Thursday, February 22, 2024

Yorkshire coaches lead racketball boom

Racketball playing numbers will overtake squash within five years, predicts coach Nick Bond 
By MIKE DALE, Squash Mad Reporter

Peter and Nick ready for racketball
Peter (left) and Nick ready for racketball

A new series of racketball events is offering players video footage of their matches captured using GoPro HD video technology.

The Yorkshire Racketball Series will feature six tournaments at different venues around the county in 2015, each with graded men’s and women’s events, with all results contributing to an overall points leaderboard.

On each event weekend there will be on-site massage, physiotherapy, reflexology and acupuncture, plus matches streamed live via a laptop on to a big screen in the bar area.

Games will be filmed via a state-of-the-art GoPro camera attached to the back wall of each court, with players able to buy and take home footage of their own matches downloaded on to a USB stick.

maryannvanblerkThe venture is the brainchild of Peter Edwards and Nick Bond, both ESR-qualified coaches at Chapel Allerton Squash Club in Leeds, and fellow racketball enthusiast and club member Maryann van Blerk (right).

Their intention is to expand the format into squash and eventually beyond Yorkshire’s borders.

Edwards, who has organised tournaments and coached at Chapel Allerton for 27 years, commented: “Developing racketball across the age demographics and different levels of play, and making the game fun, competitive and recognised as a serious sport has been a passion of mine for many years.

“We’ve got a good reputation at Chapel Allerton for organising tournaments so I wanted to combine that with our enthusiasm for racketball to give players an all-round experience and help grow the game.”

petenickrbCo-founder Bond (right) added: “I’ve been to several badly organised racketball tournaments where there’s a lack of information and I’ve been waiting around for ages to play. We want to firstly rectify that but also give players extra value too.

“The HD video footage allows players to go home and study their own technique and movement patterns, which is a very useful tool in improving their results.”

Anecdotal evidence on the balance of participation between squash and racketball in the UK varies widely. The larger, bouncier ball is virtually persona non grata at some clubs but racketball dominates at others; elsewhere there’s a 50/50 split.

Bond, who is a UK top-10 ranked racketball player, Yorkshire League squash player and LTA tennis coach, reckons racketball’s rise is inexorable.

“I predict that within five years racketball participation in the UK will rise above squash.

“There’s big potential there and this new series will capture that and help grow the game in a way that hasn’t been attempted before.”

The first event of six is at Chapel Allerton on January 31, with subsequent tournaments at Huddersfield, Barnsley, Harlow Hill, Ilkley and Harrogate.

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