Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sqaush: So, where now for this beautiful game?

We need leadership, teamwork and a clear vision to grow the game   By CHRIS SARGENT - Squash Mad Correspondent (Grove Park Squash Club) So, where now for the real, beautiful game of squash? Clearly, the news about squash being excluded from the Paris 2024 Olympics is very disappointing. Particularly for all the talented youngsters out […]

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5 Comments

  1. A good article, Chris, written from the heart and displaying passion. There is no denying that exclusion from the Olympics is a setback, equally, that should not detract from the need to promote the obvious benefits of squash, but it is a massive publicity opportunity to get the message across to the masses – and that is what sponsors like. You are right that we need leaders, we also need good drivers who are well paid and that requires money. We also need better facilities and that can only be done through capital investment. Put the right financial structures in place to bring the sport into the modern idiom and, along with your suggestions, squash will grow.

  2. A good article and an enjoyable read I understand Nick has been talking about legal action against the IOc for their ludicrous decision they really know nothing about sport that’s fur sure.
    Squash survives on the passionate communities that are involved. But I am sure more can be done at club level to raise awareness and make local communities more aware of the great sport.
    The reality is that not everyone who tries squash will be able to take it up seriously. It’s a numbers game and we need much more footfall into clubs.

  3. Chris you are wrong mate, We did need the olympics just for exposure in the UK. Sports centre’s are taking away squash courts because they don’t make money. 8 quid for 40 mins or put 20 spin bikes in there ? New centre’s dont even build squash courts in my area ! Who watches squash live at 2am in the morning on BT, and who is going to see squash on a squash channel, and pay by the way if you dont already play the game. There is only 1 way I can see the game going and its not up. I really hope I am wrong.

    • I agree that the Olympic coverage would have been fantastic. But, I am not sure about the extra exposure. In the UK, Squash would probably have been on the “Red Button” so would have had to be actively looked for rather than up front and personal.

      I agree also with the fact that now, in Europe you need BT Sport or Eurosport subscription to see live Squash. This does not help our game but allows people to take money out of the sport. But…there is another way.

      For example, at Grove Park we now live-stream our NWCSL 1st Division Matches via YouTube (go look at our channel). Good quality coverage showing some great Squash (Richie Fallows vs. Declan James the other week was a great example)

      As you have said, new courts are not being built by the owners of new centres. This is because they view the revenue per sq.m as more important than the sport.

      I believe Squash needs to evolve itself into a fitness lifestyle and the clubs need to be focused on that. So, clubs need a good gym, classes (perhaps even using the courts) and the social life to back up the whole “Squash Life” creating an inclusive and vibrant alternative to “gym life” which is stale, a bit pretentious and the programmes are perhaps a bit of a fad.

      Not easy, takes commitment and probably some of it requires money. But I don’t think the Olympics is the “magic bullet”. We can make Squash a popular way to get fit, but we need to act as one and need a clear vision and leadership from all levels to make it happen.

  4. The article as well as the associated comments are all good suggestions. They are measured, well thought through and accepted in the Squash community. This includes creating the call for legal action.

    However, given the magnitude of the resources of the IOC legal action should perhaps be taken after it is vetted by considered legal opinions and expertise. We have repeated this quadrennial process over the course of decades and the longer it continues the greater the hardening of the resistance in the IOC. So how can we break the cycle? Could it mean continuing all the remarkable and innovative programs underway in Squash that are listed in the article while at the same time not excluding long term initiatives? These would depend on recruiting modern science to exponentially communicating the subtleties of the game? It would culminate in real economic and political power!

    Now you have the resources and the clout to take on the IOC even with legal recourse, should it become necessary? However, legal recourse may not even become necessary once the game thrives because it is communicated in a much wider space than the internet. We need to break the mold.

    (1) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-does-squash-still-belong-olympics-global-sports-ferez-soli?trk=portfolio_article-card_title

    (2)http://www.carteblanchesquash.com/author/ferez-nallaseth/

    Ferez

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