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SquashSkills - the Whole Story  :  Part ONE  |  Part TWO

February 2016

SquashSkills, the Whole Story!

Born in Jethro Binns' Brain in August 2010, then developped from a meeting with the Boss Peter Nicol ("Fram, don't call me Boss") in Canary Wharf in March 2011, SquashSkills was officially launched in July 2012 and is now THE coaching site where it's all happening.

But do you know how it happened, when, and what it's all about?

Read on for our exclusive interview with Jethro, Part 2.

FG: Did the fact you had to stop your career brutally gave you more bite into doing something big?

I wouldn't put it that way. That wasn’t the reason for Squashskills, just cause I wanted to hang out with Jonathan Power or other famous squash players, but achieving something in squash having spent 20 years investing myself within squash, yes, I guess that motivated me.

I think I took an opportunity when I saw that no-one else was doing this and I think there was a frustration as well that the fact my squash career got cut short by my injury, that really gave me a desire to do something in the squash world.

Because I put so much time and effort into it, and I wanted to be up at the top of the game and compete against the top guys and that never got to happen, so I guess by being able to work with them in a slightly different capacity it just gave me some comfort I guess.

FG: But with the shifting in mobile technologies, you started rethinking the whole site, didn't you?

Jethro: Yes, i think we realised the limitations of the old site, which was essentially just a lot of videos in a library that people could dip in and out of.

And obviously the web has moved on, websites need to be responsive and work on mobiles and everyone’s using apps. We feel that we can give amateur players access to what the pro’s are doing and we can put training programmes and diary’s in place, help them construct sessions and follow programmes that are constructed by some of the best players in the world. We basically just realized that we could offer a lot more and we needed to be more sticky with out members, so get them to take Squashskills out onto the court rather than just dipping in and out of videos.

FG: So, it's more "transportable"?

Yes, the new website is all about getting people to watch a video, then assess themselves and then go and do a routine or an exercise that will then improve that and then go and do some testing and use their test results and then come back onto the site and follow another training programme and keep edging forward whilst monitoring their progress.

That was the major driver into the new website, bringing the tools that exist in the professional game to amateur players and to also do something for coaches.

FG: You had a few negative vibes from some coaches, didn't you?

To a certain extent I think some of the coaches thought that we were trying to compete against them and that’s never been the aim.

We’ve had a lot of "lower level" coaches come to us and really appreciate what we’ve done because we’ve given them new ideas. The new site gives coaches certain abilities to log in and manage their players, view their test results and set sessions up for them. We want to work with coaches now and we’re creating this session function where we want to have every single squash training exercise, routine or condition game on there and then people can just create playlists, have them on their phone and take them to the squash court.

It really hit home when we put one of the Thierry Lincou videos up of him doing a solo practice drill where 6 half balls laid out on the court and he goes cross court chip, cross court chip and takes it from side to side, having never seen a solo practice like that in 20 years till Peter filmed with Thierry!!

And then you speak to other guys and they’re all loving it and going down to the courts and doing this new exercise that no-one had ever really seen or heard of before. It’s bits like that that keep it really exciting and we can expose people to new ways of thinking with the new site.

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FG: Who is Skills today?

Jethro: There’s a big team here and there’s a lot going on and it’s certainly more than I could manage on my own. So in the office there are up to 6 of us in the Bristol office and then we’ve got Peter and Jess in the States to make us to 8 and we’ve got quite a few freelancers which includes all sorts, so there’s a larger Squashskills team beyond the core.

FG: Let’s talk about your training camps?

Jethro: “We’ve been really lucky with our camps, we run 3-4 adults camps a year out of Guildford. We’ve got a great team of coaches with Lee Drew, Jesse Engelbrecht and Gary Nisbet working alongside me. We’ve done about 8 now and touch wood they always seem to sellout. We limit the numbers to 24 and on the last camp we had about 16 returners which I guess speaks volumes about the coaching that the guys deliver. We’ve got another one in April which is half full and we haven’t launched it to the wider public yet.

It’s definitely something I’m keen to push and take to the rest of the World, we have a good model and a big reach so I think it’s possible.

FG: Le "mot de la fin"? Your last word JT?

Jethro: It’s exciting, but then I do want to find the balance between the Squashskills way of doing things but also just pulling in as many ideas as possible, we want to work with great coaches and great ex players to find out what they’re doing cause we really do realize there’s not just one way to play squash and it’s not just ‘Jethro and Peter’s” take on how to play squash. If you’re short then you’ll play like one player, if you’re tall and hit the ball hard then take tips from John White. I think that’s the balance we want to find.

FG: And with all the Great Players out there that retire, you won't be short of knowledge, will you?!

Jethro: You’ve hit the nail on the head; we should never be short of retiring legends ...

Train for Gain,
not Pain

Stable at the Point of Impact

Early stage development for Juniors

SquashSkills - the Whole Story  :  Part ONE  |  Part TWO


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