Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

Opinion

It’s so easy to see other popular racket sports and almost blame them for squash’s decline. padel and pickle ball are popular at the moment and perhaps some squash players have moved across, but the chances are they weren’t happy with squash anyway.

Other Rackets Sports Are Not Squash's Enemy!

I’m using the term “racket sports” and I define a racket as something with strings. If it doesn’t have strings, then it’s a bat in my mind, but that’s not an industry standard. Many people in table tennis call their bats “rackets”, so just be aware that basically I am talking about sports where you hold something and hit a ball and then your opponent hits the ball with their something, normally on a court. Phew. So with the definition out of the way, let’s address the title. It seems to me that too many people view other rackets sports as competitors to squash and I can understand why people would think that. We have all heard of people trying squash and having fun, but then preferring tennis or badminton for example. The problem with this thinking is that the logical conclusion would be to ban all other racket sports except squash! Clearly that’s a stupid conclusion. Why would we want to stop people from enjoying other sports? In some ways, they are right. squash does compete with other rackets sports in terms of budget at local sports centres. Many places have limited budgets and need to allocate that budget to a variety of different sports and racket sports get bundled into one category, in the same way that invasion team sports do too. Do we say that rugby is the enemy of football or hockey? I don’t think so. people who play hockey, would not play rugby if hockey was not available to them. Just because they are similar in some aspects, doesn’t mean that the people who play them would switch if they couldn’t play their chosen sport. You don’t play ice hockey if hockey is not available, do you? What we need to do, and it seems to be happening more and more, is accept that people like different racket sports, but also recognize that a lot…

Whose responsibility is it to make a sport grow? National organizations, The World Squash Federation, The Professional Tour? Club coaches? Equipment manufacturers?

Introduce A Friend To Squash

Yes, all those people and groups I just mentioned do have some responsibility towards keep squash alive and growing, but you know who else could do it? YOU! That’s right, you. Of course, you don’t have any actual responsibility or duty to do that and I am not suggesting you stand on a street corner with a sign saying “TRY SQUASH – Ask Me How”, but if an opportunity arises at work, or college/university then don’t be afraid to encourage people to at least try it. Set An Example What better way to do that than to offer to play with somebody. I feel that squash players are generally very friendly and I feel confident that I could walk into nearly any squash club in the world and say that I am in town for a few days and looking for a game, and would be welcomed. Nobody is expecting you to suddenly become a coach or trainer, but offering to let somebody try squash for the first time can be like a domino effect. perhaps the person you introduce to squash loves it and then introduces it to two other people and 10 years later squash is popular again! Take the first step to helping somebody start squash. Set A Goal I challenge you to introduce one new person to squash before the end of 2022. All I ask is that you spend 15 minutes with them on court, letting them hit the balls and run around a little. Then after that, if they didn’t have fun, at least you can say you tried. The more people play, the better for everybody. The more courts will be built, the easier it will be to find clubs, tournaments and opponents. Everybody benefits and all it might take is for each person who plays squash to encourage one other person per year to try it. Never To Soon So often I…

There are different kinds of coaches. Coaches whose objective is to get as many people playing and enjoying squash as possible. Coaches who focus on elite performers and helping them become the best they can be.

Participation Coaches

The first thing I want to say is that reaching the top in any given should not be the objective of every player that plays squash. As a community and sport, I feel we often put too much emphasis on the skill level of players rather than the enjoyment level. Organizations promote the “elite” coach pathway as the expense of the “participation” coach. As coaches we are fed the idea that to be considered a successful coach, you need to coach “elite” players. This article argues against that idea. This is an issue that plagues all sports. If I ask you to name a famous coach in your given sport, I have little doubt that you would mention the coach of a famous player or team. The fact they the coach is famous must mean they are connected with professional sport. And I am not saying that those coaches and players are not important to the sport, they are. But they are the tip of the triangle. The top, the elite, and the chances are that without the base of the triangle they wouldn’t exist. What Is A Participation Coach? A participation coach is a coach whose primary objective is to encourage players to enjoy playing squash. They don’t have to be well-trained or highly experienced. In my travels around the UK with the Dunlop Roadshow, I was lucky enough to work with many excellent participation coaches. In fact some were “better” at this sort of coaching than professional coaches – especially young professional players who thought that simply being a great player was enough to make them a coach (That really annoys me!). Being a participation coach is not about knowing exactly how to swing a racket or much more importantly about how best to transition from their current swing to a better one, it’s about providing a challenging environment for groups of people of a similar standard to…