Twenty-one junior squash players took over the courts at the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex from March 9 to 12. Fifteen girls and six boys, ranging in age from 8 to 17 and from novice to national standard practiced, competed, and made lasting friendships over the four days of the camp.
The group of happy squashers were put through their paces by Graeme Williams, the National Women’s Team coach, and head squash pro at the Windsor Squash and Fitness club. Graeme was completely at ease with such a diverse group of players. The key, he said, is to “let them play squash”.
The main aim of the camp was to leave each player with some simple concepts that are applicable to of all ages and abilities. By taking them away and continually working on them, learning and improvement will be accelerated.
“The camp was a very rewarding experience for me as a coach and seeing the passion and love for the game being passed from the older players to the newer players is something very special which needs to be built on.”
Playing like a champion.
The idea behind this slogan was to encourage and challenge everyone to start thinking like a champion. Practice with the attention of a champion, react to challenges like a champion, ask questions like a champion, prepare like a champion and so on. By continuing with this and using it in all squash practices will lead to raising standards and develop confidence.
Developing racket head awareness.
Becoming aware that it is the racket which tells the ball what to do. If a shot is not executed as a player wishes then the issue is with what the racket did. Grip, body, movement and space can all have an effect on the racket, but by developing awareness, and focusing attention onto the racket, we can keep it simple. Preparation should allow the racket to do a variety of things and allow for an easy access of the required impact. The follow through then needs to be in the direction of the shot and players need to stay in this phase until complete.
“I look forward to seeing the players develop further and increase their skills. I hope to get the opportunity to work with them again in the future.”
Off Court Training
Each day Graeme was joined by Christo Bilukidi from CANI Athletics who drilled the players with off-court fitness. For this portion of the day the camp was divided by age into two groups. Each group had 45 minutes with Christo who worked with these smaller groups in age appropriate drills. The players were introduced to the importance of off-court training for speed, agility and most importantly injury prevention.
Fueling the Body
A hot lunch was provided every day of the camp by Select Real Estate Group. The players enjoyed morning and afternoon snacks and fresh fruit throughout the day. The meal included fresh cut veggies and a hot entrée of:
Homemade Mac and Cheese
Shredded Chicken Burritos
Cheeseburger Tater-Tot casserole
Vegetarian was provided for players with dietary restrictions
Squash Community Involvement
Events such as this camp can only be a success with the dedication and support of the larger squash community.
With this event we received financial support from eight donors. In addition we had sixteen players join us in the Battle of the Courts fund-raiser which concluded with a 11 point demo game between Dom Wren and Graeme. A number fo the group then retired to the Royal Oak for refreshments and lively conversations.
Through their generous participation in this camp we were able to offer this unique four day event to the GU13 cohort without any financial barrier to their introduction to the sport.