The squash camps at McArthur Squash Center are led by UVA Squash Head Coach Mark Allen.
Coach Allen's Camp Coaching Philosophy
We recommend our camp for players with a rating of 3.0 or higher according to the US Squash rating system. Here’s why:
At the McArthur Squash Camps players practice together, often without a coach feeding. As such, it is important that everyone participating is of a level competent to drill together and feed for each other. Most of the practices and conditioned games operate on the premise that all players on court are capable of rallying down the wall on the backhand side—returning even challenging balls from the opponent straight and down the wall. If a camp participant is not capable of this, then he or she will struggle all week long, which is a discouraging prospect for both the camper and the other players with whom he or she is working.
Coach Allen emphasizes practice and match play between players together, rather than between a player and coach. His belief is that coaches are most effective when their attention is directed toward actively observing, analyzing, and coaching, rather than just being part of the drill. Coaches always remain alert and active and ready to jump in, especially at those moments that provide the ideal opportunities to teach and learn. The coach’s job is to give pointed, occasional, considered feedback and to push players towards diligent practice without actually being an active hitting participant in the drill. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but this is the standard method employed at our camp sessions.
The philosophy that underpins these coaching methods is all about instilling good long-term practice habits that will stay with campers long after they leave Charlottesville. Almost all players who come to our summer squash camp have their own coach at school or at home—often both. This camp philosophy ensures that the teaching and learning taking place during a week of McArthur Squash Camp does not conflict with anything being taught throughout the rest of the year. Instead, Coach Allen's intention is that every participant finishes the week with an improved attitude and commitment toward practice and takes a significant step closer towards what he calls "independent practice." This sets the foundation for continued improvement throughout the rest of the year, regardless of a player’s coaching environment at home or school.
NCAA rules & regulations do not allow Coach Allen to place a mandatory minimum level on campers. However, with all the above in mind, we do encourage parents and campers to understand the 3.0 rating recommendation. It is set entirely with an eye toward ensuring that all camp participants are able to cope with the technical demands of our week of squash.