By Kevin Klipstein
It’s very common for me to hear from one squash constituency or another, asking for more support from the Association. Fortunately, for a small sport, we have plenty of constituencies to serve, ranging from junior squash players and adults, singles and doubles players, hardball and softball players, beginners, women, and elite players. We also work with parents and coaches, referees, teaching pros, tournament directors, promoters, districts, urban programs, colleges, league administrators, athletic directors, club owners, and manufacturers among others.
Serving all of these groups takes significant resources. While we hope that in the future the Association will be flush with cash, right now, quite the opposite is true. We strive to break even each year while offering the highest quality programs that will help develop the sport. Many of our programs and member benefits now available are focused on developing and supporting a well-networked squash community.
“PLAY SQUASH” is our club oriented initiative geared towards networking the club membership. It offers pros and coordinators an easy way to communicate with their players on an ongoing basis via email, and keep members up to date on activity at their club using a central club website hosted within www.ussquash.com. In addition, while logged onto the system, current U.S. SQUASH members are able to email other members not only from their own club, but also anywhere in the country. Using the “FIND A MATCH” feature, players are able to find opponents that meet the criteria you specify, such as skill level, gender, location, club and playing availability. Due to the generous support of Victor Elmaleh and the Elmaleh Doubles Project, many of these features are also available online for doubles, in addition to team leagues and tournaments.
PLAY SQUASH is our most comprehensive program, focused on offering players the opportunity to compete on their schedule and at a pace that suits them. Using online challenge ladders and box leagues, PLAY SQUASH makes it easy for club pros or any squash enthusiast to facilitate competition for all club players regardless of their skill level and experience. Ladders and leagues may be set up on a scheduled or flexible basis and matches count towards both national and club rankings.
Another way we are working to draw the community together is our TEACHING PRO ADVISORY COUNCIL or TPAC. This council is made up of nearly 30 teaching pros and coaches from across the county. We host a conference call each month to get input on a variety of areas and issues including Nationals, sanctioned tournaments, marketing and the development of new programs. Recently, TPAC has been the primary committee involved in our brainstorming and deliberations on updating the calculations to our ranking system, which will also have a broad impact on sanctioned tournaments. This type of collaboration with pros strengthens our programs and provides the professionals an opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other.
Towards the same goal of creating a more connected squash community, U.S. SQUASH will host the first U.S. SQUASH “ANNUAL ASSEMBLY” on October 1st and 2nd. Held in conjunction with the U.S. Open Squash Championships being played in Chicago at Millennium Park and the University Club of Chicago, the Assembly will be an opportunity for all squash constituencies to provide input to the Board of Directors and management on important issues involving the organization. The Assembly will include a Keynote Address, Presentation of Programs for the 2010-2011 Season, topical breakout sessions on programs ranging from Membership, Technology, Leagues, Tournaments, Junior Squash, High School Squash to College Squash, and constituency breakout sessions for Districts, Pros, Coaches and Referees. The formal portion of the Assembly will also include a Board report on the “State of the Association.” More information on attending the Assembly is available on our website.
So whether you advocate for more support for women’s squash or doubles, referees or coaches, clubs or colleges, we hope you take advantage of the programs we have in place.