Five long squash rallies that will make you go “you gotta be kidding me!”

As a follow up to my post titled “Five squash rallies that will make you go you gotta be kidding me!” here are five more videos from the web that show you how the pros play the game.

John White vs. Gregory Gaultier – Watching this fifty-plus shot rally between makes you want to sit down – which White does at the end of the rally!

As one of the hardest hitters of the squash ball, White was once clocked hitting a shot at 172 miles per hour. It is heartening to see that even professional players sometimes get too close to the ball.

Fares Dessouki vs. Diego Elias – Unlike the previous rally, the players in this video don’t appear too tired after a long and acrobatic rally. Being young does count for something in squash!

Miguel Rodriguez vs. Nick Matthew – It’s a lot of work to win a point from this rally. You can see Matthew’s frustrated shrug at the end of the rally.

Peter Creed vs. Saurav Ghosal – I would consider this amazing rally the best of the current pick. It is surprising to see how little backswing the players use when playing at the front of the court.

John White and Peter Nicol – This rally is not pretty; but, certainly counts for some entertainment value.

Do you have interesting squash videos that you would like to share?

Seven reasons to play squash

I hang out a lot with squash players.

I also tend to spend a fair amount of time with friends who are in sales, marketing, and other customer facing areas of businesses.

It is a “birds of a feather” thing – in a positive way.

Squash to me is more than a game played with an opponent within the confines of four walls. I get more out of squash than the pure exercise. If you Olivia Blatchfordalready play squash or are planning to pick up the game, here are seven reasons to play squash.

Make a living – There are a few ways to make a living playing squash. The obvious one is to turn professional.

It is easier said than done!

It is true that even the 100th ranked tennis player makes a comfortable living playing tournaments.

Squash has some ways to go.

While the earnings of squash pros are not easily available in the public domain, prize money offered by PSA tournaments has been slowly creeping up allowing the top few to make a decent living.  Follow this link to get more info about squash tournaments and prize money.

If think you got the game and are ready to turn pro like Olivia Blatchford, the recent winner of the Manulife Investments WSA tournament at Club Meadowvale, now is your time.

Teach the game – Being a pro at a decent squash club can be a career option for many good squash players.

Offering private and group lessons combined with some pro-shop services – racquets, strings, grips, and apparel – can add up to a fair livelihood for some. Unlike professional players who have a short window of opportunity to make their mark and build up their bank balance, this option has longevity and stability, provided you are good at what you do.

Patrick Hartunian of Club Meadowvale is a good example.

Run a squash academy: This may be an option for players who built up credibility by playing at the professional and national level competitions. Jonathan Power’s National Squash Academy, the first of its kind in North America, strikes a good balance of running a business while growing the popularity of the game.

Earn a scholarship – This one may not be fully understood or utilized by young squash players. As per the NCAA “more than 150,000 student-athletes receive $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships each year…”

Squash ScholarshipsWhile squash is not recognized as an official NCAA sport, there are many high-profile educational institutions in North America and Europe that sponsor varsity squash teams. There may be opportunities to augment your academic profile with your squash achievements to earn admission to one of these revered institutions.

Radhika Ahluwalia of Club Meadowvale, who went on to play for the prestigious Penn Squash Ivy League team, should be an inspiration for some of you younger players out there.

Make friends: Generally speaking, squash players tend to be friendly outside the squash court. Analyzing losses and wins after a gruelling match builds a comradery which can be like doing a post-mortem on a big sales win.

Squash clubs that have been around for a while tend to be more social than some of the newer fitness facilities that offer squash. If you ever get invited Squash players' party to a squash player’s house party, you should not be surprised to find some of your other squash buddies there.

This invitation from a squash-playing friend is an example.

Develop business contacts: Squash and tennis clubs often provide opportunities to turn social contacts into business contacts. A sales lead or business development opportunity can come from a casual post-game conversation over a beverage. It is a known fact that most jobs are found through networking. Squash clubs provide great opportunities to network with members who are often respected and influential in their areas of their business.

From a personal perspective my squash contacts come in handy. From financial services to home renovations there is always someone interested in potential business.

Stay healthy:  Squash is certainly a game for the fit. Three four days of squash with a few minutes at the gym should keep you going for a while.

At the end of the day, each one of us have our reasons for playing the game. Whatever your reason, make sure that you have fun!

What are some of your reasons?

Have you watched a professional squash tournament yet?

 

JP Morgan ToC at Grand Central Terminal

So you know all about tennis grand slam events. Do you know the squash equivalents?

Unlike tennis tournaments that get huge media coverage and draw droves of spectators to the stadiums, squash remains a subculture of sorts. Only the ardent fans of the game truly keep track of what is going on in the world of squash. Like many club-squash players that I know, you may have been to major tennis tournaments, but, have you watched a professional squash tournament yet?JP Morgan ToC - Seeded Players

Only very few squash players have.

I am a good example.As someone who visits New York City at least three or four times a year, I have been to watch the US Open tennis, at Arthur Ashe stadium. But, I have yet to attend the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, held in the Grand Central Station Terminal!

Next year I intent to change that.

In case you are not aware, PSA holds a series of events that they classify as Challenger, International, World Series, and World Championship. You can get more details of these categories by visiting the official site of the PSA.

Sticking with the tennis analogy, the PSA World Series tournaments can be likened to the grand slam events. They attract the top players of the game, and boast prize money that ranges between $115,000 to $150,000 – big money in terms of squash! With the entry of Dubai as a venue to hold a squash world series event, there are now nine tournaments that span four continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

The 2015 schedule of tournaments, as it stands today, is shown below.

Tournament Rank Prize money Month City
Tournament of Champions Gold $115,000 January New York, USA
Metro Squash Windy City Open  Gold $115,000 February Chicago, USA
Dubai Squash Open  Gold $115,000 March Dubai, UAE
El Gouna International  Gold $115,000 April El Gouna, Egypt
The Allam British Open  Platinum $150,000 May Hull, England
Hong Kong Open  Platinum $150,000 August Hong Kong
US Open  Gold $115,000 October Philadelphia, USA
Qatar Classic  Platinum $150,000 November Doha, Qatar
World Championship Platinum $350,000 November Bellevue, USA
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_PSA_World_Tour

 

As you can see, four of the nine tournaments are scheduled to be held in American cities.

So, if you are planning a vacation next year to one of these cities, why not try to plan it around these tournaments? Or better still, plan a squash vacation.

Going by some of the games shown on squash TV, it does not get any better than this!