Squash Mad

England Squash county update: Massive momentum stalled by lockdown

From glass courts to grass courts, squash players are inventing games to play in their gardens during the lockdown

More coaches ready to relaunch the game
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

England Squash have told counties that the Coronavirus lockdown has stalled a period of massive momentum by the sport’s national governing body.

Chief Executive Keir Worth, writing the England Squash County Update, explained that guidelines for reopening clubs and facilities will be issued as soon as government permission is given along with any restrictions that may apply.

An upbeat message, recording significant growth and progress in numerous areas, was tempered by the impact of the sudden shutdown.

However, he was full of praise for the huge energy from ES staff helping to keep the squash community engaged and connected during the lockdown. 

He hopes that the increase in the number of coaches, particularly females, will help to kick-start the sport once courts are allowed to reopen.

Here is his update:

It remains a very challenging and frustrating period for everyone and England Squash is working hard to ensure that we continue to support the community, wherever possible. We remain in discussion with Sport England and other national governing bodies about how we can promote a smooth and effective transition to play, once clubs are allowed to reopen.

When we have confirmation from the Government and Sport England that we can take steps to encourage players back onto court, we will be in a position to release recommendations to the squash community.

Current Opportunities

115 ‘Bounce Back’ grants have been awarded to clubs across the country, to support a range of on-court activity when clubs reopen.

The first two Club Support webinars were well attended with 75 clubs involved – there are plans to run more around ‘return to play’. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Coach development webinars have also been well supported with around 50 coaches engaging with members of the national coaching team each week.

The Junior 101 At Home Activity Pack has generated lots of positive feedback – the pack has a host of activities and features for families to do together at home.

The Squash 101 Circuit Sessions have generated interest from across the squash community and has accounted for more than 20% of all of our video views over the period of lockdown.

We are close to confirming that coaching courses that are midway through delivery, will be completed online and the same is also true for the County Programme Managers course that began earlier this year.

Return to Play

We are creating a Return to Play resource pack to support clubs and coaches and assist in the organisation and promotion of on-court activity
Guidelines/recommendations for a safe return to play are being prepared for a range of different scenarios

Regional Forum funding

Before the COVID-19 crisis, there was some excellent RF activity across the country and it is so disappointing to lose that momentum. After consultation, we have agreed to roll-over last year’s unspent funding and the associated participation targets until the end of March 2021.

This year’s funding is primarily being given to support the return to squash, rather than focusing upon attracting new players into the game via the England Squash participation programmes. For more information, please contact [email protected]

We are planning another county association webinar – the last one proved very popular with 25 counties represented. Again, please contact [email protected]

Sport England Community Emergency Fund – reminder

A little over 24hrs remains until the Sport England Community Emergency Fund closes. Please do stress to clubs in your county that this is a good opportunity to get some financial support. From the figures we have seen, squash has been successful with more than 60% of clubs who have applied, receiving funding
Please see https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/community-emergency-fund

Competitions

All competitions across June and July have either been cancelled or postponed – we are hoping to reschedule the Squash 57 National Championships and also the National Club Championships

We are about to tender for junior competitions from January 2021 onwards – the calendar before then is subject to change and we are working through various scenarios

We are working with other national governing bodies to devise guidelines for safe play / social distancing for clubs and tournament organisers that are likely to be required over the coming months

We are currently working through a review process for all inter-county competitions next season (looking at formats and scheduling) – thank you to those who have provided feedback

Strategy Development Survey

You will have seen that England Squash has launched a survey to drive feedback from county associations and clubs ahead of developing a new strategy for squash in England.

We are very keen to hear your thoughts and to better understand your perspective, so please do support the survey, which closes on May 28.

Please see https://mailchi.mp/englandsquash/2021_strategy-counties

Objectives & KPIs (end of Year 3)

England Squash has continued to perform well against its key performance indicators, albeit the current crisis is going to stifle progress
Highlights of progress across this strategy/funding cycle (since 2017) include:
An increase in the number of affiliated clubs from 304 to 640
An increase in members from c.25k to c.36k
An increase in coach members from c.750 to c.1000
An increase of c.11k in website sign-ups
Surpassing our Sport England participation target more than one year early (more than 25k players have been registered on the England Squash app)
A 50% rise in revenue (note this does not include Membership revenue)
Qualifying / training more than 1800 new Leaders and Coaches, with an increase in % of female coaches too
Continued success at world level with the men’s and women’s teams both winning silver at the world team championships

I hope this latest update has been useful – please be assured that everyone at England Squash is doing everything they can to prepare for a timely and safe return to play.

With best wishes,
Keir  

 

Posted on May 13, 2020

Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

Alan Thatcher

Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

Leave A Response