As part of the Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity 2018 initiative, a group of local residents – with links to the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership – have started what is believed to be the UK’s first walking squash league.
Based at the University of Hertfordshire’s Sports Village, the group, all with a love of squash, but either getting on in years or carrying mobility restricting injuries, have got together under the watchful eye of HSP Partnership Director John O’Callaghan, to devise a new game which could accommodate the group’s limitations!
And so walking squash was born. Using a red spot training ball for additional bounce, and with players restricted to one corner of the court - and with anything in front of the T, deemed out of play - the league has proved hugely popular. Benefitting from a handicapping system, most games to date have been close encounters with each point averaging rallies of over 15 shots.
In welcoming the initiative O’Callaghan said:
“Squash is such a fantastic game, not only in terms of skills development and as an outlet for the competitive spirit, but it also delivers an excellent workout. For those of us either getting on in years, or restricted through injury, walking squash is the perfect release valve. With the popularity of other walking sports - including football, rugby, netball and basketball - very much on the up, we thought “Why not squash?”
The inaugural league has been thoroughly enjoyable and immensely competitive. There are 5 of us in the league with a combined age of over 260 and a list of injuries that would frighten most A&E departments!
When I had my ankle fused – ironically as a result of a squash injury – I thought my playing days were well and truly over. This adapted version of the game, has given me a new lease of life on the squash court and I would urge any players out there who might have stopped playing for whatever reason, to give it a go.”
In welcoming the initiative Mark Williams, Partnerships and Programmes Director at England Squash said:
“This sounds like a great pilot and as far as I’m aware, it’s a first! It’s good to hear how a few simple adaptations can keep people on court and enjoying squash. I’m always very supportive of people making any changes that make the game work better for them – it’s all about having fun and keeping active after all!"
Further details of the Walking Squash League at the Hertfordshire Sports Village please contact Josie McLean: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01707 281186