How can we coach squash doubles if we do not have a doubles squash court?
In North America there is a big push to build the game of squash doubles – and in particular to attract female players to the game. Both Gary Waite, president of the International Squash Doubles Association, and the Women Doubles Squash Association have sent communications to College coaches encouraging them to get their players to take up the game – the game being the North America Hardball Doubles game.
Here is the mission of the WDSA:
Firstly, we want to increase the number of women playing professional doubles by encouraging former college players, current teaching professionals and WISPA touring professionals to play this fabulous game. In addition to the growth of professional women playing doubles squash, we believe the WDSA will help foster and build women’s doubles on the amateur level as well.
How can a coach introduce the tactics, communication and an enthusiasm for squash doubles to beginning and intermediate players when there are no courts to be found within a 100 miles? At Smith College, we have started our team off with British Racketball Doubles.
British Racketball is played with a standard ‘American” racquetball racquet and a low-bounce ball designed for use on the squash court. The same tactical principles as either type of regular doubles apply: hit into the open space, attack the weaker player, communication, base your tactics on individual player strengths, etc. – a great way to introduce players to doubles on a squash court!
To reflect the growth of British Racketball in the UK, England Squash has just made a change to its name. I am sure that the squash diehards are cringing, but having been mental training consultant to the World Champion Canadian National Racquetball Team in the late 80’s and early 90’s I can say that elite level racquetball (at least the North American variety) requires a unique set of explosive athletic skills:
Having played both Softball Doubles (2004 & 2005 Massachusetts Men’s Softball Doubles Champion with my female partner Shona Kerr – take that boys:) and Hardball Doubles (back in Toronto in the ’80’s), personally I prefer Softball Doubles on the 25′ official softball doubles court – as it is played at the Commonwealth Games.
Here is a short video of some of my players trying racketball and racketball doubles for the first time:
Application for Squash Coaches
- There is no need to wait to introduce younger players to the lifelong sport of doubles.
- Doubles tactical principles are similar across non-squash racquet sports and transfer well to squash doubles.