Squash battling with trends …
April 16, 2013

Squash battling with trends …

Despite this country maintaining a total dominance of squash on the subregional scene, especially at the junior level, doing so is not as easy as it may seem on the surface.{{more}}

Longstanding national junior coach James Bentick told SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday that the challenges of maintaining the winning ways are mounting on the courts, as it is off them.

“…. The battle is against the iPods, the Blackberries, the iPhones and all these telecommunications machinery … We are really fighting against technology right now,” Bentick said.

Bentick, who has been running the St Vincent and the Grenadines junior squash programme for the past 14 years, hopes that the trend of a scarcity of female junior players here can be bucked soonest.

“The girls are just lacking…They are not coming out as much, but it is just like anything. It’s like a cycle going around and I think it will pick up,” Bentick reported.

He, however, thinks that the current youth development progamme instituted by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Squash Association, coupled with the short falls in the other territories, have contributed to the Vincentians’ long stay at the top of the OECS region.

“The reason why we are so dominant with the juniors over the years is the continuation of our junior programme. You have kids coming as young as eight and nine and playing through to 17 and 18; that’s like ten years of playing squash and I think that’s why we are being so consistent at winning Junior OECS for so many years,” Bentick noted.

“The other territories have a problem in that they don’t have a full-time coach; apart from BVI who has a full-time coach, but I don’t think they push as hard as we do to recruit kids…. We run the summer camps, we go to the schools, so we are continually recruiting children to play squash,” Bentick stated.

At the 2013 OECS junior championships, which ended here last Saturday, and which the host won again, only the British Virgin Islands and St Lucia contested the 13th edition.

And, apart from being perennial winners, St Vincent and the Grenadines accounts for the bulk of the players who go on to represent the OECS at the Caribbean championships.

Bentick pointed out that in last year’s regional championships, the OECS placed second in the male division, and are holding their own among the bigger territories.

“We don’t get as much exposure as they do. The kids from Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica they played in North America, they do back to back tournaments….Our kids, they play among themselves,” Bentick said in making the comparison.

However, Bentick said he believed that within the last five years the other players from the wider Caribbean are beginning to stand up and take notice of the players in the subregion.

The 2013 Caribbean area Junior Squash championships take place in Trinidad and Tobago in July. (RT)