SPA-tlight: Scott Denne

Scott Denne spent the summer in Arizona working as a pro in a private residence. Starting in October, he will be the new Head Squash Professional at the Kiva Club in Santa Fe (New Mexico).

scott dene & mike puertasSM: Where are you from originally?
SD: I’m from Hobart, Tasmania (Australia) originally. One of only three Tasmanian Squash Pros!

SM: Who first taught you the game?
SD: My mum (sorry, mom) Betty taught me the game from an early age and had a big influence on my junior squash career. She was pretty well known in Tasmania as she and my aunt were the number 1 & 2 ranked players in the state.

SM: Who were some of your biggest influences in the squash community?
SD: One of the biggest influences for me was Mike Way, and a lot of what I teach now is from his technical influence. Also Jack Herrick, the former PSA Chairman, influenced me years ago when he saw me outside the Cleveland greyhound bus station waiting with my squash bag. Ken Stillman, a great supporter and friend in squash, was also instrumental in getting me involved with the Copa Wadsworth event this year. I recently did camps with Mark Talbott and we became good “mates.” He is so passionate about the game and I really value his input on anything!

SM: Were you involved in the game throughout your school years?
SD: Yes, I played school league in Tasmania. My high school was state champion for four years and I was captain. There was a pretty good school league back then but it has dropped off now which is a shame. I also played junior tournaments and travelled around Australia playing major junior events.

SM: Discuss your competitive playing career?
SD: I played in junior nationals and for the Tasmanian team at both junior and senior level, received a scholarship to the South Australian Sports Institute and trained full-time under Coach Lenny Atkins, achieved a Career high ranking of No. 101 on the PSA tour in 13 years (1998-2001) of playing professionally, and Captained the US Copa Team vs. Mexico ( 2010 ). I hope to have a go at the 40+ this year! Now I’m old enough!

SM: How is working as a pro in a private residence different from working in a club?
SD: It’s pretty cool working in a private residence. The court is a separate building and has its own shower, etc., and scoreboard along with seating for about 75 people! It is different in the way that you form great relationships with a group of clients, as it is a more intimate setting compared to a large club. Plus you can have music pumping through a surround stereo system during lessons and no one telling you off!

SM: Do you reside in the house as well? Discuss your daily routine there?
SD: I reside at a clients lovely guest house a mile away. I get up early to work out since in this part of the country, once the sun is up in the summertime you shouldn’t run outside. Sometimes at 5:30am it’s still 100 degrees when I run! I then have clients for lessons at various times throughout the day like a normal club and I have clinics as well as night leagues. It’s pretty busy!

SM: Talk about the squash scene in Arizona?
SD: The squash scene in this part of the country has a lot of potential and you’d be surprised how many players there are, but there needs to be more continuity between local players from some of the private clubs, and the larger public clubs. People need to work together here more to grow squash.

SM: How do you prepare for a match?
SD: To prepare for a match I generally make sure I eat something light a few hours beforehand. I like to get to the venue early and make sure I’m stretched and pumped up for the game. I need about 45mins to get ready. Seems like I need longer now! Must be getting old!

SM: What is your favorite shot to hit?
SD: I have a few favorites but I love holding the ball and sending someone the wrong way so they just get it back. It feels very powerful and takes a lot of ball control. My double jointed wrist doesn’t hurt either!