Shane Pletts

Management and Development of the Junior Section

Introduction:

At Fair Oak Squash Club we have an extremely well structured and organised junior section. Numbers are around 25 – 30 on average coming on Saturday’s and we are doing all we can to grow this.

Juniors playing squash in the UK and Hampshire are down however Fair Oak retain a good number playing along with a team of coaches that are all qualified, insured and experienced.

We believe we are doing an excellent job for Fair Oak Squash Club with the Junior Section

Success with current Development Plan:

1.         Several players are now in Hampshire junior teams along with three U11 players recently selected the team in two major events.

2.         Fair Oak coaches organised the Hampshire Grand Prix/Summer series, which had 18 entrants from the 57 total in this very successful event. They are designed to give juniors their first taste of competitive squash

3.         Hampshire Youth Games success based on coaches and players from Fair Oak over the past 5 + years give the club recognition throughout the Borough and local schools.

4.         Creation of a Fair Oak Junior squash identity through the introduction of T shirts and Hoodies that are both popular in the club and county alike and financially supported by two Fair Oak coaches

5.         Introduction of Family Club night, a unique concept in Hampshire, which has resulted in the juniors, parents and siblings enjoying Squash together and has seen new members joining the club

6.         Previous and current juniors playing for adult teams up to and including the Premier team largely achieved through the current coaching set up.

7.         Through the juniors and coaches, more parents are now playing squash at the club

8.         Increased club revenue by juniors taking additional coaching

9.         A presence at the Carnival to advertise the club and offer taster sessions suggested and organised by one of the juniors.

Future Management and Development Plan:

The juniors are the life line of the Club and this can be seen with the current Development Program, which we will continue to implement and improve over the next three years. We have to move with the times and keep squash current.

1.         Continued development of the current sessions to help prepare and improve the Juniors for matches and tournaments by the introduce a mini league for beginners and match day sessions for the more competent players.

2.         To investigate changing the format of the sessions to an hour so we can organise them into specific and focussed groups for targeted training. This would include the use of video coaching using Tablets and Go Pro camera technology.

3.         The introduction of the new initiative "Off The wall" awards scheme endorsed by ESR. These awards give certificates/armbands for 6 different levels of achievement. We also plan to introduce a similar scheme for the more experienced players.

4.         To enlist in the new "Schools Program" with the help of Hampshire Squash aimed at increasing the number of juniors taking up squash throughout the County at a grass roots level. Full details are yet to be published.

5.         The introduction of a periodic Junior squash News Letter for all members and local schools. Introduce some "Come and Play Sessions" and "Bring a Friend Days" along with more interaction with local schools using our portable squash wall. Contacting local media outlets to promote more families to visit and try squash at the club.

6.         Promote "Squash Birthday Parties" as a means to introduce new juniors and parents to squash. Several of these have been organised and run by one of our qualified squash coaches who supplies all of the kit. Further revenue is gained through the hire of the club and bar.

7.         The further development of new coaches by taking current juniors, 3 at present, and working with them towards gaining their coaching qualifications, DoE awards and sport element of their GCSE and the continued success of the Junior section.

8.         Due to the positive feedback, the Grand Prix format will be expanded to include all standards to help prepare for full tournament play, through more court time, match experience and court craft. Fair Oak plays a strong part in this giving it a very high profile in the County. Negotiations with the committee will be held to assess if using the club as a base for this would be practical adding more kudos to the event for us.

9.         The integration of junior girls with the newly formed mums group now playing squash on a regular basis. The ultimate aim is have one or more Ladies team for Fair Oak Squash Club and to expand the new internal Ladies League all based on our own home grown talent.

10. We plan to introduce a Parent Survey between now and September to assess what they think and want for the future. This will then lead onto a regular periodic meeting with parents to assess this further and help plan for Tournaments, additional coaching and/or training and fun events.

11. We also plan to introduce an individual player port-folio that can be used by the junior and coach including the parent to help develop the skills both on and off court. These will be tailored to suit each junior and grow and develop as their aspirations change. A sample can be made available should anyone want to see this.

With continued strong support from both parents and juniors towards the current coaches and coaching Development Plan, we believe this is a recipe for a successful and growing Junior section with the club. This proposed plan for the development of our juniors is not a short term fix nor is it based on over estimating the difficulty of increasing numbers but a very real and realistic plan to continue to take the Junior section forwards and encourage the game at grass roots.

Shane Pletts

Fair Oak Junior Organiser