We know that members come and go, but if the players from the squash boom of the 70’s and 80’s all gave up the sport at the same time, with no younger players coming through to take their place, would our sport survive?
Squash has gone from being one of the most popular participation sports in the country to a sport that has experienced a lack of growth for a number of years. Look around the New Zealand squash landscape and you will notice clubs struggling to keep the courts used with budget facilities, gyms, fitness apps, exercise-gaming and other new innovations coming out every week.
If you want to work out how long your club has left to survive, find out the average age of the members in your club. Check your membership figures over the past 10 years. Is there a trend? Once you have this information you can apply the most likely age when senior members will finally give up playing squash (research indicates that the decline in graded members starts from the late 40’s). If your club is not bringing in new members to replace those who are leaving then you have a good idea how long your club has left.
As a sport squash has missed two or more generations of junior players and we are now playing catch-up. The good news is that there are a number of successful clubs around the country that we can all learn from. These clubs regularly offer quality junior Kiwi Squash programmes with activities young people enjoy doing and are constantly investing in their coaches to keep the courts packed – both of which are keeping new members coming through the door.
Young people like to have fun, make friends, be active and learn new skills. The Kiwi Squash programme offers all of these and was created to help your club to offer world-class experiences for young people.
Coaches bring more people into the sport, increases their enjoyment and makes then more likely to stay involved. Your Districts’ CoachForce facilitator can travel to your club to offer 2-3 hour long coach development modules in the evenings or weekends to make running the programme easier.