9. Tours, Travel and Tournaments!
Squash opens the door to many exciting destinations and experiences
Playing in tournaments is tough and even tougher when heading outside of the country. Internationally the juniors just seem to have so much more time for squash as they don’t have the added after-school schedule and mainly focus on one sport.
The approach of later specialization has been debated for many decades and the multi sport philosophy seems to win every time, but trying to get juniors competitive on the world tour is a challenge and we have not accomplished that yet.
Touring and playing a variety of opponents help players to build up experience. Every centre, every city and every opponent has something different to offer and most players thrive by competing in different circumstances. Planning and preparing for each event also builds up the player and lifts them to a higher level.
The World of Squash coaches have made a change in their approach to tournaments and decided to travel with teams to specific events through the year. This decision has already had a positive spin off as players enjoy the uninterrupted attention of the coaches while they compete and the coaches enjoy the progress and development of the players.
Besides the positives of going to new places and playing in the tournament, meeting new people and seeing different cultures is also a spin off of travelling. Not all destinations are affordable, but many destinations are favourable to the Rand and also host good tournaments. A number of top performing juniors are starting the trend of choosing an annual trip which includes squash training and a tournament on route to their ski-ing or beach holidays. A great idea to improve their squash and get exposed to top level squash.
Tournaments are to be embraced as a challenge to see how well the player fares up against the opponents in the draw. Too often tournaments are seen as hurdles or obstacles and avoided, which is short sighted as the benefits are huge and the experiences gained invaluable to the development of a player. The advantage of travelling long distances to a tournament is that all the opponents are unknown and a player can relax and just play their best without the worries of ranking positions etc.
All the advantages of tours, travel and tournaments makes it a good investment into a juniors squash career and is encouraged at all ages!