The last of six elite junior development training sessions will be held in Connecticut this weekend closing out the first round of the 2013 US Squash Regional Squads program.
In February, US Squash announced the re-launch of the Squads program intended to extend the reach of the National Teams program. The Regional Squads, drawing from the broadest base of talent, increase access to the National Team experience regionally, and develop an elite player continuum from juniors, to college players, to professionals and adults.
An elite selection of 133 junior players ranked in the top fifty in their respective boys’ and girls’ U13, U15, U17, and U19 age divisions participated in the program, which began in April on the West Coast and also involved sessions in the New England, Pennsylvania, New York, Mid-Atlantic, and Connecticut regions.
“I think the main thing about the training sessions is an emphasis on team and the team dynamic, ” said Paul Assaiante, National Head Coach.
“The most contact time that the players have with one another is competition, and it is refreshing to see them take on a training role versus a competitive role, and see the players supporting each other.”
Assaiante and a team of coaches are preparing to host 35 junior players for the Connecticut Regional Squad training session this weekend at The Brunswick School.
In April, the West Coast initiated the first round of training sessions at the Redwood Shores Pacific Sports Resort where 30 players congregated. The squad was led by head coaches Gareth Webber, U.S. National Coach and Squash Professional at the Squash Club of Los Gatos, Kim Clearkin, Squash Professional at the San Francisco Bay Club, and Sunny Hunt, Squash Professional at the Silicon Valley Bay Club.
Saturday, May 5 was host to both the Mid-Atlantic and New England Regional Squads, where Ed Chilton, Head Squash Professional at the Wilmington Country Club, and Peter Heffernan, Head Squash Professional at Meadow Mill Athletic club, welcomed 23 players to Heffernan’s home club in Baltimore for their debut training session.
The New England session was held at Milton Academy outside of Boston where Paul Johnson, former world #4 and private coach, and his coaching team trained 22 players.
This past weekend the New York and Pennsylvania regions were in action at Poly Prep and Sports Club LA and Episcopal Academy respectively.
In New York City, United States national team member, former world #48 and Assistant Junior Men’s Junior National Coach Gilly Lane and Bryan Patterson, Director of Squash at City Squash, coached the largest training session involving 38 junior players at two venues.
Adam Hamill, U.S. Junior Men’s National Coach and Assistant Squash Professional at Germantown Cricket Club, and Alex Stait, former world #52 and Squash Professional at Merion Cricket Club, instructed 23 players in Philadelphia.
“The regional squads have been a great tool for the coaches as well as the players, ” Assaiante said.
“US Squash is working to standardize its approach to elite level coaching and this initiative has been a great way for them to collaborate new ideas.
“It helps that the coaches have the opportunity to work together and actually come up with new schemes, initiatives, and drills to benefit the players, while also fostering a love for the game.
“Our national and regional coaches now have the ability to work more closely with the highest ranked players in each region, and this in turn will help to provide realistic opportunities to represent the USA.”
The next round of Regional Squad training sessions will be November 15 with registration beginning in early September.
For 2013-2014 season, US Squash plans to hold four Regional Squash training culminating in an Inter-Regional Championships in June 2014.