Pro-File Affeeq Ismail

Affeeq Ismail

Head Squash Coach

US Squash Pilot Program @ Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA: Marblehead, MA

Lynch/van Otterloo has an extremely active adult squash community. The adult players are consistently organizing round robins and playing in weekly league matches all around the Boston area. Many of them are very eager to improve their game and are now participating in our weekly clinics and taking private lessons with me. Some of the Adult players are even entered in the MA State Tournament! The launch of the US Squash pilot program has already seen success in growing the youth squash community at the Y. This program aims to engage local youth in the community all around the North Shore by introducing squash to them through after school lessons, clinics, camps and school sponsored programs.

I was first exposed to doubles in New York City about four years ago but I did not actually step on a doubles court until I arrived at the LvO YMCA. Hardball doubles is a completely different game than singles. I still remember my first time playing doubles: I had no idea where to stand or how to move on court. I’ve been watching and playing more doubles so I’m understanding the concept of the game much better. As far as teaching and adapting to a new game, doubles still uses the same basic techniques from singles, which makes it a fun transition since the skills are already there.

Since taking on this position, I’ve been focused on building the squash program at the LvO YMCA so I haven’t had much time to train or play competitively. I do love playing squash socially, which can still be quite high level and competitive—especially when I’m playing former college opponents.

We have lots of goals and visions for US Squash’s pilot program. We want to increase youth participation at LvO and partner with local schools to promote squash in their athletic programs. We’re also hoping to host several tournaments here starting out with junior events. LvO YMCA has three singles courts, so we can host junior tournaments. This will also help create more awareness of the squash program, which hopefully will drive participation among young players. Another goal is to grow the adult community. As of now, there is a good number of active adult squash players, but there is definitely room for more beginners. Most of our adult members have a background in squash and have been playing the sport for years. Our target audience would be to attract more beginners who are entirely new to the sport.

I love exploring the Boston food scene with my girlfriend because there are so many options all year round. From oysters and haddock sandwiches in the summer to Korean BBQ and Chinese hotpot in the winter, there is always good food to be discovered in the area. We also live in the North End so we’re constantly surrounded by delicious Italian food. There are also a ton of breweries all around the Boston area. I love visiting new breweries, trying different beers and meeting up with friends. There are so many good spots, and especially in the summer, a lot of the breweries have open air gardens or yards that make it the perfect place to spend a weekend afternoon.

The last movie I watched was Crazy Rich Asians. I’m from Malaysia and they did a lot of the shooting for the movie around different islands in Malaysia, so it was really cool to see. The movie itself was hilarious and totally relatable. It really shows the differences in values and lifestyle between Eastern and Western culture and how people struggle to overcome that cultural barrier.

I just read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I watched the movies as a kid but never read the books. I’ve realized there’s a lot of stuff missing in the movie. I’m probably going to start reading the rest of the Harry Potter books now.