The 2015/2016 season has been intense and demanding but overall extremely exiting. During the last 18 Months elitesquash has moved to a new club in the beautiful riverside location in the center of Bristol and with an incredible team of friends and employees turned a tired but prestigious squash venue into a modern and fresh space for all things active and social with squash and gym at its heart. There is still a way to go and now we have an excellent new team on board with expertise in creating successful independent gyms and in bringing this together with the squash the future is looking very exiting.
There are many things the last year has taught me and during the ups and downs, sleepless nights and periods of exhaustion it is clear that to build something special you need a team effort. You will hear the worlds top players talk about this and how important it is to help sustain consistency, quality and progression. And as I reflect on this amazing season, there is an overwhelming sense of community that is behind some of the best performances our elite players have ever had. As a coach I spend most of my waking day thinking and examining trends and ideas that bring the best results. But one area I have certainly spent some time on is what environmental changes can help to create a happier, more independent, confident and successful squash community. Of course everyone is different so there is no single formula but to some extent if players love what they do and where that happens, as well as sharing their squash journeys with others who they trust and respect, this becomes extremely powerful and effective and I believe this contributes greatly to success.
Bristol is known for its community spirit with street parties and festivals happening all year round and with two universities there is an abundance of young people buzzing with energy and ideas. The city positively effects the way we feel on a daily basis and there is no doubt the relaxed and creative culture has influenced our coaching style. This is contagious and I believe our young professionals share this buzz and feed off it then take this onto the court during practice and training. We simply all love living here.
Every successful squash environment needs a hero or group of hero’s and we are very lucky to have two of the worlds best. The knock on effect of Mohamed and Marwan El Shorbagy’s successes and presence is felt all the way down through the professionals, club players to our youngest juniors. They are very approachable, friendly and inspirational people and their presence in the club sends waves of enthusiasm through the members. We have seen and felt the boom in club level adult squash and junior development and these players feed off the energy of being part of a club including the world best.
The other huge part of our club squash boom has been down to Richard King and John Welton who between team have poured their energy and expertise into the various departments within the club including coaching, organizing, motivating and socializing. Assisting them has been Charlotte Weldrake and Declan Heaslewood who have tackled the mini squash program and created a buzzing group of children and tying us all together and keeping things under control; Laura Tucker our admin wizard. Thank you so much elitesquash team!
So it is no coincidence that both professional and developing squash players are progressing fast as their communities expand together. That is also down to a common passion for the game at all levels with no egos or politics in the way of everyone making the most of what they want from the sport be that having fun at a social club night or being the worlds best player.
Here are our main success stories this year at elite level of which we are extremely proud:
Mohamed El Shorbagy – World 1
6 world series titles in a row including the highly prestigious British open
Breaks highest ever points average in PSA tour rankings
PSA player of the year
13 Months ranked world number 1.
Marwan El Shorbagy – World 6
Winner Grasshopper cup beating World 2 Greg Gualtier in the final
PSA young player of the year
Tom Ford – World 67
Winner 4 PSA titles
Josh Masters – World 81
Winner 2 PSA titles and semi final Wimbledon £25K
Youssef Solimon – World 106
Winner 3 PSA titles
British open Junior champion
James Peach – England number 2 U19
British Junior champion
Semi final Madeira PSA
Ellie Epke – World 118
British under 23 finalist
Karina Tyma – England 4 U17
Runner up English championships
Toby Harding – England 7 U17
Winner Ipswich silver event
Rebecca Heaslewood – England 30 U15
Winner Bristol Bronze U15