Hillingdon Squash Club is reaping the rewards of rolling out Squash Stars
Hillingdon Squash Club in Uxbridge is reaping the rewards of rolling out the Squash Stars programme from England Squash.
Coach Trevor Peynado is building a junior bedrock, integrating young players coming through the programme onto his junior pathway.
Before Squash Stars, Hillingdon’s junior section was scarce and the sessions have been instrumental in getting kids aged 5-9 through the door whilst inspiring parents to become Squash Stars leaders.
He said: “It gave us a framework in which we could approach parents and get some flyers and leaflets to the schools – something that says we’ve got a product here.
“It’s a different type of sport; it may not have the street cred among that kids that we’d love it to have so the scheme has been brilliant for us.”
Through perseverance, he has recruited parents to get involved and believes this is crucial for any squash club looking to grow their junior section.
He said: “You realise that if you get the parent to buy into this then you have a much greater chance of the junior sticking with it.
“If the junior starts to waver and the parent is not into it then you’re really going to struggle – we realised that quite early on.”
Trevor ran Hillingdon’s first Squash Stars programme in June 2022 with seven juniors on board.
He also inspired some of the parents to take part at the end of the session and have a hit on court with their child.
One of the parents, Mark O’Halloran, was so inspired that he trained to become a Squash Stars leader, and almost one year on, is now working towards his Level 2 coaching award.
And from a personal perspective, Trevor himself found the programme invaluable in growing his club’s junior section.
“I hadn’t done anything like that before. It’s quite a structured procedure but it was good fun.
The leaders training provided by England Squash was very useful, they showed us some sample sessions as part of a package which made it easier to focus on.”
He also stressed that for the programme to grow, more squash leaders need to be enrolled to keep the momentum going for the growth of junior sections.
“It’s shown that it’s possible to do something like this,” he said.
“You need more leaders though – I could do with another two and it would give me more of an opportunity to engage with parents and do more marketing.
“It’s given us a great foundation. There is a process and you have to work at it but it is possible to get juniors playing squash.
“I do want to emphasise that you need to put some effort in, the kids don’t just come flooding in.”
And if he could offer one piece of advice to any squash club looking to expand their junior section through Squash Stars, he said: “I would say just engage with the parents and carers from week one and find out what the level of interest in getting involved is.”
Inspired to deliver Squash Stars at your club/venue? Find out about delivering Squash Stars this autumn.