Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Squash is Dying in the US! Oh Wait, No It's Not....

From time to time there erupts on the squash scene much ado from doom-and-gloomers who are convinced that squash is dying a slow death in the US. They point to court closings (an unassailable fact in cities, alas) and bemoan the old days when clubs abounded. Their conclusion: the sport is doomed.

But my own experience argues against that. I see a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of players. 

So I was interested when the PST's e-zine noted that the Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association had found a significant uptick in squash participation.

This was a professional, accurate analysis, with a total of 38,172 completed surveys. They found more than 1.1 million US residents had played squash during the previous year (2011), with about 400,000 of these being more frequent, 'core' participants. Most -- 64% -- of these core squashists fell between the ages of 25 to 44, putting a lie to those who say the sport falls off after college. 

The findings show a nearly 40% jump in some squash participation between 2009 and 2011, demonstrating that increasing numbers of folks out there are interested and giving squash a try.

Which is an important point: Whenever I meet someone interested in trying out the game, I always get them on the court and give them an introductory lesson. I make it a point to use the easier beginner balls, and anyone who is a true squashist should do the same: get them out on the court and have a few beginner balls handy. 

The true squashist is a squash evangelist who not only loves the game but makes it a point to transfer his or her own enthusiasm for the game to others.

So get out there and play. And no, chicken littles, the sky is not falling....


  1. I'm all for growing squash and staying positive about more people playing, but don't believe everything you see on the PST website.

  2. The survey of squash participation was not done by PST, it was done by a respected company that does work for the USOC. PST only reported it. And without going back and forth between the naysayers and the yeasayers, i viewed the results positively. All those people trying squash for the first time can only be a good thing; surely some will pick it up having tried. The fact that there is such a spike in first-time players may seem unbelievable but the sample size was large enough to make a believer out of me (I initially viewed these results with a big hunk of suspicion). And why would so many people try the game? Well, my feeling is the level of enthusiasm is high enough among squash players that others have taken notice -- and there have been a few national stories about squash this past year or so that have raised the sport's profile.

    So I'm convinced the numbers in this report reflect reality. Some may be troubled by the fact that all those people tried squash and then played a scant few times during the year; I'm happy with the fact that they tried the sport! Surely some of those are now dedicated squash converts. With luck, the rest will find our religion soon....


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....