Squash Waikato’s Glenda Knox has been helping clubs and schools with Kiwi Squash programmes for the past few years and is experiencing some wonderful results. We caught up with Glenda to get her insights into getting Kiwi Squash off the ground.
Choose the right messages.
Striking skills are often underdeveloped in the majority of kids because they are rarely exposed to small ball sports at school – they often learn the big ball skills required for netball, football or rugby. One of our main messages to schools is that Kiwi Squash will support children’s all-round physical ability and development across the board, not just for squash. It’s a fundamental skills programme that can improve their eye-hand coordination and balance which prepares them for other sports too. With teachers trained and kits available they can offer it to their students whenever it suits their school, each year!
Adapt when you need to.
The Kiwi Squash programme resources are world-class but sometimes the kids or teachers / coaches are not in position to follow the lesson format. Rather than rushing them through the every part of the session for the sake of it, we make sure our coaches are tuned in and responsive to the kids and time frames we are working with, making it fun first and foremost and achievable…that’s our ultimate goal – that’s what will get them to the next stage of ‘Playing It’.
Create Community Connections.
We work with local schools who are near our squash clubs or have existing connections with teachers or parents who already play or used to play squash. This way we can ensure there is a pathway for those who want more outside of school hours. At the end of every programme we run a school tournament which brings kids, parents and teachers down to the club – this way kids can practise what they’ve learnt, play lots of games with friends and everyone is buzzing with the new squash experience!
Squash for the Community.
We use junior Kiwi Squash programmes to generate interest from parents and teachers, offering beginner adult programmes at their kiwi squash club or one off teacher nights. This positions our clubs as having a family-friendly environment, which ultimately benefits everyone in the community.
Special Term Based Offers.
We have found higher success when linking school students into clubs by offering Term Based special offers to Big Nix and Small Nix families, with timely and personal follow ups made by the clubs’ kiwi squash rep. If clubs include a kiwi squash racket and ball in the mix, it’s even easier for the parents. Families are often prepared to pay, but they are not prepared to commit to something long term when their child has just been exposed to squash for the first time. Keep it simple.
Kiwi Squash programmes are structured to push young people to experience the full extent of their ability. Their confidence grows as they experience mastering the foundation skills that will lead them to fall in love with squash. For more ideas about how your club can fuel young people’s love of squash, check out the Kiwi Squash page or follow Kiwi Squash on Facebook.