Tuesday, March 21, 2023

DAVID PEARSON: Leaving England Squash was like a family break-up, but I was so happy to team up with Robbo as Nick won his third world title

Three years on, David Pearson reveals all about his departure as England coach 

Interview by MIKE DALE – Squash Mad Columnist

Another big-name has joined the squashmad.com stable, and we could hardly have found a more authoritative or respected figure in the game.

David Pearson has coached an array of world champions, including the current incumbent and world No.1 Nick Matthew.

Last week, England Squash and Racketball presented David with their ‘Elite Coach of the Year’ award. It was a notable olive branch from the governing body after he left his job as England national coach in 2010.

Here, David opens up publicly for the first time about how his relationship with ESR has finally emerged from rancour towards reconciliation.

Interview by MIKE DALE

It was a nice gesture on the part of England Squash and Racketball to give me the ‘Elite Coach of the Year’ award at their conference at Lilleshall last week.

Since I left the post as England coach in 2010, there’s been an effort on both sides to make sure that we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.

It was important for Nick Matthew (pictured below) that we showed a united front at the World Championships. I wanted to sit with Chris Robertson while Nick was playing because that would benefit Nick.

After all, it is Chris who is going to be in the pilot’s seat at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Nick’s victory proved that was the right thing to do.

It was important that people saw we were there under the same umbrella and that we were all behind Nick.

Chris and I complement each other well. I act as a consultant coach for England Squash and Racketball and at PSA tournaments we often sit together so I thought at the Worlds it should be the same.

We are both big on the two “T’s” if you like. Me on the Technical side and Chris on the Tactical. It is always good to pick his brains. This worked like a dream at the Worlds.

Through all the years I had been National Coach, the England Squash and Racketball T-shirt had been like a second skin to me.

I hadn’t worn one since I had left but this was absolutely the right time to don one again and I was proud to do so.

There were people from Sport England there in Manchester and the last impression we wanted to give them was of an ex-national coach, who is still coaching some of their best players, sat apart and separate from the governing body.

The funders support the elite squash programme brilliantly and I thought it was about time to make sure people recognised we’re all on the same page. I’m not fighting the association.

I was national coach for 15 years and you get so entwined with people that when it ends it’s like the break-up of a family, and that takes a bit of time to get over. But I’m over that now.

It’s good that everyone works together as the athletes are the most important people after all.

I remember something Alex Cowie, the women’s national coach at the time, said to me when I first started. She’d been there 12 years and she said to me, ‘Whatever you do, make sure you get out after 12 years.’ At the end of my 15 years I remember thinking, ‘She was right. That was three years too long!’

But I always said to myself when I was national coach that I don’t want to be like a lot of other ex-national coaches, all bitter and twisted. It’s a hard job with so much politics.

There’s no ill feeling now, really. It’s time to move on.

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1 Comment

  1. ” Reveals ALL” ? I don’t think so !! In fact this reveals very little, other than mutual respect with Chris Robertson, who was with Squash Wales at the time of DP’s departure and had absolutely nothing to do with his leaving. There are only a small handful of players who benefit from DP’s unquestionable expertise among the top English Professionals, so the overwhelming question is “WHY ?”

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