Time for a squash license?

Crazy right? Asking people to take a course before playing squash. What faster way is there to kill a sport? Well, firstly, it would be optional and secondly free.

07 June 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate

Squash is an absolutely fantastic sport. It’s great for the mind and body. It can be played indoors and outdoors, yes, outdoors – although there are currently only a handful of outdoor courts, that is going to change soon. Because it is mostly played indoors, it can be played at any time of the year, i.e. the season doesn’t matter, in fact I prefer squash in the summer!

Two high-level squash players in the middle of a rally.

Look at how carefully he is watching the ball

But I will admit that squash does have its issues and ignoring those is wrong. I am not affiliated with ANY organisation, manufacturer, event, team, player or anything official in squash any more, so anything I say or write is just a personal opinion, but because I don’t need to worry about “keeping my job”, you know that what I say is my honest opinion. I do write for Squash Player magazine but I don’t have to worry about following any rules.

Squash is not hard to learn, although racketball is probably easier. The rules are quite simple, except for Lets and Strokes, but with some guidance for most recreational and club players that issue can be addressed. The balls are a little more problematic and as I have said many times, that’s the squash community’s fault. And finally because of long rackets, a smallish space and lots of movement, safety can be an issue, especially for new players. So how do was address these issues? Well, how about a Squash License?

Seriously, A Real License?

Well, I mean no, not an actual license, but a course that covers the different balls, and when and why to use them, the basic rules and scoring (including strokes and lets), and finally safety. Isn’t that all covered by group coaching courses? Maybe, maybe not. But this course wouldn’t be about coaching at all. It is NOT trying to teach you how to swing a racket or how to move – well, maybe a little about not bumping into each other.

Two beginners trying squash

Don't they look smart in the all-white kit?'

I believe that a lot of beginners and recreational players would get more enjoyment out of squash if they took a course like this. I feel that most just want to play. Maybe they will get coaching after they have been playing a while or maybe they won’t. Those two players in the image above. Are they using the right grip and swing? The player about to hit the ball is definitely not, his grip is wrong and his swing is too big. Does that matter? No, not if they are having fun and are not dangerous.

Give Me More Details

The course would be short, and by short I mean no more than 30 minutes. It could have 6 people on it and would take place on a court, there could be an actual exam, but really, it’s not needed, so perhaps that could be optional. Each participant would receive a digital attendance certificate. They could also swap contact details with other people on the course to maybe encourage each other to play together.

Who Pays For It?

That is the question. I would say the national association of each country should be putting the money in to pay for this. They could train local coaches to run the course and the coaches might get private clients because of it. I would hope that the facilities would offer the court for free as it could be a great way to encourage new players into that facility. I would also like to see each participant being given a suitable ball. For some, that might be blue, red or even single yellow. That way, we address the issue of using the right ball with a direct and practical solution.

Too often national associations focus on juniors at the expense of adults. Of course, juniors are important, but don’t neglect adults. Also, I feel too much money is spent on Elite players with squash’s organisations. I recognise that professional players have an impact of juniors playing, which in turn has an impact of whether we have enough players to keep squash alive, but for 90% of public sports facilities, it’s the recreational player that uses their courts the most.

Final Thoughts

If we can ensure that THOSE players keep playing and keep having fun, we may help to keep Squash alive. Disagree with me? No problem, tell me in the comments. Remember, the course would be free and completely optional, you might even get a free ball. Why wouldn’t you give 30 minutes of your time to make sure you are safe and getting the most from your squash?

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