Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Rise, Fall and Future Of Squash: A documentary by Daniel Gothard

I learned a lot about the game from interviews with stars and key squash figures
By DANIEL GOTHARD (Squash Mad Correspondent)

I am Daniel Gothard, a Sports Journalism student at the University of Northampton. I have recently finished my final University project, a mini-TV documentary about the changes to squash over the last 40 years.

Squash is a sport that I grew up playing, but slowly forgot about as I got older. Rediscovering my interest in the sport during University prompted me to investigate how the game has changed since my dad started playing.

In addition to comparing the past to the present, I wanted to find out how participation could be improved going forward. So, the three sections of the documentary were clear: past, present, and future.

I wanted to get opinions from across the industry, from professional players and coaches to the more casual players and those who follow the sport.

The first port of call was the Manchester Open, and I went to the tournament to interview the current women’s World #6 and England #1 Sarah-Jane Perry and former men’s world #1 James Willstrop.

The two interviews gave me a good insight into the professional game and both players gave their opinions on what could be done in the future to increase participation.

I also had two Zoom calls with national coach David Campion and Squash Mad’s own Alan Thatcher, who offered opinions based on a lifetime of involvement in the game and having seen the many changes down the decades.

Finally, I interviewed my dad and my brother, both squash players who had very different levels of participation growing up. This made for an interesting comparison.

I learnt a lot while filming and editing this documentary, especially the news that padel and pickleball are two sports that are growing hugely, whereas squash participation has declined steadily in recent years.

The Commonwealth Games will take place in Birmingham this summer. Everyone I spoke to in the professional industry agreed that the Games are crucial for promoting the sport at a casual level and the large TV audiences must be taken advantage of.

I had a lot of fun during this project, and I hope to continue my career in squash working for the PSA and doing what I can to promote the sport outside of it.

You can find my documentary on YouTube here:


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