AN INSIDE LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES at THE COLLEGE SQUASH EXPERIENCE
Check in regularly for portraits and interviews of coaches describing their programs, facilities, and philosophies in their own words.
Paul Assaiante, Trinity College
- 16 Time National Champion
- Coach U.S. National Teams
- Holds record for longest winning streak in intercollegiate sports -252 wins in a row
- Coached 75 All-Americans
- Member Springfield College Hall of Fame
- Author, "Run to the Roar, 2010" (http://www.runtoroar.com/)
"As an endorsement of the concept of CS insiders, I love this idea. I feel that those students growing up and playing in the US are fairly wired into what opportunities exist although I would suggest that having a realistic perspective of what will be available to them academically will help to prevent that panicked rush at the end of 'oh my God, am I going to get in anywhere.' If the process is properly and realistically managed much angst and trauma can be avoided.
For the international student, I feel that the college option is not often fully understood. US students are raised with college on their minds. But it often occurs too late for students from abroad. If the seeds of possibly studying abroad can be planted in the early high school years, then the importance of studies, and testing can also be emphasized besides just squash
Perhaps, CS insiders can help students achieve this goal.
Trinity is a small college in Hartford Connecticut, which is the state capitol. As a division three school we do not provide scholarships
although we do provide financial aid based on need. Our men's team has made it to the national championship match, 19 out of the past 20 years, while winning 16 of them. Our facilities are state of the art which has allowed us to host Singles, Teams and Pan American championships You can learn more about the philosophy and team culture of our program by going here and watching this film, "All In," about our 2012-13 season."
PAT COSQUER, BATES COLLEGE
- Head Men's and Women's Coach at Bates Since 2008
- 2009-10 Men's and Women's NESCAC Coach of the Year
- Graduated Bates 1997
- Coached 2015 and 2016 College Squash Association Men's Individual National Champion
"The squash program and I have capitalized on a renewed energy and momentum at Bates College in recent years. Bates is well-positioned for the future and serious student-athletes who visit campus feel our energy and positivity and hear about our results when they meet our wonderful students and faculty. The Office of Admission and the administration honors, respects and appreciates that the squash team helps make Bates better when we attract qualified students from all corners of the globe, while I understand and believe that compiling a team of student-athletes from all walks of life enhances the educational experience for our players, makes us better on court, and makes us all better equipped for life after Bates. We have also recently made significant upgrades to our squash facility that have put us on the forefront of technology and afforded us an advantage over some of our peer programs. Bates College is an unique place, and if a serious squash-playing student is looking to attend a small, close-knit school in New England with a highly competitive squash program and without fraternities or sororities, there aren't many better options than Bates.
While many coaches look at rankings, results, and ratings to determine their recruiting lists, I focus on attitude, squash trajectory and specific personality traits and leadership attributes in prospective students to determine the list of student-athletes I chose to support. While we certainly have students here who have competed for a number of years at the highest levels of junior squash, I look for students who still want to improve their squash, be a contributing member of a diverse team, and who look to be motivated and taught by dynamic, energetic, and engaged coaches. I also am attracted to students who have played other (team) sports and may have picked up squash later than their peers. These students often possess desire and a will to improve and win that far outweighs ability and skill, and the positive intangibles and attitude they bring to a team are invaluable for helping coaches and captains create a healthy team culture.
I really enjoy watching our students grow into adults through squash during their time at Bates. College is such a transformative and important time in a young person's life and squash and the struggles and successes they experience while in our program help enable them to be successful during and after Bates. The lessons and adversity they endure with squash mirror those they experience outside of our squash building. The balance between the individual preparation and focus of squash and the team aspect of college squash fascinates me. We take time to talk through the mental game of squash and work through the stresses, fears, and challenges of competition, as they relate to both squash and life. I especially take pride in mentoring our students through the rigors of career searches and development and through the personal challenges they face during their time in college and in the years that follow. Squash is a great metaphor for life and we try and keep a "big-picture" mentality here at Bates, while only focusing on the aspects of the small-picture which we can change, control, and positively affect. Winning and losing is certainly part of the equation at Bates Squash, but if we do everything in our power to work hard to improve and be better people to each other and the world each and every day, we will win more than we lose and everyone will be much happier and more successful in the end"
joe raho, tufts university
- First Year as Head Men's and Women's Coach at Tufts
- Was Assistant Coach at Brown University 2014-2016
- Graduated UPenn and Captained Squash Team, 2009
"I think the Tufts program has huge potential and my goal for the teams is to try and finish second in the NESCAC for the men and women. We have some major hurdles to overcome and there are some fantastic teams in our conference, but that doesn't diminish my belief that we could finish 2nd behind Trinity for both teams. I think the school distinguishes itself in the NESCAC because of it's size(5,000 undergrads, 5,000 grads), location(basically in Boston) and sports pedigree(women's softball, 3x D3 nationals champs, men's lacrosse, 3x D3 nationals champs). Obviously it's an incredible school academically as well but so are all the NESCAC schools.
In terms of recruiting, I am always looking for players who have nice smooth movement and soft hands. Whenever I go to a squash event I am looking at who moves quickly and efficiently around the court and who has some ability to move the ball short. I also want to see them constructing rallies and putting the ball into smart places on the court. Much of the game can be taught, but some is quite innate. As a coach you just want to see that the players are starting to build that awareness and feel on the court where they are beginning to sense where their opponent is on the court and what shot will hurt them the most. Of course, just as critical is attitude and effort on court. Anyone who is playing double bounces, fishing for lets, arguing with the referee in an impolite way or doing anything really that doesn't represent themselves well will quickly be ignored by me.
Building a positive culture on the team is a gradual process, but also needs to be maintained and reinvigorated all the time. It definitely starts with bringing the right players in and then I think it comes down to running upbeat practices that keep the players motivated and engaged. Then it also incorporates doing activities together as a team off the court where some real bonding and friendship can happen. The culture we want to have is one where everybody enjoys playing, supports each other and relishes the opportunity to work hard and get better.
As far as influences and inspiration I think you draw from your own experiences. I have cool, special relationships with Peter Briggs, Mike Way, Bryan Patterson, Alex Pavulans, Stuart LeGassick, Gilly Lane, Suzie Pierrepont, Roger Flynn, Olivia Blatchford, Alan Clyne and Chris Sachvie. Training with these people, working with these coaches and just discussing squash with them has helped me craft my own vision on how to play and how to coach. I hope that I can hold myself and my players to the same standards that these people held me to.
Coaching at Brown was a really great experience for me and I felt very lucky that Stuart took a chance on me. I had been out of the game for a few years and Stuart still believed in my ability to help our players get better. I felt blessed to work with such talented men and women and I learned a tremendous amount in my three years there. My practices were much less structured when I started and much more efficient when I finished. I think I was able to communicate more effectively as I spent more time there and I began to understand what college athletes need in terms of encouragement and advice. I feel hugely indebted to Stuart for everything he helped me with and I think I will certainly try to emulate his ever positive attitude, his effortless humor and his general respect for the game and the players on the team.
THIERRY LINCOU, mit college
- Former World # 1
- Advisor, U.S. National Teams
- 23 Career PSA Titles
- 2004 World Open Champion
- Spent 10 seasons ranked in the top 10 in the world
- 4th Season Coaching MIT
- French National Champion and Represented France Internationally
- Manages Tecnifibre USA Squash Junior Promotions Programs
Over here at MIT, the prospective student athlete needs to meet the academic requirements in the first place. They need to be good/excellent in Math and Sciences. Guys on the team are into Math, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering....We do not provide slots but if recruits qualify then I can use my full support to get players in. This makes the difference.There is no pre-read from admission, if they apply Early Action, they will get an answer from admissions mid December (the same time as the Head coach). The last 2 years I was able to get 4 recruits per year. I am proud to have a team of players who represent excellence in academics and squash. Here we probably have the best combination of Academics & Squash.
We are a young team and a new program. We are looking to continue to climb up the national ranking. We were ranked around #40 a few years back and we are now close to the top #20 and our goal is to get into the top #16 which is very challenging with no guaranteed recruiting slots We train 5-7pm every weekdays starting beginning of October and run optional sessions over the week ends as well as general fitness/ lifting sessions out of season and in summer.
I try to run the sessions around my approach of the 4 components of the Performance :
It has been very enjoyable for me to transfer my skills as a former World # 1 player into being a coach on the other side of that glass. I am learning everyday in this fairly new job to be better in transmitting my knowledge and my experience to college players. Adaptation is constant. There are a lot of fundamental differences when you are part of a group and have to play, train and win for your teammates! It is all about team spirit, leadership and accountability. Competing on the Pro Tour requires a lot of work on yourself first...you need to be a little selfish/excessive/obsessed about every single details to reach the very top.....This is very exciting and motivating to learn these new skills and seeing positive results from an entire group is very satisfying for a coach."I love my job.
I love this unique environment which does not exist in other parts of the world. Squash is booming in College Squash but we are witnessing big growth in high schools, middle school with new programs/squash facilities every year....!
When we see Amanda Sobhy (Harvard), Ali Farag (Harvard), Julian Illingworth (Yale), Todd Harrity (Princeton), Chris Hanson (Dartmouth)....and their professional achievements after attending college, we can be convinced that going to to an Excellent University and playing the Pro Tour afterwards is doable. Here in the U.S., we are in the midst of something big! We are in it!
The next step is to build the National Training Center and having Squash in the Olympics. Then, the growth will be even bigger - it will be a whole new and different story!