When I was a kid I grew up playing squash at a recreation centre with my family. A membership for kids were dirt cheap and you could play all you wanted. You better believe that I got my money's worth! Squash only got expensive when I began competing in competitions all over North America. Once you begin competing in tournaments outside of your hometown you obviously are playing for more than just fun. You want to win and this is where you end up taking lessons, attending clinics and squash camps.
I still believe squash can be played cheap at public courts and kids can still progress with little funding. But there is not doubt that kids with access to more resources (court time, coaching, etc) have a big advantage. The main expenses of getting started is a membership and equipment and then of course if you want to learn how to do stuff properly, professional coaching. If we want squash to continue to expand outside of private schools and fancy country clubs we all have to make it more accessible. If we become more inclusive we may find some kids with talent and passion for the game and will practice for reasons other than hoping to play on an Ivy League team. We all see how well Urban squash programs are doing in the U.S., but not every city or coach can participate in a program like this. This is something I hope to change.
My idea is for every coach and squash club to give a free junior membership and 2 free lessons per month to 1 underprivileged youth per year. Potentially a racquet supplier would get involved and be a title sponsor and would provide the chosen children free equipment.
That's the extent of my ideas so far. I don't know how many squash coaches or clubs there are in the world, but if all of us joined forces we could make a big impact on a lot of children and get more kids into squash. We could also make squash more accessible to people that wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to be a member at a club, own equipment and have access to regular professional coaching.
How to get it launched and get other coaches on board will be the challenge. Plus, if it got to that stage determining how kids or parents apply and deciding which child is accepted into the program. This could prove to be quite a challenge and I would need some help from a committed group of people to get this project off and running. If you have any opinions or are interested in joining me on getting this program off the ground please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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