This season, U.S. SQUASH has introduced the Squash Professionals Affiliate Program(SPA). With this program, U.S. SQUASH will offer personal liability insurance coverage to qualified squash professionals for coaching, access to a pre-screened, preferred network of health insurance providers, financial incentives for membership based on the number of members per court, discounted sanctioning fees, use of U.S. SQUASH for online entry offering discounts for players, waived sanctioning fees for U.S. SQUASH League and Ladder programs, free admission to the U.S. SQUASH Professional Development Conference (formerly “Coaching Conference”), the opportunity to sell U.S. SQUASH merchandise and co-brand in pro shops, and access to the U.S. SQUASH “Job Network” and “Professional Practices,” an online collection of best practices for coaches and pros, and regional professional mentoring, and support and advocacy for professional development at clubs.
Squash Magazine, as part of a monthly feature, will talk to a member of the program and get their take on the state of squash in the US. Dominic Hughes, owner and Director of Squash at the Berwyn Squash Club in Berwyn, PA, took some time off to answer a few questions from Squash Magazine.
Who introduced you to Squash?
My father, who was an avid amateur player, first showed me the game when I was 10 years old at the Abbydale Club in Sheffield, England.
When did you start teaching the game?
I actually went to Bermuda and became a trained chef. When I came back to England I was hired on as a chef at a local club in Sheffiied. I asked the manger if I could teach part time and found I enjoyed the teaching aspect more than the cooking. Clearly I was generating enthusiasm and interest in the game so when I asked to teach full time they hired another chef. The club has since gone out, but that was certainly no reflection on my cooking!
Why are you a part of SPA?
Clearly U.S. SQUASH is an ambassador for the game. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do, I feel it’s important to support their programs so my voice can be heard. Anything that can increase communications among the squash community in the US is a good thing.
Where did you play college squash?
Franklin & Marshall
What teaching pros would you say were most influential in your growth?
I’ve never really taken lessons from a pro, and didn’t really have a coach growing up. John Dixon was someone who helped me an awful lot. Currently, one coach who I respect as both a professional and a friend is Mike Way, who is currently the Director of Coaches at the Canadian National Squash Training center.