Kids get a buzz for the game when they step inside the glass box
By ROSANNA RADLINSKA – Squash Mad European Correspondent
Have you ever thought how big a role the glass court plays when it comes to popularising squash?
I didn’t want to write anything about the glass court itself until I’ve seen the pictures of it with many smiling children. The Squash Zone Tour 2018 has just started in Poland. It’s a series of squash events taking place in different cities in Poland where the glass court is erected in the, preferably, most popular shopping malls.
It starts in Gdansk and there will be some friendly matches between Polish and Norwegian players. However, before the real matches the court will be used as a means of attracting youngsters to squash. Who could resist stepping on a glass court? I think nobody could and nobody would.
I do remember it well when I saw a glass court in reality. It looked fairly impressive on PSA Squash TV, but to see it in reality it was massive for me, and I don’t even play squash.
It seems that the glass court possesses some sort of gravitational field as you can see people immediately going into that direction when they see it. I went to touch it in Manchester 2013, because I was surely mesmerised by it. Adults love it, so I’m not surprised that children love it even more.
I saw youngsters playing on that court whenever they could. It must have been incredible feeling for them to be in that arena where the professionals battle their way to the finals in PSA tournaments. It helps children to visualise themselves to be playing in such events in the future. They can feel like a superstar just because they can spend some time on a glass court.
When playing on traditional courts, in the club, you are that invisible player to the wider community, sometimes people even don’t know what squash is (how many times did you need to explain your sport as ‘tennis in the room’?).
However, when you are on the glass one, you are very much visible and if it is in the place where many people come, the word “squash” is being introduced effortlessly into their vocabulary and into their minds.
Why? The answer is simple, they have seen something out of the box, although it is a box, like a rare species which you can see on special occasions.
Over 200 children in Gdansk will have the opportunity to feel special, to try squash, to be on a glass court, and I am sure that would be an unforgettable experience for them.
I hope that they will google “squash” or, even better, youtube “squash”and they will be able to see some fantastic, entertaining battles that will capture their imagination. The winning shots and the incredible dives and lunges to get the ball back and keep the rally going.
This could be the first step to take up squash as a sport, and whether they pursue their dream to be a professional squash player or just a club player it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they will be “ïnfected” with squash for life.
Stepping on THE championship glass court in Manchester in 2017 was a truly amazing experience for me, so to sum up, I wish squash promoters used the glass court more to attract children before a major tournament where the glass court is erected. Adults will not refuse to step on it either. The experience of being inside the glass arena is very unique.
Pictures by SQUASH ZONE and ROSANNA RADLINSKA