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Squash is really good for my mental health, says Community Project of the Year winner Khan

England Squash Community Activator Malikah Khan has praised the positive impact squash has on mental health after winning the inaugural Community Project of the Year award.

Malikah, who was recently recognised by England Squash for her work to introduce and coaching squash to diverse communities in the West Midlands, explains that the sport has a positive impact on her mental and physical health, as well as on the health of her programme participants.

She said: “It is a big part of my lifestyle and I think it’s really good for, not just my physical health, but my mental health, too.

“I’m hard of hearing and previously it has been a challenge. But as a visual learner, squash has been quite easy to pick up.

“When trying new sports, I felt nervous about messing up as I can’t always hear the rules but because squash is so easy to pick up, I didn’t have this fear at all.”

She adds that the participants of her group sessions feel the same, quickly overcoming any nerves and falling in love with the sport: “The thing I enjoy most about being a community squash activator is the confidence I see in the ladies.

“They usually would arrive and I can see they’re quite nervous but they end up leaving the session feeling fantastic. 

“I want to bring in a more diverse community who might not have had the opportunities to play squash before, trying to bring them in so that they have the opportunity to do so.

“Being a squash activator makes me feel proud of myself; knowing I can deliver those skills and make people feel better. By the end of the session, knowing they’re leaving more confident in themselves and happier as well.

“When my participants are on court it’s just amazing to see them chatting, laughing and just thriving.

“To anyone who’s thinking of becoming a squash activator, I would say: Just go for it!”

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