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Framboise interview with Joe Shaw, 2004
Joe, I would love to write an article about you
As far as interviewing me I am yesterday’s ashes. 
Finished. Outdated.

What do you mean?
Why would anybody in today’s professional squash be interested in me now?

Well, I am! Would you mind if I was to post parts
of your life story?

I don't care if you publish it, as it is on the web site for all to read but I honestly do not see the interest in it. I honestly don't think anyone is interested in my life because they could not understand how tough it was in the 1930s in an Orphanage in the Depression. My kids got me to write it and I have just this week finished my Family Tree after 42 years and have ordered it to be printed. There is nothing deader than the ashes of yesterday's burning issues. 


You have come a long way, both in your life, 
and in your coaching career, haven’t you?

When you ask Neil Harvey or anyone else "What do you think of Joe Shaw" you are asking what I was like 15 years ago and they respond accordingly. I was as ignorant then as these Coaches are now, as to the Requirements of the Sport. 
I have read the articles regarding my invention of the 120 stroke rallies, which really is ancient stuff. I have far superior 
on-court training patterns now.

When did you realise that you
were on the wrong path?

Well, I had Johnny Ransome, Paul Johnson, Billy Haddrell, Colin Payne, Robert Graham, the 1986 English Junior Team of Robert Graham, Paul Gregory, Del Harris, Damien Walker, and many others but I was not achieving the results although they were all world class players. My pupils were not achieving their full potential. WHY? That was the question. I was the Coach. I was failing them. WHY? 

Where did you start?
There are only four areas of Coaching:

At elite level, the Mental side is 75% of the Sport, and 98% of Elite Athletes fail to achieve their full potential because they are not taught the Mental Requirements.

Already a bit confused, but go on…
I studied the authorities on the subject. I began with Frank Pyke, now CEO of the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne. Then on to Fox and Mathews 1981, Brooks and Fahey 1985, Fleck and Kramer 1987, and then on to Sports Psychologists including Ian Lynagh, the father of Michael Lynagh, the Rugby legend of Australia, and who was the AIS Sports Psychologist, and discovered a general hypothesis relating to the training of Elite Athletes 

Sorry, what hypothesis?
The hypothesis was that in individual training, there is a definite need to develop a strategy in the planning stages of the program. A three stage strategy was suggested by all of them and that made sense to me. I developed it:

1. Determine the Psychological Requirements of the sport. 
2. Determine the capacity of the performer.
3. Implement an individualised program based on the athlete’s attitudes to those required by the sport.

What in the hell were the Psychological Requirements of the sport?.. ER AH UUMMM. Not a clue. If that was the first requirement for success and I did not have a clue what it meant, no wonder I was not succeeding.

I am the Coach and I don't know the very first requirements of the sport. I suddenly realised that I was at fault, not my pupils. All my excuses were gone. I was guilty not them. I shuddered at this realisation. I still recall the sinking feeling in my stomach. Where do I go? Who has the answers?

So, who had them?
Well, to start I went to Queensland Uni, did Sports Science courses, gathered loads of material, and tried it out. It didn't work but it helped. I had no idea how to achieve this success. 

What was the next step?
First thing was, what was success? So I came up with a format from these authorities:

  A Success is knowing what you want 
  B Taking the required action 
  C Measuring and evaluating the results 
  D Changing as required 

Did you test those findings?
I designed Charts and measured and evaluated David and Johnny. The results were pathetic. We were not measuring them accurately, efficiently nor with any success. I changed them by putting in all of the Psychological Requirements as I should have in the first place.

Did it work?
Yes, I was successful, but I had numerous more areas of psychological value to implement so I studied further and invented my Circular Pattern Chart (Athlete indicates all areas of perceived problems). I then had over 50 areas of sports psychology to measure and evaluate, so the first requirement was achieved.

I still had to Determine number 2, the capacity of the performer.

I then designed the Bell Graph which many claim is my best work.

Zone 1
You are invited to join the Elite Training Squad in your State, County, Country, etc. You consider that you have made it, and that you will now achieve our full potential. The very first thing that you must learn is that this is all a MYTH. It is not true. Certainly you are given an opportunity to succeed at this point, but there are no guarantees, so realize that it is only a MYTH. 

Zone 2 - The Refinement Zone
There is a great improvement in your performance at your level. Targets are reset, your program refined, problem areas at this level are eradicated. 

Zone 3 - The Awareness Zone
The Myth is becoming a Reality. Tempting offers are made to you to go elsewhere. Join another club, Institute, Team, while still Training and improving your Ranking. People are becoming Aware of your potential. Other coaches take over. They are in it for THEIR BENEFIT, not yours. 

Zone 4 - The Comfort Zone
You accept the offers. The Training declines. You must repay in some way for your rewards. You must Coach the Team, help out somehow at the Club, but the Good Lifestyle and the Money are worth it. 

Zone 5 - Disillusionment Zone
You now realize that you took the soft option. You did not Pay the Price required to achieve your full potential. You are disillusioned and accept that Change is required, but what can you do now? 

Zone 6 - Suicide Zone
The Myth that you created is no longer valid. Totally disillusioned, you Suicide your career, and there is only one way out. You either recreate the Myth or you commence a new career. 

OK. What is the precise use of that chart?
It with deadly accuracy previews the possibility of success, explains the reasons in six simple parts, and shows why 98% of the elite athletes fail to achieve their full potential whatever that may be. Every player understood that this was showing them very clearly whether they would succeed or fail. All excuses were gone.

Did it make you feel better then?
Oh yes, this was actually MY safety mechanism. I could with deadly accuracy as I said, tell the athlete whether they were going to achieve their full potential, barring illness or injury. The responsibility for success was now off my shoulders as the Coach and on to theirs. I felt an enormous sense of relief.

This assisted me to Determine the Mental capacity of the performer (week 2) and the physical capacity was easy. The Resources to do the physical measurements were all available in all Sports Physiologists programs and books.

On to Week 3 to implement an individualised program based on he athletes ATTITUDES to those required by the sport.

Do I dare ask?...
…How do you define Attitude?...Back to the Resources, more study and I discovered that when you teach a pupil, they all have different patterns and styles of learning.

   TELL them and they hear
   SHOW them and they see
   INVOLVE them and they understand

That was a major breakthrough. I made numerous mistakes, and kept experimenting with David and Johnny.

In your resources, you refer to “tests”.
What are they?

It was the next step! I had to study Psychological Profiling so I did the following investigations:

   Myer Briggs courses (They were very good but not 
      complete as I needed the results for sport not academia)
   Mc Quaig Word Survey
   Sun Tsu 500 BC
   Luscher Color Charts 
And I was at last successful. I now had by far the greatest collection of the Psychological Requirements of sport on the planet. 

So, is it possible to summarise
what you had learnt so far?

Mm, not that easy. To start with, there are only four reasons why Athletes fail to achieve their full potential, whatever that may be. STUDY THIS CAREFULLY young lady: 

   1. They do not have the Resources. 
   2. They don't know what to do.
   3.They don't know how to do it.
   4. They don't want to do it.

THEY DON’T WANT TO DO IT! They all say that they do but they don't. There are NO other reasons for their failure.

I now had the all important Resources, knew what to do, knew how to do it, and could tell from the Bell Graph AND the psychological profiling tests whether they were going to succeed.

I now knew that if :

   A If you train the way they did in the PAST you will fail.
   B If you train the way they do in the PRESENT you will
      only be competitive.
   C If you train as they will do in the FUTURE you will
       be successful. 

OK. Now what?
I then had to invent the Training Wheel because I discovered that once you stop the program then the player loses all of the momentum. Hence the Training Wheel of Plan:


Therefore the FOUR KEYS TO SUCCESS are:
     1. Knowing what is required 
     2. Taking the correct action 
     3. Measuring and evaluating the results 
     4. Checking and changing as required

How do you evaluate the results?
To maintain measurement and evaluation, I required (see the Requirements coming out all the time) a method of Analysis so I employed the S.W.O.T. Analysis with outstanding success. 

Heuh, say what?
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats 

The Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are detailed and given marks out of ten. We start with the major weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

The lowest scores are worked on, say a 2 until it is a 5. Then back to the 3s until they are 5s. Then on to the 5s until they are all at least 9s. Perfection of 10s is a wonderful thing, but it is the order of the universe that it can be sought but never achieved on a continual basis.

Surely, we must be near the end by now…
Nearly! Then I put I in place Self Contracts because they were not putting in 100% effort into every detail of the program. This placed the RESPONSIBILITY squarely on their shoulders, and with all of the Resources correctly utilised I am not to blame. I have done my job as a Coach. 

Finally I make them complete Affirmation Cards which have our rules. They must be in the first person "I", must be personal, achievable, and positive. Like all of these all important Resources, they constantly change.

The Training Wheel is always in motion. When it stops your career is finished.

Did you collate all the information in a document?
The Resources are all detailed in week 31 which by sheer chance is now on David's web site, www.davidpalmer.be. 
All of this Coaching information is on the site. It is at least 10 years ahead of anything in Sport anywhere in the world. I also have a 130 page Manual, a Coaches Manual, an Athletes Manual, so covering every aspect of Sport. I completed the Manuals with David and Johnny over 10 years until I got it right. 

You have developed so many tools, haven’t you?
The Bell Graph which predicts with absolutely 100% accuracy the graph of the players potential. The Goal Setting Charts, Resting Pulse Rates and their importance, S.W.O.T. Analysis which are absolutely vital, Self Contracts where the athlete contracts with himself / herself to perform Time Management Programs, Sleep patterns and the all important Affirmation Cards. These are just some of the Resources that we use. You cannot construct anything without resources. Nothing.


Who is using your method at the moment?
David and Johnny, Shaun Moxham and others use these programs, and without them they would never be where they are now. In Australia for example, David Mennie in Moorabbin in Melbourne, easily the most knowledgeable Coach in Australia, utilises them with enormous success. I have Melbourne Storm, a major Rugby League team on these programs, and they went from losing every game in one year to now be fourth on the ladder and in contention for the premiership this year. All because they are on these programs. My Golfers are now achievers. 

A word of conclusion?
Well, two questions in fact, for every Coach and Athlete
     1. "What will I gain if I take this action and 
          complete the full program?"
     2. "What will I lose if I do not take the action."

You see, it wasn’t that hard to talk to me after all…
Yes it was! I am now retired, and you come along, and shatter my peace…

Yes, but I am irresistible, aren’t I?
No you are still pain in the Derriere !!!!!

Bye Joe…
Thanks for listening to me. It is much appreciated.
All the best for now…

Joe Shaw, 24th July 2004

 Joe's LIFE


Neil Harvey used to say that he has never ever seen a worse grip than mine since Quasimodo grabbed the bell rope. God help anyone if I ever attempted to teach them technique!


Del Harris



Joe Shaw: 
A Squash Biography

1961 Started playing in Port Moresby (aged 31)

British Open Over 60 

Queensland State
age-group titles

Australian Teams title with
Austin Addaraga, Ernie Robins and John Vary

Papua New Guinea Veterans Champion 1970, 71, 72, 73, 74

Twice World Masters Games quarter-finalist

Life member of 
Port Moresby Squash

Players Coached:
Kate & Emma Major

Rodney Eyles – world champion 1997

David Palmer – world champion 2002, world number one 2001

John White – world open finalist 2002, world number one 2004

Team Coach:
Papua New Guinea, 
2x South Pacific Games Team & Individual Titles

Fiji, 1x South Pacific Games Team & Individual Titles

1986 England, World Junior Championships (runners-up)

1996 Brazil, World Team Championships



“Great thinkers will 
always encounter 
violent opposition from mediocre minds”


the Bell Graph




















Joe on
David Palmer

It was very noticeable World wide that David publicly thanked me for my contribution to his career [when he first won the British Open]. 

But the one point that stands out in this story, is the Loyalty that David espouses, the ability to overcome the bitter attacks that threatened his career, his total lack of vindictiveness towards those responsible, and the fact that he achieved his fill potential in spite of sometimes insurmountable problems. 

He is the Captain of the Australian Team and an absolute credit to his Country. I am a very proud person to have assisted him as many others have assisted him, not the least being his own family, in overcoming such substantial obstacles with such dignity and grace. His commitment is total and his loyalty unsurpassed.

This loyalty nearly destroyed his career, but I like to think that it also was essential in him achieving so much in his Sport. 



Palmer & White in the
World Open final 2002

 Joe's LIFE


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