The World Squash Federation (WSF) and Professional Squash Association (PSA) last month jointly launched World Squash Officiating (WSO), an online education and appraisal portal designed to standardise officiating qualifications worldwide.
WSO has been launched with the aim of creating a worldwide standard in refereeing and a clear referee pathway. WSO contains a host of resources such as in-depth articles and presentations on rules as well as a comprehensive video library from the SQUASHTV archives which explains previous decisions made by referees on the PSA World Tour.
Irish Squash are already feeling the benefits of the platform and we caught up with their Refereeing Secretary, Lee Healy, to learn more about how they are using WSO.
Q: Lee, could you please give a brief description of how Irish Squash have been using WSO and future plans for the platform?
LH: We have decided that the programme will become the basis for our referee qualification system into the future. To encourage players to avail of the WSO on-line platform we have agreed to cover the fees for the Level 1 qualification. Once players and then referees experience the benefits of the Level 0 and Level 1 we are hopeful that many will continue their journey to higher levels to the benefit of all.
Q: Why have you signed up your referees to the platform?
LH: The online nature of the course allows interested players to avail of training in the comfort of their own home at at their own time so that uptake should be higher than traditionally was the case. In addition, the availability of graded videos and the ease of repeating the assessments will help candidates to succeed.
Q: What did you do to improve the standard of refereeing before WSO?
LH: Irish Squash has qualified over 40 referees in the last two seasons with person to person Club Grade Courses (the equivalent of WSO Level1) but see limitations on that model as a means of progressing.
Q: What have been the most useful aspects of WSO do you think?
LH: A single platform where resources are available is a big advance. The on-ine nature of the whole experience should add to accessibility for players and probably also reflects the expectations of the modern player.
Q: What impact do you think WSO will have on the standard of refereeing in Ireland?
LH: By increasing the number of qualified referees, especially at WSO Level 2 standards will improve as more players become exposed to the experience. Greater standardisation in decision making should also ensue.
Q: What is the standard of refereeing in Ireland like at the moment?
LH: As is the case in many countries, the enthusiasm of the players doesn’t always channel into officiating and our short term aim is to double the number of Level 1 referees and to get a more modest level of Level 2s.
Q: As a National Federation, is it encouraging to see the PSA & WSF work together on a project such as this?
LH: As squash is such a relatively small community any cooperation between organisations within the sport is to be encouraged. This is an example of perfect partnership in that it’s win-win.
Learn more about WSO by visiting the platform’s website.