Joe, I would love to write an article about you
As far as interviewing me I am yesterday’s ashes.
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.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS IN THE PSYCHOLOGY FIELD
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
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
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
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
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
I then designed the Bell
many claim is my best work.
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
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
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
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
I now knew that if :
A If you train the way they did in the PAST you will
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
OK. Now what?
I then had to invent the Training
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.
Heuh, say what?
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
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
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
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 !!!!!
Thanks for listening to me. It is much appreciated.
All the best for now…
Joe Shaw, 24th July 2004
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
A Squash Biography
1961 Started playing in Port Moresby (aged 31)
British Open Over 60
Australian Teams title with
Austin Addaraga, Ernie Robins and John Vary
Papua New Guinea Veterans Champion 1970, 71, 72,
Twice World Masters Games quarter-finalist
Life member of
Port Moresby Squash
Kate & Emma Major
Rodney Eyles – world champion 1997
David Palmer – world champion 2002, world number
John White – world open finalist 2002, world
number one 2004
Papua New Guinea,
2x South Pacific Games Team & Individual Titles
Fiji, 1x South Pacific Games Team & Individual
1986 England, World Junior Championships
1996 Brazil, World Team Championships
violent opposition from mediocre minds”
the Bell Graph
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