Smith Squashers Head to Harvard Graduate School!

February 11, 2012

The Smith College Squash Team is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) academic teams in the U.S. In this video, Coach Tim Bacon interviews Catie and Xi regarding their recent acceptance to Harvard (amongst other) grad school (Chemistry and Engineering respectively).  The team will have 6-7 CSA Scholar-Athletes (GPA 3.5+) on the 2011-2012 team!

Division III Women’s Team Squash Rankings – February 9, 2012

February 10, 2012

One of the guiding principles of sport “fairplay” is the concept of a “level playing field” – in other words, participants who compete against each other should have access to similar resources and play under similar rules – including rules related to eligibility, recruiting, and access to coaches and training resources (e.g., strength & conditioning coach).

Although theoretically desirable, a level playing field is not always entirely possible.  A very good example of this is U.S. college squash where a number of inequities affect a college’s national ranking.  The most obvious inequity is that there is almost a perfect correlation between academic ranking (e.g., U.S. News College Rankings) and squash ranking(some exceptions), in other words, the best academic schools attract the best high school squash players – perhaps more so than for other college sports, as the use of squash to get into a highly rated college or university is well documented.  This provides an unfair recruiting advantage to the Division I schools, particularly the Ivy League Schools.  Read the rest of this entry »

Best Place to Study and Play College Squash? Smith College!

November 11, 2011

Squash is not a NEWMAC sport – but the same supportive college environment that produced 20 fall sport NEWMAC scholar-athletes helps the Smith College squash player succeed at both squash and academics!

Unlike other teams which pressure students with practices five days a week – so far this season the Smith Team has only been practicing three times a week – with days off (today for example is Otelia Cromwell day at Smith – a day that celebrates diversity) to help with academic pressure.  At Smith College, the average athlete GPA is higher than that of the general student body!  Read the rest of this entry »

College Squash: Smith College is First Out of the Blocks!

October 11, 2011

The Smith College Squash Team is the first U.S. College Squash team to start the 2011-12 season!  The Smith College team started practice on Monday, September 12 at 4:30 p.m.

What was the topic of the first practice?  Smith Coach Tim Bacon, the only Level 4 Certified Coach with a Master’s Degree in Coaching in the world (and he is a Registered Mental Training Consultant and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) introduced his team to the two tactical models the team will use to base their improvement plan on:  “The Egg Model” and the “System 3” zone model of tactics.  These models guide players in the shot selection based on the tactical context a player finds themselves in when about to play the ball (e.g., on defence in back of court with difficult ball).  The latest motor learning research has shown that a “tactics first” approach accelerates learning and improves match performance.

How and why was Smith able to start so early, and why are none of the other teams practicing?  According to Bacon “the NCAA rules concerning season length are the single most important factor in the extremely high America College athlete injury rate“. “Although well-meaning, no one in the NCAA has the sport science background to understand proper training planning and methodology – they are only administrators – the result being rules that restrict season to very short lengths – almost ensuring inadequate athlete preparation and high injury rates prior to very intense competitive seasons”.  Read the rest of this entry »

College Squash: Best Housing in the U.S.A. is here!

August 7, 2011

If you play for the Smith College Squash Team you will be living in a “dorm like a palace” – better than any of your competitor schools – including the Ivy’s!  Smith College was ranked 3rd overall out of the 371 best colleges in the United States – and number 1 out of the squash playing schools (there are about 36 colleges with women’s teams).

Smith has already received acclaim for its excellent food, beautiful campus, innovative science programs (such as Engineering), welcoming approach to International students – and Fulbright scholars – so this is another jewel in the crown if you want a college where you can play squash.  If you are a high school student who is looking to play squash and live in a dorm like a palace, click this link and find out more about Smith College!

College Squash: What are you classmates doing for the summer?

August 2, 2011

Well if you are one of the lucky ones that made it into Smith College (a record year for admissions) or you are thinking about playing college squash at Smith College (the U.S.A.’s largest women’s college in the country’s #1 Liberal Arts Town of Northampton) you have two classmates who are going to:  SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL!!!

This is a great example of the type of “women leading” activity which is part of the Smith College philosophy – only available at a women’s college!

Here is a sampling of what the rest of the Smith College Squash Team is doing this summer:

  • Right after graduating co-captain Guyman went to Rwanda to lead a group of high school students in work projects to aid the local children;
  • The team’s other graduating co-captain is buy studying for MCATs to get into Med School;
  • Catie Blunt, Xi Zhao, Szilvi B. Kiss were all working in the Smith Science labs (Smith has one of the top science programs in the country) – Catie managed to flood one of the labs she was working in (sorry – no pics!) – Northampton is a beautiful place to spend the summer!
  • Clair Oblamski is interning at StreetSquash in New york City!

We will update what everyone is doing in college squash in our next post!  In the meantime if you have any questions about college squash or Smith College academics, drop head coach Tim Bacon a line ( – Tim has been busy doing professional development including a) working on a second strength training qualification Tim is the only College Squash Coach who is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist; b) he filmed the finals of the Women’s Junior World team championships between Egypt and the U.S.A. and will be analyzing the matches using Dartfish (he is the only Dartfish Trained Head College Squash coach) and publishing a report of the tactical tendencies of the two countries.

Look Who is Coming to College Squash This Fall!

July 17, 2011

Nearly all of the U.S. Colleges where squash is played are good academic schools – pretty tough to get into – you need to have excellent grades – and be a pretty good player as well!

Ironically, you can get into some of the Ivy league schools, often regarded as the U.S.’ top  schools with only average grades if you are a really good player – thanks to a practice where a team is given 1-2 “picks” by their Admissions department.  Some might call this “cheating”, since this option is not open to all of the college squash programs – therefore creating the opposite of a “level playing field” (one of the Fairplay Principles).

Smith College, the largest women’s college in the country, is one of the toughest schools to get into if you play squash – particularly if you are an International student.  Smith is one of the Seven Sisters colleges – formed at a time when the sexist Ivy leagues refused to admit women!

The accompanying article talks about how 15% of the Class of 2015 are international students – two of whom will be playing for the Smith College Squash Team!   Jacqueline Zhou from Singapore, and Vivian (SunWoo) Lee from Korea, are one of only a handful of recruited squash athletes admitted to Smith over the last 17 years. Along with the return of three Smith students who were abroad for most of the season, they will form the nucleus of a team that is looking to move up 10 spots in the CSA 2012 women’s rankings.  Read the rest of this entry »

Leadership Opportunities in College Squash!

April 2, 2011

One of the major advantages of a university education at a women’s college are the numerous leadership opportunities – on sports teams, student government, Smith Houses, campus groups and clubs, etc.  Here is Smith College President Carole Christ on the topic:

Yesterday, Tim was late to practice as his beloved MINI was in for servicing – with an unpredictable pick-up time combined with bad traffic from the dealership in Hartford leading to his absence from practice.  Here is a picture of Tim in his MINI Cooper “S” with then World #1 Karim Darwish and World #19 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.  Tim was Director of Coaching for the PPS squash camps at Mercersberg Academy in PA last summer. 

In this short video, Head Smith Squash coach Tim Bacon explains his coaching philosophy that is designed to advance the leadership skills of the Smith College Squash Team.  Szilvie B. Kiss, who has only be playing since January, stepped up and got the team organized in Tim’s absence – a triumph for Tim’s coaching philosophy.

Smart & Self-Directed College Squash Girls!

March 31, 2011

“Call them geeks if you will, but smart girls can be super attractive. And students at these colleges voted their girls both hot and intelligent.”

Smith College girls came out ranked #1 in the College Prowler’s “College Rankings for Smartest Girls” rankings published earlier today!

This puts Smith College ahead of such squash-playing schools as (in order of ranking): Stanford, Mount Holyoke College (our Seven Sisters neighbor), Yale, Bowdoin, and Cornell – but we knew that already as the Smith Squash Team has had more CSA Scholar-Athletes and the Scholar-Athlete with the top GPA for the last two years!

The Smith Squash Team, entering week #2 of their “Spring Training” mini-season, is also “self-directed” (one of the team’s core values).  During the mini-season, Head Coach Tim Bacon runs two practices (Monday & Thursday), and the team gets together and run their own practice at the Athletics & Recreation Department’s Squash & Racketball Rec Play.  Here they are mixing up the top and bottom of the team ladder playing 3/4 court:


More Boys at Smith College (not just squash boys)!

March 21, 2011

So with apologies to conservative international parents who believe they are sending their daughters to a convent when they send them to Smith College – here is a link to a recent post in the Smith College “unofficial student blog: Smith’D”.

I had to laugh at the post, entitled, “A Guide to Identifying the Origin of the Male in Your Smith College Class”, as the article was absolutely correct in their stereotyping of male students from Amherst College, Hampshire College, and UMASS Amherst that attend Smith classes.  My memories of these guys in my classes (as I teach academic classes in addition to coaching the Smith College squash team):

Amherst: one year in my Psychology of Sport class, three guys from the Amherst hockey team registered, and they always sat together.  They were actually all bright (they all got “A”s) and a little preppy.

Hampshire: one year “Mickey” from Hampshire, blond-streaked, scruffy hair – he was a professional mountain biker.  He ended up dropping the course but I ran into him at the Haymarket a few years later – he had opened his own bike shop and was doing very well.

UMASS: I have had a couple over the years in different classes, but the last two did wear baseball caps – and in fact – both were baseball players (one took my Psychology class and the other my Coaching class).  They both did a great job and got “A”s 🙂

If you believe in these stereotypes you can test yourself – watch the trailer above and guess which of the main characters goes to which of the colleges in the Smith College neighborhood – then check out your answers here (fourth paragraph down).

Here is Joe from UMASS just being “one of the girls” in a micro-teaching session during my coaching class (he gets nailed in the head with a b-ball:):

International Parents:  no need to worry!  In addition to being one of the safest (safer than the Ivy’s!) college campuses and towns in the U.S., Smith has a great Public safety Department and offers a multitude of self-defence courses (including courses for academic credit) and the very well regarded R.A.D. System.