Last season, U.S. SQUASH 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 U.S. Adam Hamill, the assistant squash professional at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia (PA) talked about his development and the benefits of the SPA program.
How did you get your start in squash?
My dad, Robin Hamill, started playing when he was 25. He was an electrical engineer by trade, but absolutely loved the game. He played at the Inverness club in Scotland and got me involved at the age of five or six. I started playing in junior events and by the age of 10 I was playing on the Scotland Junior squad. I played in what is called the Home International tournament which included Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. This gave me a real taste of international competition.
Where did you go to college?
I went to Glasgow University. After participating in the Junior Worlds, and seeing the top players like Willstrop and Gaultier, I knew that I was not going to play at the pro level. It was really eye opening. They do not have a formal collegiate structure like here in the states so I played at the club level and earned degrees in coaching and development as well as Sport Science.
What is your greatest accomplishment as a squash player?
Although I was fortunate enough to represent Scotland at the World Juniors in 1998 and 2000, my biggest thrills were winning some of the local tournaments I played in as a junior. Being club champion at age 15 and winning adult tournaments as a junior are still my fondest memories.
When did you start coaching?
My dad got me into coaching early, 15 years old. I was a hard headed teenager who thought he was a good player and knew everything. My dad had me run a few of the Junior Clinics at the club and I realized how tough a job it is but also realized how much I enjoyed it.
If you weren’t coaching squash, what do you think you would be doing?
Really, since I was a youngster, all I’ve wanted to do was squash. I sometimes think I should have picked up a vocational trade like engineering, but I can’t see myself doing anything else but squash. My dad was my coach but also so much more than that. He taught me to respect people and the sport
Why are you a SPA member?
There are so many pros in the U.S. and especially so in the Philly area. There is a need for more communication and to have everyone on the same page. Communication is the key to growing the game and U.S. SQUASH is the key driver behind this communication.
Who do you look up to as your ideal teaching pro?
I know people will laugh because he is my boss, but Doug Whittaker, the head pro here at Germantown. Certainly we do not agree on everything but he was one of the pioneers in this area as the game changed from hardball to softball. He has developed one of the better programs in the country and is certainly one of the top pros out there.