Accessibility, diminishing courts and finding ways to engage youth are in-tray necessities these days for squash chiefs. The same can be said for Scottish Squash’s new president, Paul Macari, who is also Cricket Scotland’s head of operations.
A new four-yearly funding cycle starts in April. And closing in on a decade on from the successful squash staging of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, challenges remain in the sport.
“There will be more focus on club and grassroots squash,” Macari said in an interview with Glasgow Times.
“There’s been a big emphasis on high performance in recent times but there’s an acknowledgement now we need to help the clubs more post-pandemic to get people playing the game again.”
Macari knows that squash takes second billing these days in the eyes of leisure operators – he noted David Lloyd and Next Generation “abandoning” squash – and admits that the sport has to do more to engage outside of big cities.
He added: “If there are towns and villages that don’t have a squash court then nobody there is going to play. It’s as simple as that.
“Scottish Squash goes into schools and can introduce kids to the concept of the game by hitting a ball against a wall. But unless you have courts it’s hard to replicate it exactly and that’s always going to be a challenge.”
He said that Scotland winning their first Commonwealth medal in 24 years with doubles bronze at Birmingham 2022 was a big moment for the sport and was buoyed by a “promising” pathway among the 16-22-year-old age group.
When are all the associations realise that the target market to make squash grow is the 25 to 40 year olds. This is the group that joins clubs and spends money there. They are the ones that will introduce their children. I am not saying trying to attract the young is not important, but they do not pay the bills. Why does one think that the likes of David Lloyd are removing squash courts from their clubs. It’s not because juniors do not play it’s because their members are not playing squash.
One has to wonder why the continued push for juniors is at the forefront? I’m sure that funding do the associations has nothing to do with it!