The SquashMind Podcast
Amanda Sobhy with The SquashMind podcast - part 1
“The SquashMind podcast interviewing the greatest minds and thinkers about the psychology of competing to the maximum in high performance sport”
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Victor Crouin01:26:26I'm excited to welcome my guest for today, Victor Crouin. A powerhouse in the world of squash, Victor is a top ten player renowned for his competitive spirit and exceptional victories on the Tour. Starting his career with a major win at the Open International d’Angers in 2017, he has never looked back, delivering consistent performances and bagging multiple titles year after year.While attending Harvard University, Victor saw an impressive winning streak on the Tour, including a triumphant run on Australian soil. He balanced his academics with a rigorous training regimen, his now-famous spreadsheets guiding his path to victory. His determination and strategic approach eventually paid off when he moved into the world's top ten rankings, a testament to his indomitable spirit and consistency in how he trains and behaves.In the 2022-2023 season, Victor's scintillating form continued, securing victories at significant tournaments, such as the Open de France de Squash, and making it to the finals of his first three tournaments. His second Bronze title win at the Squash On Fire Open and the qualification for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals solidify his reputation as a formidable force in squash. Not only this but making it to the final of the Qatar Open, his first Platinum ever final. In our insightful conversation, we reflect on Victor's incredible season, his journey from being number 20 rising to world number 7, and his preparation for the upcoming season. We delve into his early days, transitioning from tennis to squash at 11, and the dynamics of his father-coach relationship. We also explore his decision to attend Harvard, how he balanced his degree with top-tier performance on the PSA World Tour, and what this prestigious education brought to his career.I dive deeper into Victor's mental strategies, exploring how he handles pressure, starts matches on a strong note, and closes games out. As someone who has an in-depth understanding of his game and life, Victor's thoughts on these subjects are enlightening. Moreover, we discuss overall deep strategies about the mind from a young superstar who's improving at a rapid rate, both mentally and physically.We had such a great conversation but it does feel there is a part 2 coming to go even deeper with mental exploration with one of the best minds in the game right now! But until then, let's get into the conversation with the remarkable Victor Crouin.
Luke Butterworth01:15:07Today, I am happy to introduce Luke Butterworth, a former player on the PSA World Tour, who has channeled his global competitive experience into becoming one of America's leading squash coaches.Luke currently serves as the National Junior Coach for TEAM USA. He previously held the role of Head Coach for the Paraguay National Squash Team, leading them to a historic medal at the 2011 Pan American Games. He is also the founder of LBSQUASH and currently holds the esteemed position of Director of Squash at Greenwich Academy. There, Luke has orchestrated the team's success, culminating in seven National Championships and he has a burning ambition for more!In our captivating conversation, we'll journey back to Luke's early days in Northern UK, exploring the foundations of his squash journey. We'll discuss what sparked his move to the US, and the prestigious coaching award he recently received.We'll delve into the fabric of Luke's coaching philosophy, his blueprint for success, and the reasons behind the triumphs of his players. He'll share invaluable advice for parents of young, talented players and identify some of the most prominent mental barriers holding players back.From discussing techniques for handling high-pressure moments to nurturing a player's confidence, Luke offers insightful guidance. We'll also delve into the importance of mental training for junior athletes, and the behaviours that distinguish the exceptional from the good.As we wrap up, we look ahead to the future of US junior squash, with Luke's informed perspective on the direction it's heading.Get ready to dive deep into the wisdom and experiences Luke Butterworth brings to our conversation. Without further ado, let's welcome the extraordinarily accomplished Luke Butterworth!
Mark Andrew Burke01:02:16Today on the show I welcome Mark Andrew Burke,Mark is a proud Australian slash Belgian. He’s been involved in squash for 37 years and played on the PSA Tour until 2004, with a highest World Ranking of 97. He also represented the Belgian national team. He’s been coaching for the last 25+ years with a UKCC Level 3 certificate and a Masters degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Queensland. Mark was also National Coach of Luxembourg 4 years and then started at Cornell University in 2019 where he is now the Assistant Coach to the Men’s and Women’s Squash program. Both teams finished Top 8 in the 2023 season.His current role at Cornell combines his knowledge of coaching and mentoring players whilst building an inclusive and successful team culture.Mark and I have been friends for many years, so it was an absolute pleasure to sit down with him and discuss the incredible journey he's been on, and the positive impact he's making on the lives of young athletes.Our conversation delves into his role at Cornell University and we explore the fascinating story of how he arrived there. It's truly remarkable. We discuss his transition from Australia to Europe as a young aspiring pro, as well as the ups and downs that came with it. Mark paints a vivid picture of his experience as a young professional athlete, training diligently while also supplementing his daily expenses with coaching income. From early on, Mark was drawn to coaching, and found true joy and passion in it. He reflects on his ascent to the position of national coach for Luxembourg and the valuable learning experiences he gained there.We also touch on the topic of team culture at Cornell and the key elements required to build a successful collegiate team. David Palmer, the head of squash at Cornell, has played a significant role in Mark's life, both as a young athlete and now as a coach. Mark shares invaluable insights and wisdom on what it takes to thrive as a student-athlete in the high-pressure environment of US college squash.There's so much more to discuss that it feels like we're ready for a second episode, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy my engaging conversation with Mark Andrew Burke.
Charlie Johnson01:15:45Today, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome to the show a true ambassador for the sport of squash, Charlie Johnson! Hailing from Bishops Stortford, England, Charlie has been based in the United States for the past 10 years, and is currently the Squash Director at Bay Club Redwood Shores, CA, a Team USA National Coach, and the founder of the Charlie Johnson Squash Academy - CJSA. He is fiercely passionate about growing the game of squash and, more importantly, shaping world-class individuals.In our conversation today, we'll be diving into Charlie's early days in the UK as a full-time pro squash player and the factors that led to his move across the pond to the US. We'll explore the adjustments he had to make to thrive in the US squash scene and how he ultimately built an incredible coaching career.Charlie recently received a prestigious award for his coaching, and we'll discuss the fabric and philosophy that underpins his approach to coaching. We'll also touch on the impressive success of his academy and the guidance he offers to parents of young, talented players.A true student of the game, Charlie has an amazing process of keeping detailed notes to help him grow and develop as a coach. We'll delve into this method and discuss one of his standout philosophies: "We're not teaching ordinary people how to be extraordinary squash players, we're teaching ordinary players to be extraordinary people."From handling pressure in big moments to training the mind as a junior athlete, Charlie shares his insights on the behaviours that separate the good from the great. We'll wrap up by discussing the future of junior squash in the US and where he sees the sport heading in the coming years.I am beyond excited for you to listen to the wisdom and passion Charlie brings to the table. You can follow his journey on Instagram at @cjsquashacademy.So, without further ado, let's dive in and welcome the one and only Charlie Johnson!__________________________________________________________Whenever you're ready to enhance your mental training and optimise your life with SportMind, here's how you can achieve it:https://linktr.ee/sportmindAlso, download the FREE SportMind App on Apple or Android to get access to hundreds of lessons on how to train the mind for living your best life.
Gilly Lane01:14:02Today I am excited to have on the show my long-time friend, fellow squash player, and coach, Gilly Lane. Also affectionately known as Gilly from Philly! Gilly was a former world number 48 with three PSA titles and seven finals. He was also a US National Team player between 2007 and 2015. He is currently the head of men's squash at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2022, he led the team to become Ivy League Champions, and in that same year, he was awarded Ivy League Coach of the Year. A pretty high-flying CV both as a player and now as a coach Gilly and I go way back, and we first met when I was in my early 20s, around 2003, as I was invited to train in Philadelphia for a summer and to help Gilly get an off-season like a pro would. He was a couple of years younger than me, and he was considering his future squash options. We became close friends and have stayed in touch ever since. On the show, we discuss Gilly’s first summer training in the UK and the lessons he learned there, as well as how this shaped him for the next steps of his professional career. He reflects on some of the lessons he learned and things he may have done differently. We talk about his pride in playing for his country and how he, along with a few others, were the early pioneers of professional US squash. He opens up and shares the real reasons why he retired from the game at such a young age, and it may surprise you. I really respect how open and honest Gilly was on the show today, and he lays out his vulnerabilities for us all to hear and hopefully learn from. We continue the conversation about his role now at the University of Pennsylvania and the incredible job he is doing alongside his assistants, Stuart Crawford and Jack Wyant. He has turned the team and the culture around amazingly well, and it only looks like it’s getting stronger and stronger. He shares some of the key aspects of what it takes to be a successful college coach, as well as how players can get the most out of themselves during their time at college. We discuss the mental health aspect and the pressures of college squash, and he shares some brilliant tips on this. It was also great to hear how he has grown and changed as a coach and a person, and how he now coaches very differently than on his first day in the chair. He is massively committed to building a strong team culture, and you can see he is such a role model and leader for these young athletes he is in charge of. If you want to follow Gilly and his progress at Penn, then please do check him out on Instagram at @gillyfromphilly6.I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Gilly, and it had been a long time coming. I am grateful for the time he spent with me today, and I am sure you are going to feed off his positive energy and enthusiasm for the game. We are lucky to have him doing what he is doing. So without further ado, please welcome Gilly Lane. __________________________________________________________Whenever you're ready to enhance your mental training and optimise your life with SportMind, here's how you can achieve it:https://linktr.ee/sportmindAlso, download the FREE SportMind App on Apple or Android to get access to hundreds of lessons on how to train the mind for living your best life.
Unplugging from the Noise: My Transformative Experience at a Silent Meditation Retreat39:22Well, folks, let me tell you about my recent 5-day silent meditation retreat - it was a wild ride! I had heard so much about the transformative power of silent retreats and decided to give it a go. I was feeling a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, but I figured, what the heck, might as well give it a try.As soon as I arrived, I knew I was in for a challenge. The retreat was located in a remote area, and I had to trek through the wilderness to get there. Well, in my car at least! The smallest of country lanes, surrounded by farms and wilderness. It was bliss!The retreat started with a series of instructions on how to meditate and the power of silence, and I found myself struggling to keep my mind from wandering. It was tough, folks, really tough. On average, 7-hours per day of meditation. But, slowly and surely, I started to get the hang of it. I began to feel more at peace, and I even found myself looking forward to my meditation sessions.The days were long and filled with guided and non-guided meditation, but there were also long periods of silence where we could reflect on our experiences. These moments were especially powerful for me, as I realised just how much my mind had been running on autopilot. I had been so busy with the day-to-day hustle and bustle that I had forgotten to take a step back and really think about what was important to me.As the days went on, I began to feel more and more connected to myself and the world around me. The silence had allowed me to tune out the noise and really listen to my inner voice. I realised that I had been neglecting my own needs and desires, and that I needed to make some changes in my life.On the last day of the retreat, we were allowed to break the silence and share our experiences with one another. I was amazed at how much we had all grown and transformed in just five short days. We had all faced our fears and challenges head-on, and come out stronger on the other side.In conclusion, folks, this silent meditation retreat was a truly life-changing experience for me. It taught me the power of stillness and reflection, and showed me that sometimes, we need to disconnect from the noise to truly connect with ourselves. I highly recommend giving meditation a try - who knows, it might just change your life too!I have already blocked off my calendar for roughly the same time next year and plan on doing this annually (if not more) as it was so powerful and mind-opening.Please do share and pass this on to anyone who may want to hear about the reflections of a 5-day silent meditation retreat. __________________________________________________________Whenever you're ready to enhance your mental training and optimise your life, here's how you can achieve it:https://linktr.ee/sportmindAlso download the SportMind App FREE on Apple or Android to get access to hundreds of lessons on how to train the mind for living your best life.
9. The Success Toolkit - Overall Summary36:18The Success Toolkit - Overall SummaryIn the final episode of The Success Toolkit, Jesse and Bart take a high level overview of all the 8 themes that were covered over the last few weeks. They dissect each theme and give the main tools for people to take away and use right away. The idea behind this final episode is for people to get a feel and a sense of the nature of what was recorded and to then go and dive into an individual theme that may be of interest.If those listening would like to know more about certain topics that have not been covered, then please do reach out to us. If the demand is high enough, then special episodes will be recorded and added to the Success Toolkit. Please do email firstname.lastname@example.orgAnd finally, please do share The Success Toolkit far and wide and to anyone who you feel may benefit from the lessons discussed in it.As always we aim to provide a practical and hands on toolkit to help anyone who wants to understand how to improve their overall life. ___________________________________www.SportMind.iowww.SquashMind.email@example.com
8. The Success Toolkit - Lesson 8: Mental Health22:26The Success Toolkit - Lesson 8: Mental HealthIn Episode 8 of The Success Toolkit, Jesse and Bart tackle the topic of mental health. This is a large and complex topic and the aim of this episode is to distill the main areas of mental health into an accessible episode. On the show the conversations revolve around how we all have am ugly side and we should be ok exposing it. How and what true and deep happiness is. How the achievement of external rewards is fleeting at best. And how to help with anyone suffering with depression. As always we aim to provide a practical and hands on toolkit to help anyone who wants to understand how to improve their overall mental health for a strong and flexible mind. Bart and Jesse are not trained specialists when it comes to the complex issues of deep rooted mental health concerns and we advise listeners to seek professional help in addition to what is discussed in this episode. ___________________________________www.SportMind.iowww.SquashMind.firstname.lastname@example.org
7. The Success Toolkit - Lesson 7: Dealing With Injuries15:34The Success Toolkit - Lesson 7: InjuriesIn Episode 7 of The Success Toolkit, Jesse and Bart tackle the topic of injuries and how to mentally cope better and healthier with this negative aspect on any athletes journey. On the show the discussions revolve around how seeing injuries as an opportunity to reflect with oneself and with the team around them. How to work on areas of mental fitness when the body will not allow athletes to train. How to make the use of the situation outside of the athletes chosen sport and to mentally refresh yourself in the process without having feelings of guilt.As always we aim to provide a practical and hands on toolkit to help anyone who wants to understand the concept of dealing with injuries and how to mentally cope with them better. ___________________________________www.SportMind.iowww.SquashMind.email@example.com