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Happy Wednesday and most importantly, Happy Birthday to Coach Claire! We're lucky to have Claire on our coaching team and be sure to wish her all the best when you see her at the club this evening!

Last weekend was a big one in a competitive sense and congratulations to our 20+ players who competed in the PA Gold - 4 winners and 12 kids in the top ten of their respective age groups makes for a great event. If you haven't caught up with the report, you can find it on the blog. As with last week, below you'll find the updated checklist for happenings in the Squash Tigers World. If anything below is of interest please message me via (609) 906-4271.

  1. CT Gold this weekend - Zoom coaching available should you wish to have myself and our coaching team mentor your child through the event. Details are unchanged and may be found on our dedicated webpage.

  2. Our penultimate Rehearsal Tournament lands on May 6 - matches, matches and more matches - you can enter here.

  3. If you have friends or family interested in having their children learn the sport in time for summer now is a great time - details HERE.

  4. June Summer Plans HERE and Full Summer Plans HERE.

  5. If you're not following us on Instagram, you're missing out. Good fun and an insight into our day to day, especially on our stories... check it out!

Finally, my standard reminder - 8 weeks until Summer Camps start in earnest June 25. Great to plan for Summer, even better to make sure you have a productive couple of months leading in... there's no better time to work hard than today!

See you all at the club.

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This Spring I've tried to post the occasional blog about specific issues that have arisen during training or tournaments... They're intended more to raise awareness of different ideas rather than a major treatise and this one was in response to a lesson I took yesterday with one of our best U/17's....

Positive self-talk is a powerful tool that can help young athletes boost their confidence, motivation, and performance. Fair to say, self-talk can influence athletes' perceptions of their abilities, increase their mental toughness, and help them overcome obstacles and setbacks (Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Galanis, & Theodorakis, 2011).

Firstly, positive self-talk can help young athletes develop a growth mindset, which is the belief that their abilities can improve with practice and effort. By using positive affirmations, such as "I can do this" or "I am getting better every day," young athletes can shift their focus from their limitations to their potential. This mindset can help them develop resilience, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks and learn from failure (Dweck, 2008).

Secondly, positive self-talk can help young athletes manage their emotions and reduce anxiety before and during competitions. By using calming phrases, such as "stay calm" or "take deep breaths," they can regulate their arousal levels and maintain a sense of control over their performance (Vealey, 2010). This can help them perform at their best, even under pressure... although perhaps we could be a little more innovative with the phrases!

Thirdly, positive self-talk can help young athletes stay motivated and committed to their goals. By using goal-oriented phrases, such as "I will work hard to achieve my goal" or "I am committed to my training," they can reinforce their dedication to their sport and stay focused on their long-term objectives (Weinberg & Gould, 2015). This can help them stay engaged and motivated, even when facing challenges or setbacks.

Positive self-talk is helpful tool for young athletes to develop their confidence, motivation, and mental toughness. By using positive affirmations, calming phrases, and goal-oriented language, they can improve their mindset, manage their emotions, and stay committed to their goals. Parents, coaches, and teachers can play a vital role in promoting positive self-talk in young athletes by modeling and reinforcing the use of positive language.

As always, if some of this resonates, bring it up with one of the coaches next time you're in the club or in your next private lesson and we can discuss how to make it more individual to your stage of development. See you all at training!

References: Dweck, C. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House Digital, Inc. Hatzigeorgiadis, A., Zourbanos, N., Galanis, E., & Theodorakis, Y. (2011). Self-talk and sports performance: A meta-analysis. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(4), 348-356. Vealey, R. S. (2010). Mental skills training in sport. In G. Tenenbaum, R. C. Eklund, & A. Kamata (Eds.), Measurement in sport and exercise psychology (pp. 219-236). Human Kinetics. Weinberg, R. S., & Gould, D. (2015). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. Human Kinetics.

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20+ members of the Squash Tigers Team made the hour trek to the wilds of suburban Philadelphia in pursuit of ranking points, match play, experience and some very idiosyncratic throwback trophies for the third and final Philly Gold Tournament of the season.

The principal venue for this Gold was the Berwyn Squash Club, the oldest and most storied of public squash facilities in the country, coupled with the ubiquitous nearby Lifetime facility and Malvern Prep. Three venues made for various challenges, but all’s well that ends well and the event itself was a happy one for the Squash Tigers crew.

In an effort not to bury the lede toooooooooo much, congratulations to Maryam, Colten, Reghan and Chloe on winning the GU19, BU17, GU17 and GU11 respectively. Additionally and just as importantly, hearty congratulations and a world of credit and admiration for our younger crew who were just sticking their metaphorical foot in the water that is the Gold level of competition. Everyone’s on their own squash journey, some just starting off, some already recruited for college… but great to see everyone working hard and improving.

A special shoutout to the team for their excellent standards of sportsmanship and support of each other. I received several texts from parents who were deeply impressed with the class and respect shown by our players… the fact they were pretty good at squash was also mentioned, but it was the attitude and the ethics that were at the forefront of people's awareness. Well done to all!

Let’s wander into the report proper and look at the girls first… GU19 saw Maryam emerge triumphant in what was a good reward for a hard working April. Shout outs to Claire (playing up an age group) who was a semi-finalist and Anika who fought through an epic back draw to take 9th.

The GU17 saw Reghan, playing up an age group, win out in relatively simple fashion without dropping a game. Doesn’t get better than that does it…! Well done also to Tisha who overcame an early disappointment to finish 9th in only her third US Squash Tournament.

Madeleine was our highest finisher in the GU15 - running through the consolation with great skills to take 10th place. Additionally it was nice to see ST favorite Kayla competing and winning matches.

The GU11 was all about Chloe winning her first Gold! Congratulations to the young lady who has worked hard and added appreciably to her game in the last few weeks. Well done also to one of our favorite visitors, Miss Kaylee, who made the final of the GU13, despite playing up an age group.

The BU17 had Colten running away with the trophy without dropping a game. Not much to be said on that front apart from to congratulate the big guy!

BU15 had everyone in a down year. I mean, everyone. Well done to Jonathan, Andrew, Yidrew and Allen, who will all be better players for the experience. Jonathan was our top performer, coming away with that 13-16 place and there are bigger things ahead for all the boys. Remarkably Jonathan managed to play two team members in his four matches… not the end of the world, but we could have done with a kinder draw in that regard!

BU13 also had a relatively inexperienced crew of Leo, Lukas and Julian. Leo being the top finisher with epic marathon matches to finish 17th. Leo has improved significantly in the past few months and it was great to watch.

Finally the BU11 were, as always, studs.. Granted, 9 year old studs, but you get the idea. Evan finished 5th, backing up from his 6th place in the Silver Nationals. Yiden was in 7 /8 position, backing up from his semi final place in the Bronze Nationals and Tony fought hard for his 9 /10 place. Tony in particular kept having EPIC matches, 20/18’s, 15/13’s, five gamers… it is still Tony’s world, we’re just living in it…

Next week Jamie is contesting the National Championships, (catchily titled the S.L. Green Men’s Championship) at the Specter Center… Good Luck Coach! Following that, next weekend sees the US Squash Gold Tour moving up to Connecticut and we’ll have our Zoom coaching apparatus all ready to go! Finally the first weekend of May, the 6th, is home to our penultimate Rehearsal Event. It’s a Squash Tiger Spring and it’s still “all go”... see you all at training.

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