Squash courts will reopen in Switzerland on May 11 as the government relaxes a number of the lockdown restrictions put in place following the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Approximately 50,000 people play squash recreationally in Switzerland and they will be allowed to return to court next week as long as they follow social distancing protocols. A maximum of two players will be allowed onto court at any one time, while players will need to maintain a distance of two metres from each other during practice.
Swiss Squash has worked closely with the Swiss government to put in place guidelines to allow a safe return to squash and have made a series of practice routines available for free to all players to watch on their ‘Squash Training’ online portal.
Michael Mueller, the Technical Director of Competitive Sports & Training for Swiss Squash, was behind the decision to produce these videos and was also involved in the discussions with the Swiss government that have seen squash clubs open for business once more.
“As a normal game of squash cannot guarantee a two-metre distance between any two players, presenting a selection of “corona-able” playing forms was key so that the Swiss government accepted the Swiss Squash protection concept in order for courts to reopen,” said Mueller.
“We are happy that people can step back onto the 450 squash courts in the 130 centres all over Switzerland on May 11. Maybe they will even start to like training, instead of playing only, and take lessons!”
Mueller also discussed the idea behind Swiss Squash’s ‘Squash Training’ portal, saying: “Squashtraining.ch was developed by me and programmed by Mediamerger for Swiss Squash. As it is more of a web portal than a website, any [Swiss] coach can register and upload their favourite games.
“Videos can simply be filmed with a mobile phone and be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. On squashtraining.ch the video is embedded and any relevant explanation about the exercise is uploaded by the coach. In future [after the COVID-19 crisis], we hope to give the 50,000 leisure players in Switzerland [and all around the world] access to a couple of hundred games and exercises for squash.”
Michael Khan, the Coaching Programme Manager for World Squash, opened up about the affect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on coaches around the globe.
“As squash has come to a complete standstill with courts closed all over the world, this has also strongly affected the coaches,” said Khan.
“Full-time coaches have lost their whole income. The many part-time coaches hopefully have at least kept their income in their other jobs. All coaching courses and the annual conference have been cancelled or postponed.
“But now we see courts reopening in Switzerland. They are reopening under tight but creative restrictions in order to keep the necessary social distancing, but it is the first step back to playing the game. Let’s hope other countries will soon follow the ‘Swiss way’.”