Squash News From Around The World - Serious Squash
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Mar 5 2021 7:36AM
I'm always looking for a new squash thing to get into. For those who have followed my journey of Serious Squash, I've designed merch, started a podcast, sold instructional videos and even designed a custom racquet. Serious Squash is always active on social media and I enjoy trying to explore new squash related avenues.
While in lockdown I started researching and getting into crypto. I did this a few years back and have always kept an eye on this market. I was intrigued by the idea of a new monetary system and not having to rely on banks or the stock market for investments and loans.
One are of crypto that has caught my eye recently was NFTs (non fungible token). If you don't know what an NFT is I will try to explain it. Basically an NFT is something digitized that can be traded and old over the open market. The NBA has started something called Top Shots where they sell short video plays from their stars. These are listed edition and in some instances only a single copy of a play can be sold. A Lebron James dunk recently sold for well over $100,000. The owner now has this exclusive video and will be the only owner of this video clip. They have the option to then resell this on the open market when and if they decide to do so. This is basically like a virtual basketball card.
NFTs are also been using a lot in video games and artwork, Just this week someone transferred a Banksy painting into an NFT and afterwards burnt the original painting to increase the value and ease of sale of this artwork. It was a $70,000 piece of art and I imagine the price will increase even more now. I know it sound crazy, but there are a lot of very good reasons to do such a thing. If this person wants to sell the painting they now have access to a larger population and they can sell it instantly over the internet without having to ship a product.
A lot of sport teams are also starting to take advantage of NFTs. Some soccer teams are using them as a virtual ticket to their games and others are adding bonuses, like a virtual trading card of a star on their team. I realize that it's difficult to comprehend the value of an NFT, but I do believe they will be a mainstay in our world and they will continually provide more and more use cases for them. In fact, Kings Of Leon just released their newest album only on NFTs. The possibilities are really endless.
So what does this have to do with squash? Well yesterday I decided to create the very first ever squash NFT! The trick is that an NFT has to be under 30mb so my video had to be pretty short. I decided to use a video where I did a cool new solo drill. I was also able to determine how many total I am allowed to sell and how much people can buy it for. I decided to offer a maximum of 10 copies of my NFT and the price is .01 Ethereum per NFT.
So I'm sure you're wondering, 'why would I buy an NFT of your video if I can watch it online for free or even screen record and save a copy for free?' Well this goes for every NFT on the marketplace. The NFTs are sold through the blockchain, meaning that this is the only way to own an official copy of something. All other copies are simply a replicate like a burned dvd.
I realize this is not for everyone. But if you are into squash and also crypto (which is probably about .000000001% of the global population lol) then I thought this might interest some people. And for that small percent of people that would like to look at or perhaps even purchase the first ever squash NFT you can do so here:
I strongly believe the PSA will eventually get into NFTs as they are excellent for engaging fans and for generating extra revenue streams. Think about how cool it would be if you could purchase the ownership rights to a shot of a month by your favourite player? Who wouldn't want to won a copy of that crazy rally with and Gaultier? What about an epic dive by Paul Coll or a wild celebration by Asal? The possibilities are endless and it's only a matter or when not if for the PSA. At least I can say that Serious Squash was ahead of the curve and got things rolling in the right direction.
Jan 19 2021 2:14PM
With all of this excess spare time I've come up another Serious Squash side project. What I've created is a video series called, Story Time. The goal of Story Time is to share short informational videos on specific areas surrounding squash.
We are in a full lockdown so I can't access to the courts or the gym to film at this time. I only haver a few more on court clips to post, but I though that I could still create some useful content from home.
I'm going to have some fun with this and I'll keep the episodes coming as long as we are in lockdown. In the first episode I provide my 4 main tips for getting more out of your solo practice. If you haven't already seen it you can watch it here.
Episode 2 will be dropping tomorrow and it's about the future of squash. I basically discuss how challenging this pandemic is and is going to continue to be on all of us. Whether you're a casual player, a professional, a coach or a club owner, we are all in a really challenging position.
Are our numbers going to drop significantly? What does the future of tournaments looks like? How many professionals are going to retire in 2021? How many clubs will close down for good? I don't think we will fall completely off the map like racquetball did, but I do think things are going to be tough in our industry for a long time to come. I'm really interested to hear everyone's opinions so make sure you watch episode 2 and comment.
If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the Serious Squash YouTube channel so you can stay connected with all the latest content. YouTube will be the only place I'll be publishing episodes of Story Time. YouTube.com/SeriousSquash
Jan 11 2021 1:21PM
It's been a pretty busy fall and start to winter so I'm well behind on blog posts. I do have a lot of updates since the last post. I've had a number of new podcast guests since the last blog post. I've had squash legend Mike Way on discussing Ali Farag, Jonathon Power and college squash. I also recorded a tribute episode to Canadian squash legend, Stuart Dixon. The most recent episode featured Bob Bowers who is 1 of the top squash trainers in the world. If you're interested in training this is a must listen to episode. You can listen to these episodes wherever you listen to your podcasts by searching 'Serious Squash Podcast.'
In other news I'm up to episode 87 of Squash Shots. There's a new episode every Monday morning. If you want to learn more you can check it out at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash or on Instagram @SeriousSquashShots
Aug 18 2020 11:18AM
In the most recent podcast I had longtime friend and college teammate, Greg Hutner on. Greg is a 3x Canadian Junior Champion and was 1 of the top players at Western University. He know runs one of the top junior programs in the country at Mayfair Lakeshore in Toronto. In this episode we discuss junior and college squash and have fun remembering some of our old squash days. Here's the link if you'd like to give it a listen: Episode 3: Greg Hutner
If you want to stay updated on all things Serious Squash sign up for the email list: Serious Squash Email List
That's all for this week. Stay tuned for the next couple of podcasts as I have on some of the top coaches in the world. Also, consider subscribing to Squash Shots which gives you a weekly exclusive video. This week the video is on the front forehand corner when you have time and next week I look at the differences in this area when under pressure. Learn more at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash
Jul 29 2020 5:54AM
I'm really enjoying interviewing some insightful and knowledgeable squash coaches. In episode 2 I interviewed Graeme Williams who was the head coach in Windsor for 7 years and is now in the US coaching. While in Canada he had a great junior program and was also the Women's National Team coach. We discuss a lot about junior squash, the differences in squash and coaching from England to Canada to the U.S., the PSA, CSA and his thoughts on a few technical ideas about squash.
Something all the coaches I've interviewed have in common so far is they are so passionate about squash. There's also been some similarities and also a few differences in their philosophies about squash and coaching. I've learned a lot so far and I know you will too.
The full episode will be released tomorrow morning. You can find it wherever you listen to your podcasts or from the following link: https://anchor.fm/serioussquash
Episode 3 is also another great interview featuring a good friend and a big time coach for junior squash in Canada. This episode will drop in 2 weeks so make sure you subscribe to the podcast or the email list below to be notified when new episodes and other Serious Squash stuff is happening.
A mentioned there is a new Serious Squash email list. Since Serious Squash is all over the net (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Patreon, Podcasts, a shop and this blog) I thought it would be easiest to have a central place where I can email out the occasional update on all things Serious Squash related. If you'd like to subscribe you can do so here: Serious Squash Email List
Jul 16 2020 7:10AM
Throughout the pandemic I've been listening to a bunch of podcasts and I've even been interviewed for a few squash ones as well. Last weekend I had the idea of creating a Serious Squash podcast. Instead of simply interviewing the backgrounds and stores of squash players, I've decided to focus on interviewing the top coaches and sharing their expertise. I may know a lot of things about squash, but there are plenty of things I still don't know.
Jul 10 2020 12:08PM
College squash in the US seems has made our sport boom. Thousands of junior squash players from all over the world train and dream for a chance to play on a varsity squash team one day. A lot of big name ex-PSA players are now coaching in the US which helps recruit and train these players which in turn is increasing both the popularity and the caliber of squash.
Because of covid-19 it's difficult to know how next season in the College Squash Association (CSA) is going to shape up. It seems clear that the start of the season is going to be pushed back, but there has been a lot happening since the completion of the 2019/2020 season. A lot of schools have said they are starting with online courses and many international students may not be allowed back in the US for the fall. The US college squash system is changing in many ways at the moment and it could have a major impact on squash as a whole. A few months ago I would have said that the CSA was stronger than ever; the caliber of the athletes, coaches and the sheer number of teams participating was at an all time high. Now in July there is a lot of reason for concern.
I know for a fact that I never would have went to university if I couldn't have played varsity squash. College squash was such an amazing experience which I'm so thankful for. As someone who played at varsity level and is now a coach of a varsity team I'm shocked by the decisions of Brown and Stanford to cancel their squash teams. Squash wasn't the only varsity sport to be cancelled at either program and the schools make it sound like this is a permanent change. Last season Brown finished 12th in the womens, 15th in the mens and Stanford was 6th in the women's. Those are strong results in a super competitive league.
These decisions were made so late that I doubt the squash players at these school will be able to transfer for next season. They have likely already confirmed their residences and have their courses picked; it's really a shame for them as well as the coaches of these programs. It's even worse for the incoming freshmen who were recruited to play on these squash teams and now will not have a chance to live out their childhood dreams. This hits close to home because I know 2 of Stanford's incoming players were top Canadian juniors.
Brown made a statement saying their decision had nothing to do with money or covid. They further claim to continue to support the team with the same amount of funding to play club squash, even though their alumni support will surely diminish without their variety status. On the other hand, Stanford claims to be doing this for economic reasons even though they have a 27 billion endowment fund.
Mark Talbott is the long standing coach and has approximately a 5 million dollar squash endowment fund. Mark and his staff raised all of the money for his teams so it's tough to see his years of hard work crumble. So even though Stanford claims these sports were all cut because of cost, it's obvious that this wasn't true for squash. Apparently squash doesn't fit into the Stanford athletic model. Dartmouth also just announced that they cut some sport teams as well, but thankfully squash was not one of them. Who will be next to fall?
Are there more teams that will suffer a similar fate? Are these decisions purely financial? Does covid play a part or this timing purely coincidental? What will next season look like? How many students will drop out because of this?
Clearly I have more questions than answers. As a squash supporter, alumni and college coach I'm really concerned; we all should be. I'm not only worried about my own job, but about the strength and future of the college squash game. The CSA was driving our sport as much or perhaps even more than the PSA and if it begins to falter I'm worried about the future of our sport. How many coaches will have to find a new career? How many juniors will pick up a new sport or hobby? How many clubs will never reopen? Is squash being exposed because we are not in the Olympics and not officially a part of the NCAA?
Brown reinstated their track and field team because of the public backlash that most of their athletes were black. I doubt race had any part of why Brown cut their track team, yet this was the reason the sport was reinstated. Does squash need more diversity or is this a completely separate topic? Squash is a sport that people from all over the world play, but yet we it was not reinstated. If the Brown squash team had more black players would the school have been pressured to reinstate squash as well? I know it's an uncomfortable question to consider let alone ask, but there appears to be some truth behind this line of thinking. I have a full sleeve of tattoos, and I know that was not always well received when competing at US schools. Even though I'm caucasian I know for sure I've been stereotyped countless times. Part of the reason I decided to get all of my tattoos is that I wanted people to judge me for who I am, not for who I look like. I know it sounds a bit unsure, but it's true. If you don't like me because I have a tattoo that's on you and no skin off my back. I have to finish his thought by saying that yet I did compare my tattoos to someone being subject to racism, but I know they are 100% not the same thing. I made a choice what to do with my skin while others were born with theirs and nobody should be judged or ridiculed based upon something like that.
Compared to the current pandemic and the issues revolving around racism, squash doesn't isn't too high on the priority list of the state of the world; nor should it be, That being said, squash has been a huge part of my life for 30+ years. College squash was one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. This is where I made most of my best friends and when I was also the most dedicated and trained the hardest. Nothing beats training and competing alongside a group of friends. I sympathize for everyone that will miss out on a similar experience.
These times are unprecedented so it's impossible to know what's in store for college squash and squash in general. There's been a pile of PSA players retire (which I unfortunately predicted at the start of covid) and now 2 varsity squash programs have been cut. When Brown cut their program I thought it was a 1 off and that college squash would be fine, but after Stanford's announcement this week I'm left with a lot more worry about the future of squash and in particular the CSA.
I don't like writing about negative news on my blog, but this is the world we're living in and the current state of our sport. We have to all stick together and support the clubs and programs to make sure they are still here for us in the future. I know I'm a little biased, but squash really is the best sport on the plant and college squash is the pinnacle for most players. Stanford and Brown may not believe in the importance of variety sport and in squash, but I do!
Jul 3 2020 10:51AM
This week is going to be short, but sweet. One of my favourite people, Nicole Bunyan has started a Patreon account. She's from Victoria, BC which is how I know her. We've trained together and hit many times over the past decade. She went to St. Michaels, which is where I coached and was a long time member of the Victoria Squash Club. Even though she's been living in the US for awhile now, I always try and get her involved in coaching my junior program whenever she's back home for a visit.
Nicole is super active, fit, incredibly humble and intelligent. She graduated from Princeton (I'm not sure how many times she was an all American) and on top of being a professional squash player, with a current PSA ranking of #65 she has also competed and done very well in triathlons. She has a wide range of knowledge when it comes to exercise, nutrition and squash. She's always been a terrific role model and I've never seen her low on energy even though she is always on the go.
I believe she has the firsthand experience that can help a lot of athletes (not just squash players) and I will certainly be recommending my athletes to subscribe to her page. I encourage you to check out her account and give her bio a read. I'm confident if you subscribe that you will not be disappointed. Here's the link: https://www.patreon.com/nicolebunyan
On the Serious Squash front there's just a few short updates. I've paused the Serious Squash Shop for the time being. While clubs were closed not much was selling and it's not cheap to keep the site in operation. Also at this time, Canada Post isn't shipping to many countries so that makes things more difficult. I do have a new batch of Serious Squash tees. They are Canadian themed now that I'm back in Canada and available for $35 by emailing or messaging me. Again, unfortunately I can only ship them within North America. I've sold half of them if the first week so get 1 soon or they'll be gone.
I also did my final squash specific live home workout yesterday. There's now a list of 12 if you want to get into better squash shape from home. Here is the link to the playlist: Workout Playlist
That's all for this week. Thanks for the read and hopefully if your club is back open you are enjoying being back on court. I know I sure am!
Jun 26 2020 8:36AM
About a month ago I had the idea to design a sport psychology workbook. I've always been interested in this topic and I've enjoyed reading about and coaching it. I'm done my first draft and today I'm going to post a section from it. The goal of this workbook is to make a simple, effective and practical tool that any athlete could benefit from. An athlete could pick a section that interests them and in 5-10 minutes have a new idea or redesigned mental tool for their sport.
The sections I'm sharing today is titled 'Fearlessness vs. Recklessness (Unwavering Confidence).' It's basically about how some elite athletes are able to maintain their high level of self-belief regardless of recent struggles. I discuss examples from various sports and provide insights into how I have improved in this area over the years.
As of now the workbook is 21 sections and each section begins with my persona experience as an athlete and coach and an overview of the topic and then I conclude with a practical implication. These implication areas will guide you through developing or modifying that specific tool for your game.
The workbook is designed for athletes of any sport, even though my expertise is squash. Feedback is appreciated. It's just the first draft so I know there are still some parts missing. Even though incomplete I thought it would still be useful to post a section form it. I'm still unsure how I'm going to publish/post this workbook, so I will share this information when it's complete. Without further ado, here is section 8.
- Are you afraid of making errors?
- Do you tense up during pressure times of a match?
- Do you play to win or not to lose?
- How does your most recent success impact your current confidence?
- What is your self-talk like when things aren’t going their best? Is it helpful or damaging?
- Do you use a conscious deep breath as a part of any of your routines?
- In the space below write out a detailed (it can be short and precise) routine that will help you relax and remove unwanted tension during competition.
I hope you enjoyed this section. I'd appreciate any feedback you may have. My email is info@SeriousSquash.com
Jun 17 2020 10:43AM
Squash Canada recently announced their fall schedule which will include the make up dates for the 2020 National Championships. Solo hitting is now allowed in many clubs here in Canada so it's great to see us getting a bit closer to our 'new normal' which will include squash. For the upcoming national championships Squash Canada selected hosts which have previously hosted large events which will make the operations run slightly smoother, if indeed they do run as planned. I realize every athlete wants the opportunity to play in their annual national championship, but we are in uncertain times.
I'm going to go through a few of the reasons I have issues with this rescheduling. The first being is that people outside of Ontario are not going to want to book flights and accommodations for something that at best is 50/50 to occur. Currently people aren't travelling and you should only do so if it's essential. You need to plan ahead for traveling to a big tournament and I don't think many people are going to feel comfortable booking travel right now.
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