Finally, outdoor Squash has come to the UK, but where you may ask? Birmingham, yes the great city has beaten London, in having outdoor provision of the world’s healthiest sport.
Last Friday saw the first outdoor Squash court in in Birmingham with England Squash and Squash United as plans for Commonwealth Games 2022 to increase Squash participation in the West Midlands.
Now in the past, we have always said that Birmingham is going to the new home of Squash given the tournaments that the great city hosts.
Squash United, the team behind community initiative in uniting Squash in the West Midlands, have made great strides in getting an outdoor Squash court at the King Solomon International Business School, in Aston.
Either way this new development will now bring the UK in line with other countries that have outdoor Squash courts.
Schoolchildren to enjoy benefits of Squash in a greenspace
With the new innovative open-air squash court in Birmingham is aiming to help over 400 schoolchildren gain access to the sport.
Play Innovation developed the outdoor Squash, with funding from England Squash and is one of the Squash United programme latest in a series of initiatives to boost Squash in the West Midlands.
Play Innovation developed the court and said to be very popular with schoolchildren at the school.
It is hoped with the outdoor squash provision, is going to utilise as plan help to improve physical and mental wellbeing both in curriculum time and outside of school hours.
Already, the outdoor Squash court at King Solomon International Business School has over both pupils and teachers have undertaken Squash Activator training, so that they can help deliver squash sessions to their peers.
This is truly a win-win for all that involved in the grassroots initiative in growing both participation and awareness of Squash in Birmingham.
Squash stars support outdoor Squash
At the time of the launch of Birmingham’s outdoor Squash court, local Squash star Sarah-Jane Perry was on hand to support the launch and meet fans. Also on hand was Perry the Bull, the official mascot of 2022 Commonwealth Games.
In recent year the popularity of outdoor Squash has grown and signs show there could be more in the future.
At World Squash Day 2021 a few of the current Squash players on the PSA tour have played outdoors Squash as part of an exhibition tournament at the innovative Maspeth outdoor Squash court in New York. Furthermore, there is also NYC Public Outdoor Squash located in Hamilton Fish Park, which is in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
It worth mentioning outdoor Squash is already growing in El Salvador in a community based community programme called Squash Para Todos, in partnership with global non-profit Glasswing International & Latin America’s Sports Reimagined.
Since the launch in 2020, the project has bucked the trend with their plans in expanding their new outdoors squash complex with construction under way for their four courts in El Salvador.
Catalyst for School Squash competition
The introduction of outdoor Squash provision in schools could be the game changer in getting more children to play the sport in school as part of the PE syllabus, which could see more schools from parts of the UK enter school squash tournaments.
Also the link with Outdoor Squash and children’s health & wellbeing is going to be beneficial way to get more children into Squash as we all know the sport is the healthiest sport on the planet, so why not introduce them to Squash at young age with the value of being outdoors.
Personally, we reckon it is going to help schools build a better working partnership with sport development in local authorities units in terms of expanding grassroots Squash opportunities in the local community in terms accessibility to the sport for local residents.
Seeing an outdoor Squash court in a school especially in Birmingham is going make other parts of the UK want the same in schools or areas with much access for children, perhaps even adults to play Squash.
Now given the pandemic, Squash too the biggest hit in terms of participation as it is an indoor sport, but the new outdoor Squash court is going show the can be played outdoors in the summer months.
Hopefully, there will be some kind of overhead cover to make sure that Squash is played in comfortable surroundings once outdoors.
Overall, can outdoor Squash save the sport indoor courts? Yes, as indoor squash provision is struggling to stay open, but if the powers that can market outdoor squash provision could see the sport becoming more popular and bring people back to the sport once again.