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Nunes: European Squash’s first fully gender balanced coaching course a “really good sign”

This article has been adapted from one first published on europeansquash.com

Portugal’s Catarina Nunes says it is a “really good sign for squash” that last week’s World Squash Coaching Level 2 course run by the ESF had an equal gender balance of learners for the first time.

Seven men and seven women from seven different countries participated in the four-day ESF course led by World Squash Coaching Programme Manager Michael Khan and WSF Level 1 Tutor Jan Roll at the Squash Zentrum Hastal in Prague, Czechia.

It was the first time that an ESF course at any level had gender parity.

The coaches took part in lectures and practical sessions including live on-court sessions with local players. Next, they will complete post-course assignments with their own players and submit written documentation of four lessons before being approved and certified.

Nunes (pictured above) said: “I enjoyed the course so much! At my club, I see more women willing to try squash and now more are clearly wanting to be coaches too. It means we are doing something to attract more females. It’s comforting that the sport is evolving.

“Having a female role model as a coach is important for women and girls. A lot of female players feel less comfortable being coached by a man and playing against men. I see a lot of difference at my club because I attract more women to train with me, simply because I’m a woman.”

Nunes coaches three days a week at Prorackets Squash & Padel in Porto as well as training and competing on the PSA World Tour. The 25-year-old is nine-time Portuguese champion and recently broke into the top 150 in the PSA World Rankings. She has ambitions of reaching the top 50 and representing Portugal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

Nunes added that her motivation for enrolling on the course was that she wanted to be the best she can be in both her playing and coaching roles, and that the experience was enriching and enjoyable.

“When I started coaching, I loved the idea of sharing your passion for squash with other people,” she says. “But as I coached more, I felt I needed more knowledge so I can help my players develop more. I was using the same exercises that I do as a player, but I didn’t know why.

“I really enjoyed this course because I understood why I was doing the exercises and it made a lot of sense to me. It gave us an in-game perspective, teaching our players to do the right shots in the right situations when the opportunity comes.

“Travelling for the course was a good experience. I shared a room with another coach and we all had dinner with the other coaches, shared our thoughts and discussed what we did during the day. If I had done the course in Portugal I’d just go home afterwards and wouldn’t get those knowledge sharing opportunities.”

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