Women’s Squash Week (18-24th September) is an international campaign that aims to celebrate and raise the profile of female squash.
PSA Foundation are proud to champion this key awareness week, and a core part of our work is empowering women and girls to participate in squash.
This years theme is #YouBelong: highlighting how women and girls belong in all aspects of the game.
We spoke with Jayne Robinson, a coach at Pontefract Squash Club, about her journey as a coach and the importance of womens spaces for all levels in squash.
“I was 12/13 when I started. So I played as a junior and played quite competitively county squash, British university squash, and then played my high-level team squash here and then decided to go into coaching.”
“I did some coaching alongside Malcolm Willstop doing junior coaching and then gradually started moving into doing adult coaching and women’s coaching.”
“One of the things I didn’t have was a female role model, so my coaches at uni were all male coaches. There were women players around, but not that many.”
“When I was moving into adulthood, it was really good for me to be able to meet women players around the country as I was moving around to university. But also I just felt I could be that role model to the people to help with the people of the women, young girls, to start to play a game squash that they may never have thought about playing before.”
“And it’s not really out there as a key sport, but it’s a school. I love sport that’s close to my heart and I’d like to have the opportunity to encourage other people to do it, and I wanted to take that opportunity to do that.”
“So how [The Women’s Sessions] it actually started was a couple of parents and children was coaching and said, why don’t you take us on? Why do you show us how to play squash our partners, play our children play. It would be really good if we could play.”
We started with a couple of women. Other people joined in, inspired and thinking “I can do this.” It’s just a nice basic level, a little bit of fitness, just learning a new skill and just having fun with other people.
“So what started as a small group of two or three people became one big group on a one day a week, and over time growing to four female only sessions.”
You can come into the session at seven years old you and come in at 67 years old, you can come and enjoy what you do and just play learning new skills.
“The reason we do female over the sessions is because women do play differently to men quite often initially, they don’t hit the ball as hard, and I think some women would feel a little bit overawed going on with men who hit the ball very hard.”
“So they just had the opportunity to develop their own skills at their own pace and level with the people of similar standards or better than them, and just enjoy a friendship.”
“It’s a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. I’d like to think that that’s what we’ve created at Pontefract and that’s why the female sessions are so successful”
“I hope people think it’s fun. I hope people feel they’re developing their skills as well. It’s relaxed. There’s no pressure on anybody to be anything.”