In the latest edition of the ‘Get to Know’ series, former World No.1 and Chair of the Coaching Commission Sarah Fitz-Gerald speaks to Hong Kong, China’s Elise Ng, who in 2019 completed the elite WSC Level Three qualification.
As a player, Ng won gold in the 2010 Asian Team Championship, is an Asian Masters Champion, was a national junior champion and national senior championship finalist, and reached World No.35 on the professional circuit.
After retiring, Ng has forged a reputation as a top coach, working with the national federation at major international events and winning the Coaching Excellence Award.
Since 2017, Ng, alongside Dick Leung, has coached national junior players at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. There are currently 23 junior players, from ages 12-18 in the junior squad.
When and where did your squash journey begin?
I started to play squash when I was nine years old with my classmate in the Squash Association of Hong Kong, China Junior’s program.
At the beginning, we both played squash for fun, and the coach told us to play a junior tournament. During the junior tournament, I loved the atmosphere, watching other players’ matches and enjoying it.
After the junior tournament, I started to play seriously, and became the HK junior champion, and turned professional in 2002.
What inspired you to become a coach?
After I retired from squash, I worked as a sports coordinator at college. I ran and developed different sport programs and teams (cross country, tennis, rugby, squash, badminton, table tennis, etc.).
When I studied for my master’s degree in sports medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, I got in touch with different elite athletes, sport coaches, physiotherapists, medical doctors and professors that inspired me to become a squash coach.
I want to try my best to coach elite squash players.
Describe a good memorable coaching moment!
Asian Junior Team Championship in Thailand in 2019. Most of the players were first-timers in team events. They were very excited and trying their best; the girls got a silver medal and the boys got bronze medal.
Of those eight junior players, five of them are playing full time at the Hong Kong Sports Institute now.
Describe a difficult coaching moment!
COVID-19. Training during the COVID-19 pandemic was on and off for almost two years.
The Hong Kong Sports Institute needed to lock down and follow the government rules and regulations. I remembered that for a short period of time, my players needed to wear masks for training.
As a close contact person, they were not allowed to train for 14 days. Players and I came back to Hong Kong from overseas tournaments and had to quarantine for 21 days in the hotel.
Do you have further plans for your coaching career?
I would like to challenge myself to coach senior players in the future. I want to pass on my experience and knowledge to the younger generation.
What’s your number one tip for aspiring squash coaches?
Passion. When you are passionate, you want to learn and discuss more, motivate yourself, and inspire your athletes. You will enjoy what you are doing and love interacting with your athletes on and off the court.
Elise Ng was talking to Sarah Fitz-Gerald for the “Get to Know” coaching series. To find out more about squash and squash57 coaching, head to the coaching menue at worldsquash.org.
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