Stafford Murray

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FRAM'S CORNER 2017
Everything you never knew you needed to know about the Squash World

STAFFORD MURRAY for
the Science of Sport: SQUASH

A Special Bloke for a Special Book

Stafford Murray was for years a well known figure of England Squash success. He used to be around with us on the PSA/WSF Tour, recording data, analysing them, and allowing the English Players to always have a little bit of an advantage, tactically and scientifically ...

Then one day, he sort of disappeared, bless him. His sense of humour, his discretion, kindness and knowledge were bleeping missed, and it was with great pleasure I received his book a few months ago: he was alive and well, and living on the Other Side....

I had a little chat with him, first, to find out what the heck happened to him, and also, to introduce to you his book, The Science of Sport: Squash,  that I personally recommend to everybody.

From coaches, to players without forgetting fans and officials, you will learn everything you didn't know you needed to know about the Scientific aspect of our sport....


For those who do not know you, please a few words about yourself?

Having been an international junior player,  I focused on science side of squash and studied Analysis of Sport and Coaching Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University.


And as you know, from 1998-2011, I worked for England Squash as firstly Team Analyst and finally Team Manager at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi where we beat Australia for the first time in the medal table.

During this time I attended 4 commonwealth games, 9 European teams championships and 5 world championships, working with 6 world individual champions along the way.

Then what happened?

Well, At this point my job changed and my focus became on Olympic sports as Head of performance Analysis at the English Institute of Sport.

This was very hard for me as my first sporting passion is very much in squash and I owe a great gratitude to the coaches that helped teach me my trade in this game and sports science in general – in particular David Pearson along with Paul Carter and all the wonderful players over the years – to many to mention all the names – but they know who they are.

And it was the beginning of a new venture, wasn't it...

Yes, I felt at the time it was time step out for a while and spread my wings.

From there I managed 40+ staff culminating in the success GB had on the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

After Rio High Performance Sport New Zealand contacted me to see if I was interested in the job as Innovation Manager within New Sport – I went through the very vigorous interview and successfully got the job last November starting here in January 2017.

Must not have been easy to leave England for you...

You can say that again. This was a hard decision for me and my family as we are very English - as you know having witnessed our battles with France and Australia over the years!

But if there was a country that I would have chosen to move to away from England at this stage it would be NZ – given their wonderful culture and people, proud sporting history and world leading approach to sports science.

This job entails managing all the HPSNZ Innovation Projects – looking at how sports technology and novel ideas can improve sporting performance.

Link to the publishers website

Also available on Amazon, Waterstones, etc.

BBC: Listen to Stafford
on  the Team GB's
Olympic Software secrets


THEY SAID ABOUT IT

Nick Matthew

“Stafford and his team have pulled together the most comprehensive book on the Science of Squash in history.

"This is a must read for all academics, coaches, players and squash fans alike”
 


Laura Massaro

“I have probably tried everything in this book!

"I would recommend it to anyone that wants to learn more about squash, or simply improve their own game”
 


Jonah Barrington

“This book encompasses all that is currently relevant to our wonderful game and so much pertains also to those other most testing sports.

It sets out, with forensic analyses and fascinating case studies from a litany of highly regarded experts, to give the most excellent must-have guide for the players, coaches and of course academics, and reaches into the very core of squash”
 

The Science of Sport: Squash
Table of Contents


Lee Beachill

“Sports science has undoubtedly played a huge part in the development of all successful athletes and I attribute much of my success to the advances made in this area.

Squash is one of the most physically demanding sports with all players looking for marginal gains.

Stafford and his colleagues have been at the forefront of this development and they certainly played a major role in my success”
 


Peter Nicol

“I started my career with very old school techniques in all areas of training and preparation.

When I started to work with Stafford Murray and his team, this changed dramatically and meant I was able to get back to No.1 in the world rankings and go on to win double gold in my last event, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006.

From training more intelligently to analysing my opponents, the use of science to reach the best possible results changed my career as a player”
 

Link to the publishers website

Also available on Amazon, Waterstones, etc.

So, when did the Book Venture start then?

I started writing and pulling together the book back in 2011 when I had stopped working in squash.

I wanted to leave a legacy in the sport that had been so kind to me and also wanted capture the wonderful work that had happened in England squash during this period when we topped the world.

Nobody ever done something like that for squash, have they...

You know, my vision was to make the book different than anything that had been written in sport before.

Each of the sports science chapters was not only written in a way that if offered real life examples and methods all could use but was accompanied by opinions (positive and negative!) of that discipline from world leading players and coaches and how it had affected their careers accordingly.

Main aims of the book:

• Provide an overview of how sports science has developed in squash and how it is currently deployed by elite players and coaches

• Present case studies and testimonials from some of the world’s greatest players and coaches highlighting the value and impact of sports science in elite squash

• Offer sports science methodologies and interventions that all standards of players and coaches can use to enhance the physical, mental, technical and tactical attributes required to succeed in squash
 

What struck me when I read it was the Team feeling you managed to share with it.

Absolutely. Obviously I could not do this alone,  so I pulled together a fantastic editing team in Prof Mike Hughes, Prof Nic James and Dr. Goran Vuckovic

They approached some of the world’s finest squash scientists who kindly agreed to contribute to the book from their areas of expertise.

It was also a massive privilege to have Jonah Barrington and Peter Nicol offer to write the forewords for the book – a true honour for me. Squashsite's Steve Cubbins also provided outstanding photos that truly bring the book to life.

And to conclude, what did you learn from writing the book...

It was a truly wonderful experience pulling this book together, a rare opportunity to work with some of the finest squash scientists in the world (who thanklessly and kindly gave their time for free to contribute to the squash literature).

More importantly it was a wonderful opening to travel the country interviewing the wonderful players and coaches (for which I cannot thank them enough) – getting the most insight into our game!

At times, science becomes too controlling and forgets what the sport is actually about; at the end of the day it is the players (with the guidance of the coaches) that have to deliver on the day - young aspiring scientists would do well to remember this.

This book is one of the first ever that attempts to pull together the science and the art of the game; because at the end of the day neither can exist in isolation.

I really do hope this book helps people of all standards and interests in squash understand, improve and enjoy our wonderful sport more – that was the overarching aim when we started out in the project…
 

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