The Federacion Colombiana de Squash have introduced a new half-court initiative designed to get younger children into playing squash following the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Located at the Becerra Stillman Squash Academy in Bucaramanga, ‘Mini Squash’, a form of squash featuring a court half the size of a conventional court, has been designed in order to allow children around the ages of six to eight years old to take their first steps into squash.
Federacion Colombiana de Squash President Sergio Becerra says increasing access to squash in Colombia and making it easier for novice players to pick up the sport are the key ideas behind half-court squash.
“We had the idea a long time ago, because we are a family dedicated to this sport and we wanted to have a court in the house, it’s everyone’s dream, right?” said Becerra.
“This court was aimed at detecting talents, since in our city there are no public access courts and the limitations made us a squash academy that searches for talents for this sport. Our academy will be 15 years old in 2021, and COVID-19 motivated us to start the project.
“This court is a spectacular tool to attract children from six to eight years old into squash. It is the most critical age, as a child can feel overwhelmed when entering a conventional court. A that age, large but closed spaces are not of much attraction to the vast majority of them and that’s where we have to wait until a certain stature and a certain age so they begin to take an interest in the sport.
“I think this pandemic could create a new modality for us, Mini Squash, where the children can start to know the competition, they begin to get acquainted with the angles, racket, ball and then they move on to the big leagues.”
The Becerra Stillman Squash Academy plans to open three more ‘Mini Squash’ courts by the end of 2020 and Becerra believes that there will be more benefits to the children beyond the fitness aspects that are usually associated with squash, which has been recognised by Forbes as the healthiest sport in the world.
“[Mini Squash helps children] Learn the angles of the court and the shots,” Becerra said.
“At the age of 6-8 years and without having the ideal height [for a conventional court], children do not understand this on a conventional court. Besides, there are other benefits such as increasing their social capacities, developing their motor skills, and tolerance to frustration and responsibility.”