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Importance of Squash atmosphere at a club

By: Peter Ziegler

I started to play in Vienna, Austria, during my studies after (high)school. Think that was like in 1995, I was 22 years old. I started in the oldest Squash Club in Vienna, which had the most skilled players in the city. The owner was the former Austria.s number one player, long long time ago. The Club already existed over 20 years when I started to play. The owner then started to play Golf, got addicted, and extended the Squash Club also with some Indoor Golf courts. This info I just got from his web page: http://www.club19.at The owners name is Hans-Wolf Selden. He gave me a very good start, with lessons and tips. He organized players of same level into groups and gave them few times a week 2 courts to play. That was great. Further he organized every month a Club Tournament, with a summer brake. There was also a Christmas tournament and like two privately sponsored tournament every year by the members. The atmosphere in that Club is what made Squash so pleasant for me. Further there was a yearly Club ranking, where people could freely challenge each other to climb up the ladder. The best players of the Club went to play in the city and national championship. The Club also hosted Tournaments between Clubs in Vienna.

Then, I went to Chicago for one year in 1996-1997. I got very lucky; I had a fitness center with Squash courts right next door. So I went there to play Squash like 5 times a week. Unfortunately there were very few players, and none of them had more skills then me. So I got stuck, because I had nobody to learn from. Also there were no Tournaments or any other Club activities.

Back in Vienna I kept playing, but not that much anymore, getting stuck on my level. I was one of the best in the group of people with my level, but not good enough to play with the next level players. I felt like being trapped in a grey zone, not making the progress to the next level.

In 2002 I moved to Spain, because I got offered an interesting job. Since 2002 I did not play Squash for 5 years now, until I started 2 weeks ago, subscribing into a nearby Fitness center with 4 Squash Courts. Here in Marbella, Squash is not popular, and the possibilities are very limited. Popular sport on Spain.s south coast is: Tennis, Padel, and Golf. On the Webpage of that Fitness center "Oxigeno", they even don.t mention they have Squash Courts. They have many photos of the facilities, but not one of the Courts. There is also no organization for Squash events, to many people for few courts, and often with one court blocked because they use it for other activities. No possibility to sit down and watch a match. Those small detaills makes it frustrating outside the court, and I was already close to leave the Club and stop playing, since there is no other Club to play nearby. But then I had some matches with challenging players, great rallies, and sore legs. I gave new players Tips and lessons, and saw how they made a progress just because I told them how to hold a racquet and how to swing it. When they said thank you to me, that was very satisfying. Unfortunatelly, in the long run they will suffer from the bad organisation and facilities, and I fear, I will too, since I am again in danger to get stucked without coaching and Tournaments.

Comparing my experiences in Clubs, it is now, when I understand to appreciate a well run Club.


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