Summer project brings more youngsters into squash
By Squash Mad Reporter
A new junior league is helping to grow squash in Shropshire. The Shropshire Junior Summer Squash League launched in June with an exciting new format designed to encourage younger junior players to embrace competitive squash.
At 5.30pm 65 juniors rolled into the Kingsland Squash club from across the county and from over the Welsh border. They were represented by five clubs who fielded eight teams of four players with a squad of up to nine each.
Martin Lee (Junior coaching lead at Kingsland club) had been mulling over a junior summer league for more than 2 years, when he just decided it need to be started. Well, a few Excel sheets and many emails later it all kicked off at the Kingsland club.
“It’s all about getting kids playing competitive but fun team squash” says Martin, the approach included each team fielding at least one girl and an under-13 player in each fixture, and as few rules as possible, (the main one is to shake hands after the match). #JSL will now run every second week for the next four months.
The #JSL is targeting younger and more inexperienced players. The stronger ones need to play up in the adult leagues, and leave space for those who are just starting down the road of team squash.
Each team has a playing captain along with 3 other players and a responsible adult to keep them in check (and make the sandwiches at the end of the night). With only 4 in a team there is a chance of a draw so the 4’s play last and they decide the winning team. This we hope will encourage the teams to really get behind their younger player and, add a hint of spice to the event.
Team fees have been kept to a minimum at £40 for the season with includes 18 fixtures (for each team) with all teams playing twice, as home and away, and one warm-up at the start of the season.
Kingsland Squash Club are hosting the fixtures and have generously donated the courts free of charge. This means all the cash can be spent on the event, balls, food and a cup.
Maybe next year they can attract a sponsor for the league. There are lots of opportunities for the right partner, including marking sheets, results board, website, fixtures, local press (for results), social media including, Facebook and Twitter, T-shirts, plus more to come.
Martin added: “Ever keen to roll it out, we would like to think that other clubs will provide input and submit teams next year, especially when they see that it’s about participation and with kids not much more than 7 and 8 taking part, some of whom may have been playing for not much more than a few months. Its all about the 4 P’s of squash!!!
We have also created a bit of a template which we would be pleased to pass along to other areas / clubs if they are considering trying their own JSL.
Please get in touch with Martin Lee at [email protected] for more information.