Squashfest 2018

You don’t need to think for too long to come up with some benefits of doing sport. But finding a sport we love, and that fits in with our skills and our lifestyles can be a bit more difficult.

To try and help local children find their sport, the squash coaching team from Princes Sports Club, worked with Chesterfield School Sport Partnership (CSSP) to organise Squashfest 2018. The aim of Squashfest 2018 was to introduce squash to 160 local primary school children and give them each a chance to have a go. The event was delivered as ‘Junior 101’, which is one of England Squash’s new participation programmes. These participation programmes have been created in line with Sport England’s aims: ‘to encourage everyone, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity’. Junior 101 aims to get more Children and Young People playing squash and having fun, whether in a school club or community setting.

Jo Wallis, who coaches at Princes Sports Club, explained “We’re slowly changing the perception of squash. You don’t have to be fit to start: you can get fit and have fun by playing squash. Currently, most new players tend to come through family, friends of team players and club players”.

“Squashfest 2018 aims to provide an opportunity for more local children to have fun on the squash courts, to give them a taster, and we hope many will come back to Princes Sports Club and continue their squash journey in our junior programme and begin a lifelong love of squash.”

Nick Wall, the reigning British Junior Squash Champion, is based at the Hallamshire Squash Club in Sheffield. He took time out of his training schedule to attend Squashfest 2018.

“I got into the sport through my Dad” explained Nick. “I started playing at three years old and through hard work and training have risen to the position of British Number One for my age (U19).

“It’s great to see so many kids here and it would be even better to see many of them coming back after the event to pick up squash as a new sport.

“Squash isn’t often seen as fun, it’s seen as competitive from the start, but it should be about enjoying what you do. Following the event kids will be able to come and give squash a try at three free coaching sessions, it’s a great offer and a really good way to be introduced to the sport, and to see if it’s for you before you join up.”

The team of coaches from Princes were Mike, Sean, Jo, John, & Michael & Harry (who are both Y13 Brookfield students).

Emily, also from Brookfield School, and staff from CSSP delivered the sessions on the day. Coach John (Robbo) Robertson has represented England in the over 70s and also competes on the Master’s squash circuit. This gives the children a wide range of coaches to learn from.

The schools attending Squashfest 2018 were; Old Hall Juniors, Brampton Primary, Cavendish Juniors, Highfield Hall Primary and Mary Swanwick School.

“I got into the sport through my Dad” explained Nick. “I started playing at three years old and through hard work and training have risen to the position of British Number One for my age (U19). 

Teacher Craig Ferreday from Mark Swanwick commented “it’s great to get kids involved in as many events and activities as possible and open their eyes to new opportunities. Squash is a sport many children don’t get access to, so it’s fantastic to see them here giving it a go. “We brought a group of children along to last year’s Squashfest and the children enjoyed it – we’ve also had the squash coaches from Princes Sports Club come out to our school to help children find their sport. Over the past year we’ve given children the chance to try parkour, boxing, triathlon as well as the usual sports, football, cricket and rugby, to offer them the best chance of finding a sport they enjoy.

If your child didn’t get chance to come to Squashfest and they fancy trying squash, Princes are offering three free junior squash sessions* after school, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The children will be coached through the sessions and can go on to join the Junior Squash Club where the fun, coached sessions continue. It’s also worth noting that there is no need to be a member of Princes Sports Club to participate in the Junior Squash Club Programme.

If you’re an adult and this has sparked an interest in taking part in squash or indeed racketball (bigger ball, bigger bounce, longer rallies); the friendly team at Princes would love to hear from you. At Princes Squash Club there are opportunities for you; whether you’re an absolute beginner or looking to get back into the sport.

Contact Jo Wallis on 07815 574113 and see adverts for further details.