With courts re-opening in a number of countries and the squash landscape looking as positive as it has done following the global COVID-19 pandemic, Luxembourg took a major step forward in the country’s efforts to return to squash as the WSF Level 1 Coaching Course took place Schengen.
Restrictions have been eased in the Schengen area, meaning local coach and organiser Marc Thrill jumped at the opportunity to hold the course following its postponement in April.
Held between July 16-19 at the Squash Club Pétange, Thrill, alongside World Squash Coaching Programme Manager Michael Khan, took 11 participants from multiple countries under their wings and, after four intense days of lectures and practical sessions the candidates had to show their newly acquired coaching skills in a group and individual ‘demo’ session
Thrill was delighted with the impact of the course, saying: “Overall, I believe that from the beginning, the sessions started at a good level. Our diversified mix of participants [half of the candidates were below the age of 20 and others were experienced squash players] gave us this extra push over the edge.
“All candidates were eager and hungry to return back onto the court and extremely willing to learn. The WSF methodology was well understood and accepted and the players adapted greatly to the posed challenges.
“I have to express my most enormous gratitude towards Michael Khan for reigniting our passion for post-lockdown squash sessions. It was quite unique, the feeling to be back on the court and seeing everyone’s joy from the very start. Helping to enhance the game by running this educational course for new coaches was simply extraordinary.”
Three of the new level 1 coaches from Squash Club Pétange will support Thrill with a school programme in Pétange that will start in September and will include squash in the regular school curriculum.
Thrill expects this to benefit hundreds of children and hopes it will attract new players to the sport following the COVID-19 enforced lockdown that has kept people away from the squash courts in Luxembourg.
“The impact on squash has been tremendous economically and socially,” Thrill explained.
“All squash centres in Europe were closed, without anyone having the possibility to practice on the court. As a coach, I do not think that this was as dramatic because we had time to break our internalised routines and introduce new elements instead. For example, my players and I have focused on outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking to maintain the agility of our sport.
“I, alongside three of the new coaches, am working on a project called ‘Schoulsquash’ [School squash]. In fact, after September 15, squash will become an embedded part of the primary school sports curriculum in Pétange, Luxembourg. We expect and look forward to familiarising up to 200 kids during the next academic year with our fantastic sport.
“Personally, I view squash where integration, motivation, and competitive hunger can be fostered in a playful manner. Squash is the ideal sport for our modern generations.”