q & a session
HEAD COACH, 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
1. CS Insiders: How would you define your recruiting philosophy/culture of your team?
TL: "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 Maths, 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."
2. CS Insiders: What are your goals for the future of the MIT program?
TL: "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!"
3. What are your team practices like?
TL: "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 :
4. What has the transition been like for you from your experiences playing professionally to coaching college?
TL: "Being on the other side of that glass is completely different.
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."
5. What has it been like being involved with college squash over the last few years for you coaching MIT - as well as working with Amanda and Ali Farag?
TL: "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."
6. What do you think are the next steps for the growth of squash in the U.S. and how does college squash fit into this
TL: "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!"