[Georgia Porter | Sports Editor]
England Squash are looking to change their image. Their aim is to promote not just professional athletes and their awards and achievements, but to encourage everybody to become active in all levels of participation.
On Saturday 30th January, the Athletic Union hosted a Ladies’ Free Beginner Squash Festival in order to promote female participation in the sport and remove the intimidating atmosphere of playing against men.
Squash is a male dominated sport within the lower levels of participation. This is reflected in the AU Squash Club, which only has three active female members. As a result of this, there cannot be a women’s squash team, which can be quite demotivating for them. However, it does not crush their enjoyment of being part of the club itself and being able to train twice a week.
The festival, organised by Rebecca White: “aims to get women of all ages, both students of the University and the public, involved with squash and to find a new way to work out this year!”
Several women turned up to be coached by Gillian, an outside Level 1 coach, and her assistant to acquire the basic rules and techniques of the game. They were encouraged to leave their contact information and details of an evening they would be free to begin a six week Squash 101 course that costs just £12 for any women over the age of 16. The course is about stepping through the door and working out in a fun and friendly environment.
The exercises for all participants started off by testing their basic hand-eye coordination through games of throwing the ball at the wall and catching it. They then progressed to hitting the ball against the wall softly with a provided racquet and seeing how long they could keep the rally going. This became quite competitive!
By the end of the session, all attendees had learned how to serve, drive and the rules of a game of squash. It was amazing to see how quickly every beginner picked up the sport and how much fun they were having doing it.
If you are interested in playing squash, no matter your level, you can contact Rebecca White by popping into the AU office situated next to the Sports Village on de Havilland campus or emailing her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a free Active Students squash session every Friday from 2.15-4.30pm that you can go along to. All you will need is your student ID; equipment will be provided.
If you have an intermediate ability in the sport – perhaps you played when you were younger? – and want to rekindle your love for squash, you should come down to AU Squash and have a trial session.
The AU Squash Club train Mondays 8.30-10.30pm and Thursdays 9.00-10.30pm. It would be amazing if there could be an AU Women’s Squash Team next year!
So don’t be shy, try one of the options depending on your level and get into squash this year!