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Squash Girls Can: Club Success Stories

Ginny Lee, a coach at Leamington Squash Club shares her tips and experience for staging a successful female-only event.

In 2018, the team at Leamington Squash Club attracted 60 women during a Women's Squash Week event. Ginny, a coach at the club and one of the event organisers shares her ideas for making your female-only events a success.

Make invitations personal

Aside from posting the event on social media, talk to women in your club and the wives and daughters of male members. Speak to them or message them personally and convince them to join in. Get to know them so they feel comfortable and at ease about attending. Ask them to bring a friend to make them feel more comfortable. Word of mouth through other friends and/or family will be more successful in engaging people to come to the event than just seeing posters and social media.

Make your event inclusive and fun

Invite people from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds and abilities to make sure everyone feels welcome. In the lead-up to a big event, organise a few taster sessions inviting family, friends and colleagues so newcomers feel more comfortable coming to a bigger event. It also allows you to build a database of participants to invite. Graded 'frantic team squash' is great to keep everyone engaged and there is less pressure and anxiety as team scores are added at the end. Have some prizes at the end to add to the celebration, and organise food and drink so there is an opportunity to mix and socialise.

Plan it well

Get your event advertised early so people can put it in the diary. Get enough helpful and reliable volunteers for organising the event in the lead-up and on the day. Use your database of past attendees to promote it with their friends and message other clubs to alert their female team members. On the day, make sure you and the volunteers know the plan so everything runs smoothly; a well organised, inclusive and fun event will attract females to come back again and they will spread the word. This Girl Can / Squash Girls Can sponsorship is relatively easy to solicit and event t-shirts are perfect for advertising and create a sense of unity during the event.

Include social time

It is important to have time to socialise with food and drink at the end of the session. This adds to the occasion and provides time to build friendships and grow networks. Most importantly, it adds to the fun and brings people back for more. If it is for a bigger event, a small fee or sponsor may cover the costs of a cold buffet. For smaller events, ask people to bring food to the event to share.

Make it easy to commit

Choose dates carefully that don’t clash with other events, school holidays or working times. We have a once-a-month event for females at our club and their friends and family that takes place on a Saturday afternoon. As it is only once a month, it is easy to commit to and something to look forward to. Most will want to play more and when they feel confident will join our mixed weekly club sessions.

Looking to promote your female-only sessions? For social media graphics, a promo video and venue poster, visit the Squash Girls Can Toolkit and Women's Squash Week toolkit.