Watching the 12 young athletes recover from their latest high intensity testing battery at the Richmond Olympic Oval, you would have no idea that their chosen sport was once again rejected for inclusion in the Olympic Summer Games.  Ask them specifically if they were disappointed about the decision and they will give you a hint of their dismay, but on court and in the weight room you will find no evidence that these athletes are putting in any less effort than those athletes who know the pathway Squash Collageto the Olympics has already been laid out for them.

This was the second training camp for Squash BC at the Oval in the last 6 months and the testing data speaks for itself, these kids are working hard to make themselves better all round athletes and squash players.  The best young squash players from different clubs around the province, congregated in a 3-day long camp where they were exposed not only to high level technical coaching, but to experts in nutrition, mental training, and strength and conditioning. The goal was to equip the athletes with the tools necessary to take their game to the next level and beyond.

While strength and conditioning hasn’t been as embedded in the squash culture in the same way as it has been for hockey or rugby, Canadian coaches and athletes have realized that when facing the competition from such powerhouse nations as Egypt, England, France and Australia they need every advantage they can get.  This is the reason they are willing to make sacrifices to their leisure time in order to come learn proper strength training techniques that will make them stronger, change direction quicker, jump higher, recover faster and provide the competitive edge needed to be their best every time that glass door closes behind them.

The athletes were clearly motivated to improve and to develop as players to be the best of the best. After all, only those driven to be the best of the best are willing to give up their weekend during the middle of the school year to come in and do performance testing on a Friday night.  Only the best of the best are willing to drag themselves out of bed early the next morning to spend 5 hours testing and training on court and in the weight room, and then again the next day.  As coaches, experience has shown us that athletes who possess this type of internal drive and work ethic will be successful.

Acknowledgment goes out to Jordan Abney, Squash BC Executive Director, for envisioning and coordinating these camps.  Jordan knows that to be one of the best squash athletes in Canada you need to develop the all round athlete.

The next time you’re at your local racquet club, keep an eye out for one of these phenomenal young athletes, for if and when squash finally gets its place in the Olympics, these Canadians will be waiting in the wings, fully prepared physically and mentally to be the best in the world.

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