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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Smart Squash

Front cover of Smart Squash by Austin M. Francis

For whatever reason, aside from a few great autobiographies and instructional-type books, there do not seem to be that many good reads about the game of squash out there.  Certainly not relative to other more mainstream sports.  Hopefully this will change in future as squash grows in popularity.

There are notable exceptions to this, however, like two great books about squash written by Jim Zug.  Another is a book called 'Smart Squash' written by a gentleman named Austin Francis, which was first published 20 years ago, at the time that the US switched from hardball singles to the international softball game.  Austin interviewed all of the top US-based players and coaches at that time in order to understand what the critical differences are between hardball and softball.  Some of the names of those interviewed for advice are in the preface below.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Oxygen and Nick Matthew


Front cover of the autobiography of world squash champion, Nick Matthew

A few readers have asked me what the best squash advice I have ever received is, given that I have been playing for thirty years.  It is true that I have had the privilege of playing some of the best players in the world in training sessions, and sometimes even in matches when I have been lucky enough, so I guess I have learned a thing or two by osmosis.  Most recently I played against Nick Matthew in one quick game of squash.  He was on vacation in the US.  Even though I don't play singles much anymore (play more hardball doubles), I jumped at the opportunity.  And what a great experience it was!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Q&A with Shaun Johnstone


Shaun Johnstone, Zimbabwean professional sportsman
Shaun Johnstone was born in Zimbabwe on April 20th, 1984.  After high school he moved to the US to attend Trinity College.  Johnstone was on the Trinity squash team that has the longest unbeaten winning streak in the history of collegiate sports – the team was undefeated for 252 straight team match ups against other US colleges over the course of 13 years.  Shaun was an invaluable member of that Trinity team and consequently was an All American for all four of his years at college.  Johnstone is a talented individual and has achieved national recognition in sports other than squash.  In fact, word has it that long time Trinity head coach, Paul Assaiante, considers Johnstone the best overall athlete ever to play for him. 

I recently got the opportunity to ask Shaun a few questions about squash and about his life generally and have shared his answers to them below.  You will find that he is someone that not only loves playing squash but who is also extremely focused on being the best coach that he can possibly be; and you'll understand why.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Q&A with Peter Lasusa


Former US Squash Chairman, Peter R. Lasusa, Jr.

Last June Peter Lasusa finished his four year term as the Chairman of US Squash. He had served on the organization's Board for the last nine years.  When he initially got involved it was known as the USSRA, but Peter oversaw way more than just a name change.  He recognized early on a need for a change in the governance structures and implemented big changes during his tenure that led to a dramatic turnaround in the prospects of the organization.  Membership has doubled, participation has doubled and revenues have more than doubled.  And the US Open is among the premier squash tournaments in the world.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How I Remember my Countryman, Nelson Mandela


Mandela handing over the Rugby World Cup winners trophy in 1995

I grew up in the Eastern Cape in South Africa during the height of the apartheid era in the late 70's and 80's, in a part of the country now known as the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Area.

Being a white person growing up in that environment meant living with certain privileges.  But it also meant I was handicapped without even knowing it, as were all the other boys at the boarding school which I attended.  You see, we had a tainted view of the world.