2018 has witnessed Scottish Squash re-energise the appeal of squash to new audiences throughout Scotland thanks to a number of initiatives.
School students across the country have been empowered to help breed a future generation of squash players.
Through the Squash Leader Award Programme, selected students are introduced to the concept of school’s squash and taken through our new School Sports Leader resource which equips them with the tools to encourage other students to try squash.
Schools which have taken part include Dunblane HS, Lochend Community HS (Easterhouse), Holy Cross HS (Hamilton), Gryffe High School (Houston) as well as other students from East Renfrewshire through the ERCL Sports Leadership Academy initiative.
David Fallon, National Lead for Sport Development, said: “We have been really active in schools this year and the Squash Leader Award Programme has been well received by students.
“Their enthusiasm is key to all this and allows school sports leader students to gain a qualification with a Governing Body as well as create a useful pathway to working in sport and coaching in the future.”
He continued: “We go in to schools over a three hour period and introduce students to the basic concepts of squash coaching – for example warm-ups, movement, ball and racket skills as well as match play.
“They then take away the ability to lead school sessions, empowering them to run lunch time and after school squash clubs.
“Students can also play a key part in delivering our regional school tournaments as well.”
Primary school pupils in Renfrewshire have also got to try squash recently at the 2018 Strathgryffe Schools Squash Festival.
Across four weeks during October and November this year, Strathgryffe Tennis & Squash Club coaches Alan Marshall and Martin Woods delivered school squash sessions to 150 pupils at Bridge of Weir Primary School, Houston Primary School and St. Fillan’s Primary School.
The 2018 Strathgryffe Schools Squash Festival then saw 10 pupils from each school come down to the club to compete in a fun competition.
David added: “It was a fantastic effort from all of the school pupils who took part and great to see one of our clubs delivering such a successful programme and event with support from teachers and Renfrewshire Leisure.”
In September, Nairn Sports Club and Inverness Tennis and Squash Club opened their doors to non-members and beginners free of charge during sportscotland’s Clubs Open Doors Week 2018.
Elsewhere, to celebrate World Squash Day, Abercorn Squash Club and Scotstoun Squash Club hosted two events in October, Abercorn hosting an East of Scotland Junior big shots competition for kids and Scotstoun a club handicap tournament.
Meanwhile David Fallon, was part of a Sports Governing Body discussion panel at the 2018 LEAP Sports Scotland Conference in Glasgow last month (November).
Changing LGBTI+ Lives through Sport and Physical Activity was a one day conference exploring the impact and good practice in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s inclusion and participation in sport and physical activity.
The panel was a chance for sports including squash, hockey, swimming and athletics to discuss their work with engaging the LGBTI+ community.
David said: “The day was very inspirational and eye-opening about the challenges and barriers the LGBTI+ community face when engaging with sport and physical activity.
“I was able to highlight some of our work and give another chance to show that squash is open and inclusive of everyone, regardless of their sex, gender identity, race, religion or any other characteristic.”
David’s involvement follows squash’s presence at Pride Glasgow in Kelvingrove Park on July 14 promoting Diversity in Sport.
Jonathan MacBride, Chair of the Scottish Squash Equality Advisory Group, was in attendance to help promote equality and inclusion in squash and there was great support from Dunblane Sports Club.
Scottish Squash would again like to thank LEAP Sports Scotland for the opportunity to show that squash is a sport for all at a packed Pride Glasgow 2018.
David said: “It’s been great seeing all the hard work being done by clubs and schools this year and the impact we are having in showcasing squash as a sport which can be enjoyed by everyone.”
To read about the extensive work being done to encourage more girls and women to take up squash in Scotland, read our 2018 Girls Do Squash round-up here.
Whether you want to play, coach, referee or volunteer we would love you to get involved. Scottish Squash is growing and we want you to be part of it. For more details click here.