfaction of a truly memorable day in a never-to-be-forgotten city in a romantic land of cafe’s and piazzas, vineyards and mountains.