Squash News From Around The World - Serious Squash



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If you follow the Serious Squash posts closely you'll know I just published a children's book last week. Five years ago I wrote a much different type of document as part of my master's degree and if you are reading this and find it interesting you are also very serious about your squash. My final comprehensive project was a lot of work and took many months to edit. My masters degree was in the education field with a specialization in Coaching Studies.

It was quite difficult finding research on squash and I had to transfer some research from other racquet sports. I even emailed back and forth with Roger Flynn who is the only person I could find that has published any literature on decision-making for squash. The title of my project is a mouthful and then some; Advanced Decision-Making Training From the Amber Zone of the Squash Court: A Guide for Coaching Professional Squash Players (cover page below).



My paper is 98 paper in length. The chapters literature I review includes: the nature and demands of squash, motor learning, information processing, reaction time, anticipation, time pressure, postural cues, situational and strategic shot selection, decision-making and optimal practice structuring (as seen below). I also have a method section which includes a proposed shot notation analysis for an app that could provide real time feedback for players plus a section on decision-making drills and progressions. 




Considering how much work I put into my paper and how few research papers are out there on squash, and in particular in the decision-making area I've decided to make electronic copies available for purchase at https://serioussquashshop.com/collections/masters-project

Beginning of the Introduction







Today is going to be a 1 off where squash does not come up and have anything to do with the post. Over the past year and a half I've started playing guitar and writing songs. I recently wrote a children's song called Mr. Rooster and I hired a company do an animated music video for it which I directed. I also had someone help me design a book based on the song. Here is a look at the books cover page.


The song is about a boy who is woken up early in the morning by Mr. Rooster and he goes around the farm as a detective to find out which animal was responsible for waking him up. He encounters many animals along his journey. This is a video and book for young kids/toddlers. So if you have 1 or know someone who does feel free to share the video and purchase a copy of the book.

Here's a link to the music video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/fihDpNkWlQo

The book is available for purchase on Amazon in print and kindle here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1731309562/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1542311975&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=mr.+rooster

I'll be back with plenty of more squash posts soon!








When I was a child I was told to always hit off my front leg. I hated doing this from the front right as I wasn't very strong or comfortable hitting off my left leg moving forwards. Eventually with enough practice I got comfortable playing off of both legs from everywhere on the court. In the middle of a match you shouldn't be focusing on which foot you're playing off of, but in a controlled practice setting you should intentionally practice hitting off of both legs from either side of the court. Obviously there are certain shots and specific areas which will require more open stance shots.


The problem most people have playing open stance is the they are unable to maintain their balance and get any power on their shot. If you are under a lot of pressure moving backwards and playing off your back leg you have to focus on opening the racquet face and lifting the ball. If you try and drive the ball when you're weight is shifted solely on your back foot you will have trouble with your accuracy. On the other hand if you are in a strong posture you should still be able to drive the ball with a decent amount of pace off of your back leg.


I've seen than video clip of Greg Gaultier ghosting to all areas of the court on 1 leg and then again with the other leg. He knows at that level he must be entirely comfortable playing off either leg from anywhere on the court. I've been guilty of using my dominant leg too much and during the course of a hard match or tournament and an entire season it begins to break down and fatigue and it can lead to issues either chronic or acute injuries in your hips, knees and back.




In a lot of my lessons I start off by warming up the pupil with intentionally having them play drives off of both legs to ensure they slowly but surely get more comfortable playing off of either leg on both sides. Here's a rally from last week where I played every shot open stance. And the next time you watch a PSA match look how often they do this. It might surprise you.



If you want to improve your court movement check out The Advanced Secrets Of Solo Hitting (and Movement). It's available for just $5 and comes with a no questions asked money back guarantee. Also try and do some solo hitting off of both legs on each side so you become more comfortable with the transfer of energy/timing of these swings. If you want to check out the instructional film you can find it here: SeriousSquashShop.com/collections/coaching-videos

Here's the trailer for the solo hitting and footwork combo Serious Squash film





I first met Mike Way when I was a young junior in Toronto. He’s worked with Canadian squash legend Jonathon Power and has been the head coach at Harvard for a number of years now. I asked Mike if he could watch the Serious Squash film, The Secrets Of Solo Hitting and provide a review to help me promote it. It was my first film (of 3 so far) and it contains 30 solo drills along with some instruction. 

Pick up a copy of the film at SeriousSquashShop.com/collections/coaching-videos











Last night at practice we talked about the state of flow, also referred to as being in the zone. In this state is where we will play our best squash where our shots seem to be spot on and we seem to thoughtlessly make smart decisions. But sometimes no matter what we do we just don't find our best squash and this zone where we play our best squash in. I notice that a lot of players play below their standard when they perceive themselves to be in a big and meaningful match. Even at the pro level many of the top players preform below their standard level of play when it finally counts. I believe the cause of this is players getting out of their ideal state of play often because they try too hard and so badly want to perform well. So how exactly can you increase your chances of finding this flow state regardless of who and where you're playing? Here are some of the ideas we talked about last night plus a few others.

Prematch Routine - often when we walk on court we already have a mindset which will foster or inhibit the odds of playing within this zone. If we are having destructive poisonous thoughts like 'this person is too good' or 'this will be easy' or if we are simply not feeling like playing a tough match we are inbox trouble. Having a routine to prepare yourself mentally before you even step out on court can prepare your mind as much as your body for playing it's best possible game of squash. Our physical skills don't deteriorate from day to day, it's our mindset, our emotions, our motivation and our energy levels which fluctuate.

Between Rally Routines - what we do and say to ourselves to get back on track to help regulate our thoughts and emotions between rallies is so important. Often we will have thoughts about what we could have done better or how upset we are for a call or missing a shot. We can easily get caught in the past and play a poor next point. If we're doing this we will not be playing in the present or the zone. Saying something positive and simple like 'focus' or 'win this point' can help you play the next point at your highest standard.

Simple Tactics - either before a match, between rallies or between games we may need a reminder of a simple tactic that enables us to play our best, most effective style of squash. If we are playing 'mindless squash' and not how we want, a little reminder can go a long ways to bringing you back into your best squash which can also enable you to get into a state of flow. For some reason it's easier to get into a state of flow when we are winning more points than we are losing.

Play More Of The Shots That Are Working That Day (tactics part 2): I don't know why we constantly like to point out what we or others are doing wrong, but that doesn't normally help people play in the zone. Your opponent, the court, ball and various other conditions vary from day to day and some days certain shots are going to work better than others. On those special days everything is working and that's when squash is the most fun. But if something is off, instead of getting upset and continually making the same mistake perhaps abandoning that shot for awhile and playing more of the shots that are on that day will help you find this zone. Once you establish this zone there is a better chance that some of your other shots will begin to fall into place.


Our notes from discussing the zone at the start of practice

Focus on the Process - this is something I am a big believer of. There is theoretically no reason you cannot experience the zone if you are losing. That being said most people get so caught up in winning that they lose the zone as soon as they lose a few points in a row. This is where a routine between rallies, maybe a longer more pronounced one can help get you mentally back on track, or simply stay on track. You may be doing everything right, but this doesn't always mean instant short term gratification. When I'm playing I only give feedback to myself on shot selection and not execution because if I lose playing the right shots I simply need to improve my shots, but if I am losing playing the wrong shots I'm holding myself back. The acronym I refer to with the kids I coach is KISS, keep it simple stupid. 

Self Regulation - part of routines are being able to recognize when you're outside of your zone. Thinking of your zone as a range can be helpful. I also like to think of this as a plant. When destructive, poisonous thoughts enter our minds it is easiest to get rid of them when they are new, before they have rooted. Once we have focused on these for a longer period of time they will have take root and become too big to simply remove with a cue word/power phrase. 

The Bigger The Challenge the Greater The Opportunity - when are backs are up against the wall we often reveal our true character. When we are winning and everything is going according to plan it's easy to be a good sport and play well. When things aren't going our way we can either cave and not give our best effort or we can look at this as a chance to show what we are made of; a great challenge that we are up for. With this type of mindset we can still play the next point focused and with great effort regardless of what's happened previously. 

Superstitions - this is an odd one, but I really believe that superstitions can be helpful in sport. At the World Juniors this summer we had a boy on our team who would change his preserve routine every time he lost a ray, but if he won the point he would stick with it. Sometimes something so simple can help keep the mind out of the way from over thinking.

Pretend to Play Like A Top Player -  whenever I step out on court after watching one of my favourite pro players I always play better. Someone without knowing exactly what I'm mimicking, I normally play better, with more confidence when I pretend to hit the ball, move and play like a top player. I think a lot of this has to do with the confidence top players display with the way they play and strike the ball. If you play pretending to be Paul Coll it's amazing how much harder you try to get every single ball back! When I play and pretend to be like Greg Gaultier I start playing much more patient and my spacing between the ball always improves. 



Match Preparation/Confidence - If you are playing a tournament and you didn't train properly for it you're going to suffer physically at some point and this in of itself can keep you from being in the zone. If we go into an event prepared and feeling good about our game there is a far greater chance of playing our best squash and experiencing this state of flow. 

Do you have any other ways that have helped you enter the zone when you weren't at first feeling it? I love this side of squash. It's really fascinating to me and when I play it isn't always the same thing that gets me into the zone. Sometimes it's about shaking off mistakes quickly, other times it's about playing a simple game, while others it's about just playing whatever shots feel right and another time it may be singing a tune in my head. There A routine can definitely assist you with this process as this is what most pro players have developed over the years. Many will include some imagery in their prematch routine to see themselves playing well and being successful prior to event stepping on court. 

Most of us will also play better squash when we are having fun as opposed to being too serious or hard on ourselves. Learning how to laugh off mistakes and not take the so personally can help you be more relaxed and enjoy your squash which can assist with the state of flow. Get your mind and ego out of the way and just play!

Follow Serous Squash on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook for themes regular posts. Check out the online store at SeriousSquashShop.com where you can find a variety or merch and 3 instructional films. 





The great thing about having a blog is you can share your views and opinions on a variety of things. There's no filter or boss I have to be cautious about saying something I should not. I always try and be very open about my opinions, whether they are correct or not is sometimes open for debate.

Today is an opportunity to do a bit of complaining, so if that's not what you are interested in hearing you're welcome to read no further. This particular topic is about the point system that the Coaching Association of Canada has put into place to maintain your certification.

I don't know about other coaches, but having to show that we are continually committing to do coursework to maintain our certification is not going to make us better coaches, plain and simple. I did a 4 year bachelors in Kinesiology, a 2 years master degree in coaching studies and I've trained as a provincial (level 3) coach. I also coach year round a large number of kids, some of whom are quite strong. I also am always posting tips and videos for Serious Squash on social media. Planning practices, doing my own training and trying to develop the best possible junior program and for some reason that isn't sufficient to show that i'm worthy of maintaining my coaching certification?

You can accumulate points for maintaining your certification by doing a variety of things like first aid courses (which I've taken at least half a dozen times) and by doing various online courses and attending clinics that have something to do with sport. I constantly read books about coaching and sport yet that doesn't collect points. So really this system is actually interfering with my already successful system of learning and work. This system will make me register for courses that I have no interest in. They will also cost money and take the away from my job.

I feel a bit better after getting some of this out. Clearly this certification maintenance program wasn't developed by a coach. If you want to be a good coach you will be, not because of some system that forces you to do extra things. If I want to know something I do research or think about it and figure it out. Simply coaching and working with your athletes makes you a better coach too.

Even from squash specific technical coaching courses (1, 2 and 3) I learned just about nothing and spent a lot of time and money to complete these courses. I understand that there are people trying to justify the professionalism of coaching, but I think the Coaching Association of Canada is way off track here. Some great coaches will lose their certification while others who simply jump through the hoops which shows they do as they are told (but it doesn't meant they are actually committed coaches) will follow along because they have no other option.

That's enough of a vent. If you read this far thanks for taking the time to listen. Feel free to comment and let me know if you agree or think I'm off track.

Don't forget to follow Serious Squash on IG, FB and Youtube for lots of tips! Also check out the merch store at SeriousSquashShop.com where you can find loads of cool stuff plus 3 instructional films which can be downloaded and also come with a money back guarantee.



When you work with a wide range or age groups it's difficult to have them all on the same training plan and to evenly track all of their progress and offer motivation for both on and off the court. So what I've created was a document where I can track each of their off court training improvements through a variety of exercises which I feel are most appropriate towards their development as an athlete and in particular a squash player. Ideally this chart will also provide motivation and goal setting for the kids too.

How the chart works is they simply get a checkmark when they've completed a certain physical skill task. The idea is to have levels that are challenging for each player so they can continually aim for incremental improvements, which over a long time can lead to a big change in an individual. It's just begun, so only time will be the judge to see how well it works. This is also the first season where the kids are expected to complete 2 off court gym sessions on their own outside of our on court training which is 4x per week.

Beep Test
8.1
9.1
10.1
10.6
11.1
11.6
12.1
12.6
13.1
13.6
14.1
14.6
15.1














Consecutive Pushups
10
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
70
80
90
100















Consecutive Skipping
50 FW
100 FW
150 FW
200 FW
250 FW
50 BW
100 BW
150 BW
200 BW










Bear Crawl with golf T on back
Width of court
Length of court
Length X2
Around entire court
Total distance with ball on top of T






Plank
1 min.
2 min.
3 min.
4 min.
5 min.
1 min. side
2 min. side
3 min side









Lunges (per leg)
30 sec. hold
60 sec. hold
90 sec. hold
2 min. hold
50 lunge forwards and back
20 lunge jumps (40 total)
30 lunge jumps (60 total)
40 lunge jumps (80 total)









Squats
10 proper squats
30 squats
50 squats
20 squat jumps
30 squats jumps
40 squat jumps
50 squat jumps
20 burpees with PU
30 burpees with PU
40 burpees with PU











Flexibility/Stretching 
Hamstring
Quads
Hips/Glutes
Calves
Shoulders
Trouble Areas?
Sufficient ROM







Nutrition? 
Proper Sleep?
Hydration?
Warm up routine?
Cool down routine?







Anything you feel I'm missing? For the record these kids are between 12 and 18 years old. The coaches have demonstrated and shown that the exercises are all done with proper techniques before adding reps and/or weight. 

Legend: PU = pushups FW = forwards BW = backwards. The golf tee is a plastic driving range one that has a round bottom. You can also use a plastic cup or empty yogurt container.

When I was a kid we had some equipment in our basement, but I didn't know what I was doing or how much to do of something. I had no program or guidance on technique for exercises. It's impossible to play squash at a top level without strong glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings and of course core. The past 3 years since a minor knee surgery I've been steadily going to the gym and working with some great trainers and I feel more stable on court than I did when I was competing.  Here are a few of the pics from some of the various exercises we've done. It's always tailored to squash. You can find a lot more of them on the Serious Squash Instagram page.















Follow Serious Squash on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook for the most regular posts. Also check out the online shop, SeriousSquashShop.com for all the instructional videos and merch. I'm hoping to be adding a signature racquet to the shop in the next few months! 



Sep 13 2018 8:59AM

Building A Winning Routine


Routines are in mind essential towards long term goals. Most of what we do on a daily basis is done by habit and without much thought. Habits about what you do and how you do it can go a long way towards dramatically improving your ability to do something. Squash encompasses so much to play at the highest level, from the technical skill, shot selection, all the physical fitness component endured, the metal game, nutrition and so on. If you really want to be great it takes a lot of persistence over a sustained period of time. How do you maintain your motivation and obsessive habits over a long period of time? Well you can either absolutely love squash and/or you can build good habits and put them into your day to day activities.

Here's a little 1 page sheet I wrote for the school I work at. It's posted to be understood by kids of all ages and levels so some of it is vague. Intrinsic motivation and making kids aware of how little actions (on and off the court) can build up into something special was my motivation for writing this document.

Building A Winning Routine

  1. Ask yourself what can you do each day to become better???

  2. There's a LOT you can do off court to improve your squash game. Here are some examples
    • strength training (specifically core, quads, hamstrings and calfs).
    • Mobility exercises (to improve your range of motion, this could include yoga, rolling and stretching along with simple exercises like lunges and squats). 
    • Make healthy food choices and avoid sugary drinks. 
    • Get a good night's rest ( > 8 hours) and make time for short naps. 
    • Rest is an important part of an training program. Listen to your body and when it's saying it needs a break, take it. 
    • Playing other sports is excellent for cross training!
    • Set goals. Use short to long term goal setting to help you with motivation and to monitor your progress. If you don't know what SMART goals is, google it!
    • Watch pro squash players on youtube or SquashTV. This is the reason the quality of squash has improved so much in the past 10-15 years. Watch and learn from the best. 
    • Watch video of yourself playing. 
    • Make a weekly plan for during the season and the offseason. This way you can be sure to get sufficient time in for solo practice, matches, strength, aerobic training, etc.
    • Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something or get somewhere. Use any critics as extra fuel for your fire. 
    • Don't be shy asking good players to play or for tips. The same goes for the coaches. 

  3. On court we have to have the basics down (grip, footwork, wrist and swing motion, etc). We also have to work on all the different shots. Here's a list of some of the most common shots. 
    • Straight drive (attacking, rallying and defensive).
    • Crosscourt drive (attacking, rallying or lob).
    • Boast (2, 3 or backwall boast).
    • Drop shot (on the bounce or volley, straight or crosscourt, attacking or counter drops).
    • Kill shot (straight or crosscourt aiming for the ball to bounce twice quickly or straight into the nick. Normally tight is better).
    • Serve.
    • Return of serve. 
    • Lobs.
    • Volleys (a critical skill!)

  4. Also try some of these more advanced and fun squash skills:
    • slicing the ball vs. hitting it flat (the very rare shot slight topspin).
    • Hitting rollout nicks (crack between any sidewall and floor).
    • Hitting down on the ball (most people hit the ball late, after the ball has started dropping). Think of the tin as a net and use the angle to hit more severely. 
    • Figure 8 volleys (google it if you don't know what they are).
    • Holding the ball (get on the ball early and pretend to hit the shot, but delay your swing). You can also fake playing 1 shot and hit another


      That's the document. It's something I'll probably tweak over time. I've been posting a lot more social media stuff than blog posts, but I'll try and keep up with both. So if you want more Serious Squash follow along on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram. Stay on the look out for details about a Serious Squash Xamsa racquet and of check out all the cool merch and instructional films at SeriousSquashShop.com






If you've been following Serious Squash on Facebook or Instagram you'll already know that I was just in India at the manager of Junior Boys National Team. The team consisted of Julien Gosset (our team captain and #1 player), James Flynn (our #2), George Crowne (our  3) and Ryan Picken was our #4. We also had 3 players from Canada participate in the individual event. Here's the link to the tournament website: https://www.wsfworldjuniors.com




Photo on a local coffee shop in Chennai


Our preliminary team seeding was 9th. Canada hasn't done too well on the international stage for a number of years so not many people expected much from our squad. Julien was the only seeded player in the individuals event seeded 13/16.

The team did almost a week of pre tournament training in Mumbai before heading to Chennai for the big event. I was also supposed to be with the team, but had some major setbacks getting my visa. Let's just say if you have to get a visa to go to India don't use the courier service and avoid the Surrey BLS office by all means necessary.






I had to get my flights changed because of the visa difficulties, so I didn't end up leaving Victoria until July 12th. I took a red eye to Toronto, had a 10 hour layover before taking a 9 hour flight to Frankfurt, a 6 hour layover there and finally a 9.5 hour flight to Chennai. Yes, I was wiped, but at least I made it.

The team arrived the day after I checked into the hotel. This was my first time in India and it was quite a culture shock. I've traveled abroad before so I wasn't too taken aback by the traffic, pollution and lack of clean drinking water. The first tuk tun ride was quite the experience where our head coach, Jonathan Hill ordered an 'Uber' which to our surprise turned out to be a yellow tuk tuk (pictured below). They were a cheap and quick reliable source of transportation, if the driver knew where you wanted to go.


When we first arrived at the courts to practice the outside temperature was almost 40 degree celsius. And there was no air conditioning in the club! Wow that was a tough first day on court. The Indian Squash Academy was really a beautiful facility though. They had 3 courts at the front of the club, a 4 wall glass show court around the back with another 4 newer glass back courts. I wish we had something like this in Canada.

After a few days of practice and getting adjusted to the hot and bouncy courts the tournament was about to begin. Luckily for our guys the air conditioning did kick in and the temperature was not much of a factor the rest of the way. The morning of our first matches in invidious we had a player wake up ill and was quite sick, Somehow he went on to win 2 matches that day and must have hid it just well enough from his opponents. Even more surprisingly was that this was some of the best squash he would play all event.


The individual draw was 128 for the boys. All of our 4 boys won their first 2 matches on day 1. Having 4 Canadians into the round of 32 was a big deal. The next day Julien, George and James all won again while Ryan lost to a 3/4 seed form Egypt in a close 3; with a weak ref and some fishing and blocking by his opponent. On to day 3 of the event and we had 3 Canadians into the final 16. This was big news in Canada and throughout the event.


In the round of 16 Julien lost 11-9 in the fifth on his first match on the glass court to another top Egyptian seed while James lost to the Mexican #1 and top 90 PSA player in a tight 4 games. George I feel played the match of the tournament against the top seed and defending champion Marwan Tarek (pictured below) and lost in 4 on the glass court and for a moment in the fourth game I thought he looked the fresher of the 2 and had a real shot of pulling off the major upset. But Tarek showed his class and experience and pulled away in the fourth to close it out.


After such a strong showing by our boys the seeding committee took notice and it was now between Canada and England for the #2 seed heading into the team event. The vote was unanimous and we secured the second seed and were poised to have the highest ever finish for our team in history; that is if our boys could recap the performances they displayed in their individual event.

After a little break between the individual and team event we got our pool draw. We had Scotland (seeded 17) and Argentina (seeded 15) in our pool. We rested James for our first match and won dropping just a single game to Scotland. It was evident though that our boys were a bit edgy as many of them were playing on a team for the first time and representing their country and the World Championships.

On day 2 we played Argentina and George came out a bit flat and nervous and went down 0 - 2 to the Argentina #3. Obviously we were all surprised after displaying worldclass squash against Tarek. It just goes to show how pressure and focusing on the result can negatively impact your performance. Luckily though George got it together and can back to win the next 3 games quite convincingly O next was Julien who had a tough match against their #1 losing in 5. So here we are down to the final match, if we lost this match we would play Egypt in the round of 16; no pressure James! Luckily James is a big time player and played at a top 5 level of all the juniors at the event. He sealed the deal and our team all had a big sigh of relief.

The cool glass court setup in the Express Avenue Mall

I thought we were playing not too lose as opposed to playing to win. The mental game is so intriguing and really was a difference maker in many fo the closely encountered team matchups. After getting through our pool we were drawn against Australia in the round of 16, a one time powerhouse of the squash world. All the boys played much better and we won all 3 matches. Next up was the quarterfinals against the US. James had beaten their #1 in the individual event in 3 straight games and Ryan had beaten their #3 while being sick in straight games too. So even though the boys were a bit nervous because of the occasion they were confident.

This match started out with some major jitters. James who had been playing unbelievable so far went down 0 - 2 playing at the 2 position. All of the team members and coaches were a wreck with the ups and downs and mixed emotions from this match. I normally don't get nervous watching and coaching my kids play, but I most certainly was in this instance. After James won I started to relax a bit. We were up a match. Julien went on to play at the #1 position and was controlling the pace and most of the rallies. He was up 2 - 1 in games and 10-6 when he stretched for a ball int he back left corner only to slip and in that moment our whole team went into shock. After a delay of 2 or 3 sends Julien was down clutching his right hamstring in tears and we all looked at ourselves in complete shock. 'Did this really just happen?' We were all getting ready to celebrate, George was untying his shoes and Ryan about to text his friends to celebrate the occasion of a guaranteed medal and a matchup with England in the semis.

Julien came off limping and it was clear immediately that it was serious. He only had 3 minutes to recover and go back and resume play. He got his leg bandaged but could not put any weight on his leg. The plan was to go back out up 10 - 7 and just go for a nick on the 3 return of serves and if he didn't get one default the match. He did actually hit one put it popped up just enough for his opponent to retrieve it while Julien was stuck watching from where he struck the ball from.

As Julien hobbled off court George was now having to prepare to play a must win match. Meanwhile I was dealing with the physiotherapist and an in shock Julien. I had to take him to the tournament hospital for an examination. When I left it was 1 - 1 in the deciding match. I was in shock at the tournament thinking about what had just happened. I've never seen something like this take place and now here it is happening in the biggest match of our teams young squash careers.

While waiting for Julien to finish his examination at the hospital I got the message that George has lost 12 - 10 in the fourth. He obviously felt terrible about letting the team down, but none of us blamed him because the pressure and the shock of that moment likely would have gotten the better of most players in that same position.

We all got back to the tournament hotel around 10pm that night and had a team meeting and dinner. It started somber and we aired out some of our frustrations and disbeliefs. This is when Julien I think stepped up the most, he was the injured one and felt bad not only about being potentially seriously injured, but also for letting his teammates down when he was so close and sure of victory. He stepped up and said the right things to get the team refocused as we still had to compete and we were scheduled to play the reigning World Champions, Pakistan at 11am the next day on the show court at the mall.

That night most of us didn't sleep and when I did I dreamt of the nightmare that we'd just experienced. The next morning we were still in shock and now very tired. Luckily James was up first and he played pretty well, but lost a tight match to the #1 from Pakistan. Three of the games went to extra points so it really could have gone either way. We were in a hole here. One point away form a medal and now we must win the next 2 matches without our #1 player in the lineup. George was on next and did not come out sharp. It took a lot of encouraging to get him going as his confidence was fragile as he also felt like he let the team down the night prior. Thankfully Julien and Jonathan were able to get though to him between games and after dropping the first game came back to win in a scrappy 4. Now it was up to Ryan. His opponent was playing great squash and we ended up in a fifth and deciding game. Ryan got down 8 - 10 in the fifth and miraculously pulled it out 12 - 10. What a turn of events the team had gone through in such a short period of time.

Somehow we sneaked that match out and now had a chance to finish off the tournament on a high note if we could beat the tough Malaysian team. On the final day of the event James was again on first playing as our #1 now and played amazing to win in 3. Ryan was a little off this day and lost in 3. Now it was up to George. Could this be his moment to pick the team back up in a big match? His opponent was skilled and it wasn't easy but George came through with a gutsy win in 4 to give Canada a fifth place finish.


Fifth may not have been what we were expecting, but after what this team encountered in the quarterfinals it's pretty amazing that they were able to regroup and come back with 2 big victories. I think we all learned something from this event and that it really is never over until it's over and that pressure and adversity are sometimes our biggest opponents.

 
 I missed the team photo at the final banquet because I was sick :(

It was a long 3 weeks for the coaching staff! 

During the entire last week of the event I was struggling wth some sort of illness, so I cannot wait to get home, drink some tap water and sleep in my own bed. It was overall a terrific, life changing experience for the whole team and I am very proud to have been a part of something so special. A big thank you to Jonathan for choosing me to be the team manager and for all of the boys for playing so hard and representing Canada so well. Will I go back to India anytime soon? Hmm I enjoyed everything besides the sickness so probably not. I did meet a lot of great people and someone even stole 1 of my Serious Squash shirts lol. So if you happen to see someone wearing a purple Serious Squash shirt (pictured below) at your club ask if it's a medium and where they go it lol. And if there are more spelling and grammar errors in here than normal it probably has something to do with the lack of sleep I'm running on at the moment.







The campaign to #SaveTheVictoriaSquashClub started off as a last ditch effort to save the Victoria Squash Club. The club has managed to just get by for quite some time now, but there were 2 large bills upcoming that the club simply couldn't afford to pay. Stuart and his wife Sandy have put plenty of their own money into the club over the years, but that can only go on for so long. Unfortunately this year it seemed like bankruptcy was the only option.

Last week I ran a few ideas by Stuart on how I could help him drum up some money for the club so it could stay open. At first I thought about hosting a club golf tournament, but there was only a month to plan it and we had to raise $27,000. Later on I thought about this crowdfunding idea and began working on the site (GoFundMe.com/SaveTheVictoriaSquashClub).

Stuart is such a well respected and iconic coach in Canada and all around the world, so it would have been horrible to see his club close. But within 3 days of launching this campaign we had already raised more than what we had hoped for. Social media is amazing for things like this and it wasn't a tough ask for anyone who's ever met Stu.

This time last week it was looking like the club might be closing for good and now just a week later the club and the community have come together like never before. Not only have we raised over $40,000, but more importantly the spotlight has been placed on the struggles of running a privately owned squash club, even if it is led by a hall of fame coach and wonderful human being.

What's next for the club? Well we have a club survey coming out soon to try to get some feedback on how the members would like the club to operate moving forward, knowing full well that changes are imminent and necessary. We are also looking to assemble a management team/committee of devoted volunteers to help the club become a more successful business and ensure that it's a long standing staple here in Victoria. It's unbelievable how many people have reached out and offered their support above and beyond making a donation. It's because of this outpour that we are now confident that things are going to turn around for the better. How quickly things can change...

Here is a heartfelt video of Stuart thanking everyone who helped save his club. If you'd like to follow along the progress and updates to the club bookmark VictoriaSquashClub.com and follow Serious Squash on Facebook and Instagram. I'll be posting updates as we go. There's plenty of great ideas and lots of motivated people with 1 common goal, and that's to make the Victoria Squash Club thrive!





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