LTAD Stages: Stage 3 Learning to Train

Key Objectives
Further develop overall sport skills including core squash skills.

Clubs, schools and community recreation programs.

Club coaches/professionals, teachers and community recreation instructors.

Total Hours Training & Competition
2-3 hours per week

Training to Competition Ratio

• 80% training and 20% competition (including competitive games and competitive drills).
• Tournament play should be introduced, but the focus should be on skill development.
• Consider rule modifications to emphasize skill acquisition.
• Encourage participation in at least 3 different sports to assist in developing a broad range of fundamental sports skills.


• Single periodization that features a semester-by-semester evaluation and progression.


• Squash-specific skill development.
• Power under control (reduce emphasis on power to emphasize control).
• Basic efficiency (energy flow).
• Consistent grip (within a range).
• Hit the ball varying height, direction, distance, and spin.
• Continue to develop balance and pivot for efficient court movement.
• Continue to learn overall sports skills in addition to squash-specific skills.


• Learn positions of playing: areas of the court and movement patterns.
• Introduce the ‘T’ prior to concepts of offence and defence.
• Introduce the concept of offence and defence.
• The goal of offence is to create space, thus providing the capacity to attack.
• The goal of defence is to restrict space, thus reducing your opponent’s capacity to attack.


• Females will enter their major growth spurt (Peak Height Velocity, or PHV) towards the end of this stage (plus the possibility of menarche, their first period).
• The male growth spurt typically straddles this stage and the next.
• Overall development of the nervous system is usually approaching the adult stage.
• Although reaction time remains slow, players develop improved motor control.
• Hand-eye coordination allows for better catching and throwing performance.
• Strength and endurance capability rises largely due to nervous system development and coordination improvements.
• There is little potential for hypertrophy (muscle mass increase) so formal resistance training is not necessary.
• Performance gains are possible as a result of training, but most gains are simply due to growth.


• Parents and coaches should be supportive of the use of psychological skills for both competition and practice.
• Players develop a thorough understanding of the importance of practicing and utilizing mental skills.
• Players are shown how mental states can affect squash performance.
• Players learn about positive self-talk, cue words, and re-focusing thoughts to help build and maintain confidence.
• Structured practice sessions are introduced for imagery use as well as other mental skills (e.g., anxiety/arousal control).
• Basic goal setting is introduced with short term goals for practices.
• Initially, players should focus goals on process rather than outcome (e.g., develop better length and tightness on drives).

Ancillary Skills

• Sport and activity programs should be providing an age-appropriate and progressive nutrition education program based upon both the needs of the sport/activity and early adolescence.
• Warm-up, cool-down and recovery activities should be well-defined and integrated into the overall program.


• Introduce formal game play, applying the correct rules of service and return of service.
• Play with scoring to 15 or 11, or play timed games.
• Introduce players to organized results and playing formats such as ladders, round robins and box leagues.
• Introduce players to tournament play within their age groups and genders: multiple games with match results.
• Tournaments could be one-day events.
• Focus on Novice events (first year participants).
• Participation could be within a club, or there could be community championships for different age groups.