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Schools success in Northamptonshire

How do you engage local school and entice kids to your club? Mike Broadbent, County Chair of Northamptonshire reveals his success in creating opportunities to showcase the sport to the younger generation.

We wanted to attract more young people to squash clubs in Northamptonshire and increase awareness of squash amongst children and young people.

Building contacts

To do this, we knew we needed to start a school programme at each squash club and so began to make contacts locally to enquire about how we could get involved with local schools. We spoke to our Sport Participation Manager at Northants Sport about holding a squash event for local schools. He was particularly excited about the idea and felt it was a great opportunity to offer a sport to children who don’t necessarily gravitate to traditional team sports.

Squash festival #1

We hosted a squash festival at Daventry Squash Club for the local school as follows:

  • We had groups of ten children doing 20 minutes of activity at each station across the five courts - all based on fun.
  • We put on an exhibition match with two of our top junior players and got the school children revved up cheering for their favourite player. It was absolutely deafening and they all enjoyed cheering their player on!
  • We gave out information about our junior sessions at the club, and spoke to the teachers about putting posters up at the schools.

We were obviously very hopeful that we’d pick up a handful of new starters at Saturday coaching. In reality, we got no one.

Squash festival #2

It was disappointing to see no new starters but I knew that just one event wouldn’t be enough, so we did it again in October. We used the same format, but this time with seventy children in two sessions through the afternoon - it was exhausting! But so worth it, and this time we did start to see some new faces at our junior coaching sessions.


The juniors club now has about 15 regulars which is OK considering we only restarted junior coaching at Daventry Squash Club in February last year. Some of those kids are also playing in the Grand Prix series – so it’s safe to say that they’re now established members of the squash community. The Saturday coaching sessions now have a momentum of their own.

Another success from this approach is that one primary school enjoyed themselves so much they have started to use the facility independently, taking 32 children at a time to use the courts. It’s perfect as this gets the club used on weekday afternoons when it’s normally lying dormant. I also gave the teachers the Junior 101 resource cards from England Squash and they got on with it.

County-wide initiative

We’ve been able to roll this project out in new areas of the county. In Northampton, I spoke to the local primary school with a view to doing something similar linked to Lings Squash Club. This has worked out really nicely: the format of the event is the same but for a group of 15 children. Since the middle of January, the same group have been on court every Monday for 90 minutes. This session is supervised by one of the club’s older juniors who supports the teachers, does a bit of coaching and gets them all fired up! Some of the kids attend the Saturday junior session at Lings, swelling our junior ranks further - we now have around 35/40 kids on the books.

Looking forward, I now have the names of all the School Sports Participation Managers in Northamptonshire, and we can start to put together similar programmes throughout the county.

Contact Mike

Have you been inspired by Mike's story? For further tips and advice, email