The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the world of Squash has been very serious, especially for the smaller Squash club operators – who are competing with high-end commercial operators.
Unlike the 2008 global financial crisis, with the COVID-19 pandemic made Squash operators close their doors and go into lockdown – hence a loss in revenue and a serious impact on employees, especially those are permanent staff at their clubs.
In terms of support, England Squash launched an initiative to help the clubs bounce back – in form of financial assistance to help cover any financial loss and relaunch. For any smaller club, this is added bonus especially if they are planning to seek any government financial support or local authority business grant to help pay for key resources.
Whether this this scheme will be open to non-affiliated independent Squash clubs, remains to be seen but it would good if the governing body helps them too as a means to get the sport back on track domestically and help boost participation amongst the masses.
For the Squash pros, they have felt a loss too as major Squash tournaments have either been rescheduled another month in the year or even postponed until 2021 – however, a closed-door tournament would have been ideal with less prize money could have an viable solution to supplement their earnings.
As Squash clubs on a global scale in nations of which Squash is very popular, there has been no news of support; however, it will not be long till other national Squash governing bodies follow suit and launch their own version England Squash’s Bounce Back funding programme.
All new setting for Squash club operators
The health, safety and welfare of members is going to be the one of area Squash club management that is going to be vital with more financial resources in making sure members have in well-sanitised courts to play on and in the changing areas too.
Just like any business that has been in a crisis winning back customers is not going to an easy feat, thus for most Squash clubs it going to take a tactic of community engagement to bring their members back.
In terms of a launch, our recommendations would be an Open Day weekend with an angle of supporting the local NHS or a possible solution would an event like World Squash Day but with an angle of social engagement in the community.
New approach to grassroots
As part of the return back to Squash, there is going to some new approach to the grassroots development of Squash in a COVID-19 world.
There is no greater time to have better strategy in widening of participation at a grassroots level to help improve relations in the community amongst young people.
For young people of all cultures, this a time for them to unite with friends and not listen to stories of hate about particular section of the global community and realise with COVID-19, there is no nation who is at fault; just measure should have been in place to stop it spreading.
Keeping the spirits up with fun content
In conclusion, the content on social media from top Squash pros showcasing live home workouts and one particular from the US of a makeshift basement Squash courts shows the sport has a way of adapting to any crisis.
These types of activities show Squash is doing its darn best to keep people’s spirits up in these uncertain times and show there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We hope that the smaller clubs are able to compete with the larger venues on an even playing in retaining their member and be open to welcoming members from all sections of the community.