By Samantha Cornett (#1 ranked Canadian, Pan-Am Games medalist)
There is a good chance that you don’t know everything that squash has to offer.
No, I’m not going to lecture you about eating your vegetables. The benefits of squash are much more intriguing. The sport of squash offers a wonderful atmosphere. It’s an opportunity to travel the world, meet interesting people, challenge yourself, and get that sculpted bum you always dreamed of. Squash can be played throughout your entire life as a full time professional or just for fun and fitness, and everything in between.
And is it ever a workout! In a study by Forbes magazine, squash was found to be the healthiest sport and the best workout. You will burn more calories than cross country skiing, swimming, running, rowing and basketball, among others. It comes as no surprise, since squash relies on shuffling, lunging, twisting, and diving! It can be used as cross training for sports where quick feet and endurance are a must, such as tennis and hockey. And workout aside, it’s a whole lot of fun too, especially if you like a little friendly competition.
Professional squash players have the opportunity to travel to every corner of the world. Through the sport I’ve been to England, Hong Kong, New Zealand, India,
Peru, Guatemala, Belgium and more. You can find a squash court almost anywhere you go, and the local squash communities are super welcoming.
Canadian squash players are finding a home in the relatively new National Squash Academy. It is a centre that provides an amazing training environment for high performance athletes. The same resources are available to all members: ten courts (two of them are all-glass), a 40-meter indoor track, free weights, spin bikes, personal trainers, and massage therapy. Not to mention the quality of the coaches: Jonathon Power, former World Number 1 and former World Champion; Gary Waite, former World Number 12 and World Number 1 hardball player; and Jamie Nicholls, a former Canadian squad member and an experienced coach. Helping them are the many touring pros that are based out of the National Squash Academy. Jonathon, Gary, and Jamie are helping the up-and-coming players by providing coaching, advice, structure, and contacts around the world. Their leadership has resulted in the NSA becoming an internationally recognized squash club, where players come from around the world to train.
All of this is taking place in the picturesque yet bustling Downsview Park. There is also access to rock climbing, basketball, soccer, hockey, paintball, go-karting, the roller derby, a secondary school for athletes, a circus school, and a restaurant. The National Squash Academy opened in August of last year, and it’s already a well-reputed squash hub having recently hosted the National Squash Championships.
Come check it out!