14 July 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate↗
I understand that when a major publication ranks squash at the top, that’s good news and should be used to promote the game, but have you ever met a person who said “I play squash because it’s the healthiest sport”? No, I don’t think you have and neither have I.
My issue with our sport using that data is that firstly we expect people to suddenly say “Oh my goodness! Why the heck am I not playing squash? I better find my local court and get healthy.” Plenty of sports and activities are very healthy, but we don’t suddenly start doing those. It is the same “data versus emotion” argument that appears all the time. People are presented with facts, but ignore them because it doesn’t fit with their world view or because they don’t care about facts!
Secondly, I worry that in the past governing bodies, both specific (squash) and more general (government sports/health departments) have relied on that data to promote the game – see point one. if the only selling point we can think of is that then people are not going to play in enough numbers to keep squash growing or even surviving.
If they are having fun, that's all that matters.
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Squash can be so much fun. Running around and hitting the ball is in itself a fun activity. Couple it with a competitive element and add the social side and squash becomes the whole package. It’s not too difficult to learn, assuming we promote the use of the right ball! It can be played all year round, all around the world. It’s true that in some places the price is a little on the expensive side – at least I think so – and that has to be addressed by creating easy-to-build courts or by putting them outside.
If I were still in the UK and working within squash, one of the things I would do is try to visit club nights and taster days around my area and video interview people who tried squash for the first time. I have no doubt that I would get some great footage and quotes of people smiling and saying how much fun they had. They I would post it on social media for other interested parties to see and use.
I am convinced that if a lot more people tried squash, we would be growing as a sport. Clearly, this is just a guess but I believe that at least 50% of people who try squash enjoy it. The key is making sure it’s easy and cheap enough for those people to continue to play squash.
Forget telling potential players how healthy squash is. Tell them how much fun it is!