This week we get to know squash coach Cliff Wenn. Coach Cliff was one the very first coaches to join CoachUp and has worked with a number of CoachUp athletes over the past year. Cliff was a superb international athlete and has a coaching resume that goes on for pages!
Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up in India, Singapore, and Malaysia and played table tennis, badminton, squash, and tennis among other sports. Racket sports ran in my family – my Uncle played Davis Cup for Malaysia and was the Singapore national tennis coach and my Father had been a school badminton and table tennis champion. I competed in all racket sports with the exception of table tennis and had decent success becoming nationally ranked in each sport.
In 1988, I turned to coaching, and coached in college at Tufts and Wellesley College for 10 years while also coaching in various private clubs in the Boston area. I have been the Director of Squash at the Maugus Club in Wellesley for the past 15 years.
Why did you decide to become a private coach?
For me, it was a natural transition out of my love for the sport and wanting to share that by helping others learn the game.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
The most enjoyable part of coaching is in seeing my students games grow and develop over time. Equally enjoyable is seeing a student happy when they are able to master a certain shot that had previously been giving them trouble.
What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
My lessons are well structured, and I focus on what my client is looking to achieve with their squash.
Lesson Plan –
– Conditioned Games
What is your coaching style or philosophy?
I want each lesson to be the best possible experience for my clients. I bring a high level of energy to each lesson, and I also like to inject humor at appropriate moments to lighten the mood. Learning and playing squash should be fun!
Who is your favorite coach and why?
My favorite coaches are the ones who have a real passion for their sport, never stop learning, and who truly care about their students!
What is your favorite moment in your athletic career?
My favorite moment in my athletic career, actually did not come in squash, but rather in soccer. While at Tufts, I captained the international club soccer team and I scored the winning penalty in overtime to win the championship of New England. It was the first and last time Tufts ever won the title. It was only club soccer, but for me that moment is one I’ll never forget.
Do you have any success stories from coaching an athlete?
My best success story would have to be working with a player from a different racket sport background and teaching her squash from scratch – helping her make her country’s national squash team and seeing her later become a squash coach.
I have also been fortunate to have worked with several juniors and adults who have gone on to become #1 ranked players, national champions, and national team members.
Did you participate in your sport in high school and college (if so, where)?
My high school was in Singapore, and I won the Most Outstanding Badminton player award during my sophomore year and was also an a letter winning soccer player.
In college, aside from club soccer, I did not compete on any sports teams.
I kept up my squash by training with a regular training partner, who was the Malaysian national squash champion.
What other sports or activities do you enjoy playing or practicing?
I enjoy tennis, badminton, table tennis, and golf.
I would have to rate golf as my favorite sport because of how challenging I find it.
What is your favorite sports related movie?
I’d have to say Hoosiers for serious movies and Cool Runnings for a movie on the lighter side.
What’s your mantra in sport+life?
Never give up!
Do you have any special talents or a surprising thing someone might not know about you?
I can speak Hungarian and Spanish.