Publishers Note New Year’s Dreaming

By Jay D. Prince

While many have hit the ground running with their latest resolutions for 2012, something I have never really given much though to, I’ve been thinking about the advances in technology and how they could apply to squash. Okay, I admit it, I’m a bit weird that way.

Anyway, I have been on Apple’s bullet train, well, since they introduced the Mac in 1984. Since then I’ve worked with just about every iteration of the game-changing computer, and was more than happy to pony up when the world was blessed with the iPhone five years ago—and I’m a proud user of the iPad (haven’t coughed up for the iPad 2 yet). Though I may not be intimately familiar with all of the other “smart phones” and tablet devices on the market, I am fully aware that there is an “app” for just about everything.

Which brings me to squash and the dearth of apps for the greatest sport on earth (pardon me for puffing my chest a bit with that one). Let’s start with court and match reservations. Virtually every day of the week I log into my club’s website to book a court, often times before bothering to email or text people to see if they would like to play. I’d like to skip that step and dive into my phone to do that with my squash app. In a perfect world, being the loyal U.S SQUASH member that I’ve been for a quarter century, that app would sync with my playing profile so that I could simply select a list of players to contact, press “find a game,” give them about five minutes to accept and, since they would be using the same app, our court preference would be booked in the background. All we’d have to do is show up ready to play.

The next feature I’d like for my app on my phone and tablet is a scoresheet. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Just enter the players from my contacts (okay, I might have to take a minute to add those I don’t already have), tell the app who is serving first, and away we go. This digital delight would have a button to track which side an incoming server opted to start from; another to add the score for either player (and, of course, an override button to subtract in the event I credit the wrong player); and three for decisions made for either player—Let, Stroke and No Let— that would then automatically award points as required. To top this easy to use portion of the app, once a match is over, I could email and/or print the scoresheet—and it would seamlessly coordinate with my “make it count” option at, you guessed it, U.S. SQUASH.

Finally, since our phones and tablets already have the ability to record video, I’d like to see the app work in conjunction with the videotaping component. The decisions made while refereeing could automatically time-stamp the video so that we can use it later on for educational purposes. While we’re at it, given the PSA tour’s adoption of video for player’s to be able to “challenge” decisions by referees, maybe this would be a first step toward being able to do that in our club and league matches.

Last month I waxed on about the need to keep improving as referees. What better way to do that than to be able to go back through matches and decisions, either with others who may have had a different opinion about things or on my own, and really take a constructive and critical look at what took place. And, obviously, with video footage we can all improve our squash by analyzing and dissecting our play.

I’m sure there are other features I haven’t thought of, but these are starting points. The sport of squash has accepted the internet and embraced it, as we all have. Now to take it the next step and adapt to our ever-increasing mobile world.