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Coach Nick Profile


Necessity is the mother of invention. I say this because it was absolute necessity that drove me to begin coaching. Having a son with two left feet was a great challenge for me as coaches were not patient with his development and progress.

Coach Nick at Eastern Prize giving 2007

Do not allow your emotions to overrule your common sense and any, but any success he or she may have, however unimportant, however insignificant, make a fuss of it. One thing I am proud of is that I can truly say that I have never given up on any pupil who had the desire to achieve his / her goals in squash, irrespective of the talent or natural ability. I would like to share this personal reason with you…

My mentor, Mr Munro Munnik 1973

  • When I was 15 years old, full of mischief, full of drive and desire to succeed in athletics, two men had a great influence in my career, as an athlete and as a young man. One had a negative effect, the other a positive effect. I wanted to be a javelin thrower but my dreams were cut short when I was told that I would never make the grade, that I was too small and too weak. When I asked, but subsequently was refused to have a broken javelin so that I could mend it and train with it as I had no money to buy a new one, walking away dejected, Mr. Munnik, my vice headmaster, stopped me and asked me why I looked so unhappy. When I told him the reason, he put his arm around me, and asked me to make a promise to him. He gave those broken pieces of javelin to me, but not before I promised him that I would mend them, practice and become the best javelin thrower that Settlers Agricultural High School had ever seen. He must have been thrilled when he called me up and presented the Victor Ludorum to me two years later for winning not only the javelin but the Pole Vault and the Triple jump too. I have been trying to make a difference ever since keeping my promise to the man who believed in me. Sadly while searching the web for information on Mr Muniks grandson, also named Munro , his daughter Laura was directed to my site. I received an email from her informing me that Mr Munnik has sadly passed on. The legacy he left only I know.  I have learned too that a journey of 1000 miles must begin with a single step. Take this first step and enjoy the journey towards achieving your goals and towards realizing your dreams. I have been playing squash since 1977 and I have never stopped loving it. My only regret is that I was not introduced to this wonderful game as a junior. I achieved all my goals as a junior athlete at school and at university. I can only imagine of what I could have achieved if I put that same effort in squash. Every minute on the squash court is just too short. I love the adrenaline; I love the competitiveness and I love the challenge. 

“Squash is a brilliant game with many things in balance – shots and tactics, fast and slow paces, speed and endurance.  A contest where one of the most basic principles is that ‘play should be continuous’ because you can work your opponent”

  • Date of Birth: 03.10.1955
    School: Settlers Agricultural High School.
    Dreams: To coach a person that really has time for squash
    Goal for 2019: Increase my BTB Academy by 10% and have first time provincial players with 3 top 10 SA players in their age group
    Hobby: Carpentry, gardening and listening to music.
    Favorite Music: Greek Folk and Love songs.
    Favorite song: Yemou (Translated means ‘My Son’).
    Favorite movie: Ben-Hur, The Count of Monte Cristo and Facing the Giants
    Favorite food: Souvlakia in Pita
    Second favorite food: Souvlakia in Pita 2
    Belief: Justice
    Dislikes: Injustice, unfairness, bullies and discrimination especially from Refs and markers that do not take the time and effort to learn the squash rules
    Most personal memorable experience: My wedding day and the birth of each of my three sons.
    Most admired Squash players: Laura Massaro and Nick Mathews
    Most memorable moment in squash: My sons representing Cyprus
    Most recent achievements: Finished top 10 at Boksburg Squash Club
    Attributes: Not scared to voice my opinion especially when my opinion will make a difference. Most favorable quote: “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Desire to keep the strong spirit motivated and encouraging the weak body. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
    Role model: Saint Thomas More, Abraham Lincoln, Douglas Bader and Mother Theresa.
    Personal message to my squash players :-  
  • Your first lesson is that losses are stepping stones to your success. Your losses make you strong. Winners are already strong because of their losses.
  • Know your purpose
  • Grow to your maximum potential by understanding that your success lies outside of your comfort zone
  • Sow the seeds that will benefit others
  • Be patient. Change is inevitable, Progress is a choice. Winter cannot last for ever. Spring will come. I have been coaching for 27 years and I, by no means am the best coach, but, I can honestly say that no pupil of mine improved to such an extend after they decided to leave my academy. SUCCESS IS A PROCESS. Trust in yourself, trust in your coach and trust in the process as a good coach is a combination of a good pupil with good work ethics. If one does not have that then I am afraid there is no coach that will create miracles for you or for anybody else. Coach pupil is a special relationship, a special bond. Without this special bond, the understanding of working through losses becomes less appreciative and more apprehensive.

My Motto: Success is not a doorway…Success is a stairway. climb it.

How can I help you?

Talent is not responsible for 90% of athletes becoming Olympians. In fact it is responsible for 90% of them not becoming an Olympian. Why is that? Well, unfortunately, hard intelligent work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Squash is regarded as a complex game.  The player needs to be trained in all areas of development. Sport Scientists maintain that there are four areas of development. I beg to differ with that. I believe that there are six areas of development. Before I indulge in any form of training, the applicant, naturally, depending on age, needs to have a good reason why they want to play squash and whether they have the mental capability to follow on course until goals are achieved. Once that is identified I then work with the pupil on the four areas of development being physical, technical, tactical and mental. The physical aspect of the game has changed in the last 10 years or so. Irrespective, although all areas are important, the mental, tactical and technical areas are all a function of physical development.

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Coaching Testimonials:

Coaching is a professional relationship between two individuals (a) the coach and (b) the player. The coach assists the player in achieving personal goals in an accelerated manner. The coach supports the player in manifesting his/her highest potential and in attaining agreed-upon goals and ultimate dreams. Coaches assist players in clarifying a vision, realize a dream, etc. A coach encourages, confronts, challenges, questions, and above all, consistently honors, respects, and unconditionally supports the player in growing and achieving his/her goals. Because of this, Coach Nick is not just a physical coach but an EMOTIONAL coach too. Without the emotion, the coach is nothing.

The coaching relationship is a transformational process that inevitably results in growth for both the coach and player. The coach, irrespective of his / her personality type, needs to deal with popular, perfect, powerful or peaceful personality types. Within these personality types are the extroverts and the introverts the talkers and the doers, the optimists and the pessimists, the thinkers and the watchers. Within these personality types the coach needs to find a way to satisfy them… maybe not all, but most.

“He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored”. Proverbs 13:18

Tumeka Bikitsha (Elona and Yoyo)

Over the past years you have made a great impact on the lives of both my daughters, Elona and Yoyo, both on and off the court. I still remember the first days when you took in my two timid little girls and taught them to believe that they could achieve all their hearts desires through hard work.

You continued to instil hope and drive in them till the very end. It is very rare to meet people like you and my daughters and I feel incredibly blessed to have crossed paths with you and to have experienced such joy in doing so. Thank you for your words of wisdom, your inspirational stories, your ability to broaden one’s perspective on life and for teaching my daughters lessons I could not even teach. I truly appreciate it and indeed God does provide. One of your most fundamental lessons that have carried my daughters through life (myself included) and probably always will is “winners always do one more”,  which is simple at face value but its effect is unbounded and is one of the reasons my daughters always attempt to be one step ahead in various aspects of their lives.

We are truly going to miss you and all that you have been and done in our lives. Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. I wish you and your family well in the years to come. Thank you Nick, may you continue to be a blessing to others. Regards, Tumeka

Bianca Monique Malakou

I was 16 when I joined the BTB Squash coaching Academy. I was a BTB member for two years as I matriculated and moved to Stellenbosch University to further my studies.

The value I received in the different areas of squash I firstly realised that I physically became much stronger and learnt that my body could go through more than I ever imagined. I was taught the correct technique for each shot in the game of squash as they are the tools to success. Apart from tactical squash skills, many life skills and social skills…were learned. I gained much mental skills not only for squash but for my life as well.

Nick showed passion for Squash and life in general! He inspired me to push myself in all areas of life. He supported my studies through Matric and even came to watch me in the school play “Grease.” In the two years I was a part of his coaching team, he became one of my mentors in life and now stands as a reference on my CV.

I was part of the Group of excellence academy where the emphasis was on the importance of dedication, commitment to improving my game as well as my thinking, both on and off the squash court.

I would absolutely recommend that one join the BTB Squash Coaching Academy! The weekend clinics were full of intense training, fun team building activities, mental stimulation and coaching tips. Not to mention the Sunday morning breakfast at Nick’s house with the BTB team and his family…

Dario Barra

I joined the BTB Squash Coaching Academy at the age of 15 and I am still with Coach Nick after 3 years.

What value did you get in the squash areas of:

  • Physical:

If it was not for the Wednesday night group fitness sessions, Tuesday and Thursday morning training before school (5am), Academy weekends that have fitness tasks and challenges, I would have never be as fit as I am. I was overweight unfit and slow before starting with Nick. I have gained lots of knowledge in strength and fitness training done with Nick. I now consider myself fit because of the discipline learnt from Nick. I do more running, running hills, I gym and my eating is a lot healthier. Fitness is the ability to do more. I am more confident have fitness to push hard and give it all.

  • Technical:

When I started with Nick I did a video analysis of my game. My technique was shocking and looked ridiculous. I no longer have the bad habits I had before. I could not retrieve from the back corners. I now am able to retrieve, fetch well, and get a compact connection to the ball. There is still room for improvement but is a lot better since I start training with Nick. We often look at that first video and have a good chuckle.

  • Tactics and skills:

I have learnt a lot of new tactics to use in my game and developed a lot of racquet skills. I can now base a game plan because of my knowledge I have learnt about tactical play; tactics such as the type of game to impose against certain opponents and makings shot decisions. I have learnt a lot of racquet skills to be able to place the ball where I want. Due to the better technique my swing has improved which allows me to sometimes be deceptive. My skills have been developed in my one on one session with Nick.

  • Mental:

At one stage I could not cope with frustrations on court, anxiety or other negative emotions in playing squash. Nick has taught me to manage my emotions in a positive way. Mental is a very important part of a squash players game and I have now learnt different methods and techniques to manage these emotions to help me perform better.

What value did you get in the areas of Life skills?

Patience is the biggest life skill I have learnt from Nick. Not only is patience applied a lot in the game of squash but also in every day life. I am a very impatient person as I want to improve quickly and get results, but one must never forget where they started their journey of improvement. Methods of managing frustration and anxiety can also be applied in life based on the methods used in playing squash.

What value did you get from the Group of Excellence academies?

I feel that this is a great team building and strategic planning exercise. One develops friendships, share goals and opens up to your dreams even with your opponents who share the same ideas. A lot of motivation is experienced because of the group encouragement plus a lot of memories.

Would you recommend the BTB Squash Coaching Academy?

Yes I would, not only for the benefit of squash but also the physical and mental development, friendships, goal setting and personal motivation. The support system is not only provided by Coach Nick, but due to the environment created by Coach Nick everyone in the BTB academy supports each other and encourage each other.

Dean Russell

Wow where do i begin with my journey with Nick and BTB squash… I must admit I’m surprised I’m still with BTB squash surprised that Nick stuck with me all these years… I really did give him hell all those years ago!!

But almost 8 years down the road I’m on the pro circuit and I can only thank one man for getting me here…

Of course a lot had its part to play but it was this man’s vision, persistence and enthusiasm that kept me going.. Nick is the kind of coach that you’ll push your body mind and soul to breaking point for..He’s the kind of coach that deserves nothing less than that kind of effort! And he’s the only person I know that stays awake at night worrying about how he can change everybody else’s situation. He is everything anyone could hope for in a coach, mentor and most of all a friend.

I have never met someone that has a greater passion for the game or the improvement of players. Coach you have the mentality, direction and passion that we all desire as players, professionals and people.. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me..For getting me to ‘one more’, for helping me ‘find a way’, for supporting me when others doubted and for picking me up when I fall down.

The love and admiration I feel for this man is unprecedented he is like family to me…sorry not ‘like’ he is part of my family.

I’d also like to apologise for driving you mental when i was younger, for the early morning wake up calls, for the late night chats, for interrupting family time! But i promise it’ll all be worth it when the journey comes to an end…Thank you

Mignonette de Bruin

Top 10 S.A Schools National player since u14

Best result played in the U16 S.A Finals

Voted best sportsperson at IPT in 2007

I was 13 years old when I joined the BTB Squash Coaching Academy. Nick travelled to Parys on a weekly basis to train me, my brother and a number of other Parys kids. I trained with Nick for almost six awesome years and left as I moved to the Free State University to further my studies. I received much value in the years with Nick in all areas of my squash development. I have never been as fit as I was in the period that I trained with Nick and I doubt if I will ever again achieve that level of fitness.

I was strong, fast and agile. If it wasn’t for Nick I would never have had the great backhand that I now have. I used to struggle on the backhand but is now one of my strengths. My movement on the court improved considerably and I still use the movement skills he taught me. I learnt many skills from Nick and he always had a new idea to improve my game. He comes up with new strategies and has a new one for every opponent…it’s amazing. He took me from being afraid of a hard and fast game to basically playing a hard and fast game myself.

I think I was one of Nick’s greatest mental challenges. I had many problems controlling my emotions on and off court. I am happy to say that Nick helped me through it. I don’t know how many times I felt like crying because I just didn’t get something right or couldn’t do it and every single time Nick was there motivating and encouraging me. He made me physically strong, but more importantly he made me mentally strong. He gave me the best tool you can have on a squash court.

Nick always had a word of advice or motivational quote. The lessons that I learnt didn’t only help me on the squash court but in life too. I learnt how to be a leader from his example. I learnt about perseverance and determination. I learnt about pushing the limits to get what you want. I learnt how to prioritise my values and Nick taught me that faith and family comes first. The rest will follow. The BTB team became my family and they still are. Nick gave all of us so much more than squash advice. He gave us a love for squash and for life.

I was fortunate to be part of the Group of Excellence academies. I remember the dreaded 3km runs! I used to love those academies. I was there with the whole BTB family and there wasn’t one academy that I didn’t learn something new. My squash always benefitted and so did my life. Circuit training was the best!

I would absolutely recommend joining the BTB squash family to ANYONE! I had the time of my life and I miss them all terribly. Even though it is a squash academy, your life will be enriched through it. It is hard work and sometimes it takes a lot of sweat and tears but it was worth it 100%.

Rhys Patrick

I was 11 when I joined Coach Nick and the BTB Squash coaching academy. I am still training with Nick after 3 years. As I was young and my body frame was small I found it difficult to accept that other kids were stronger than me. The assurance I received was that I persist in areas of development now, for balance and fitness within my capability, the strength will happen with time. I see the benefit now after 3 years.

My coach also said to me that technique is a function of physical fitness so I learned to place the ball and to read the game better. I am also in the process of learning tactics and skill as only now I am able to make good connection to the ball. Due to this I have learned to endure, be patient and persistent.

Apart from learning about squash I have also learned life skills such as to have good manners at all times, good sportsmanship – great to win, but also be a good loser and learn from mistakes. I have not been part of the Group of excellence academy but what I have heard it is awesome and cannot wait to be invited to one or more of them. I would recommend the BTB Squash Coaching Academy to children that wish to do it right!

Rubinette Robbertze

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