Females get fit, have fun and try squash with Loughborough Ladies at Loughborough Leisure Centre
During This Girl Can Week, Monday 6 – 12 June, Loughborough Ladies enjoyed getting fit and healthy while having fun, in the spirit of London 2012 by playing squash at Loughborough Leisure Centre, writes Donna Richardson
A friendly and welcoming group, established well over a year ago, Loughborough Ladies always welcome new members, so if you have ever wondered what goes on, on a squash court, Loughborough Ladies can show you what’s what and have you playing in no time.
Every Wednesday evening at Loughborough Leisure Centre you will find a ladies squash drop-in session. Women of all ages are invited to come along, give it a try and meet up with other women to play some squash.
The drop-in session is enjoying tremendous success and one year on, Loughborough Ladies squash group are looking to welcome even more ladies to have fun, get fit and socialise. They are working in partnership with Fusion Leisure, Charnwood Borough Council and England Squash.
Women and girls from all walks of life have picked up a squash racquet after not playing for a while or have started from scratch because there is a lack of other opportunities elsewhere.
There is a fun and friendly atmosphere down on the courts, with expert advice, hints and tips and coaching from some of the best women’s coaches in the county. The group was started by Pauline Young with support from Sally Hurman.
Pauline said: "This started as just a few of us getting together regularly to play some squash but I am delighted that so many others have wanted to join in. Squash is a great game and whatever your level it is a great and easy way to get in shape! "If you enjoy sport you’ll love squash and if you don't usually play sport, you'll be surprised at what squash can offer. It’s a great way to get in shape and have fun.”
In the spirit of the Olympic Legacy, and This Girl Can, the sessions have seen a surge of women embracing the sport. The popularity of the drop-in sessions proves that anyone can pick up a racquet and get involved. All you need is a pair of (white soled) trainers and some enthusiasm and willingness to improve and the group will provide the racquets and the rest.
Lisa Singleton who joined the group recently, said: “I have been practising and have been inspired after an absence of at least 25 years to try to become fitter and to lose some weight. To my amazement I am enjoying it a lot. Thank you very much. I am really enjoying practising. that is the best thing - I love the experience and exercise and now look forward to it every week- that is not how I remember games lessons from school!”
Squash is on the rise
Indeed, many women who have never played before have shown an interest and beginner sessions have also been set up on a Saturday to get even more women and girls benefiting from playing squash.
England Squash has reported a rise in the court sport with 2,7000 more people now taking part nationwide, each week. It is an affordable and accessible sport open to anyone.
So what are you waiting for? Get on down to Loughborough Leisure Centre on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings and Pauline and Sally will soon be getting you playing some rallies once you have mastered the basic techniques and rules.
Sessions for improvers take place at Loughborough Leisure Centre every Wednesday night from 6.30pm until 7.50pm. There is also a Saturday group for beginners, details to be provided.
For more information, call Pauline on 07850498759 or email Pauline@coycon.us.com
Here’s what the ladies have to say
Emily 16, is studying for her A/S Levels at Stephenson Academy and has important exams this summer. Squash provides an important release.
“I have been playing squash for around two years and coming to these sessions for around 6 months. Since then my coach Sally has really helped me to improve my game and technique. I love squash because it is a really sociable game and I have made many new friends along the way and it has improved my confidence. Playing squash is really helping me to relieve some exam stress at the moment. I have been revising for the last few weeks and it is nice to come down here and play some squash and unwind. I recommend any girls or ladies to give it a try!”
Marta Oliviera Childs
Marta is originally from Belo Horizonte, the current training base of the Great Britain team for the Rio 2016 Olympics. She recently opened her new café’ called Bom Bom Patisserie that allows her the perfect work-life balance. Just one day after the grand opening she was playing squash.
“I love playing squash and I am naturally quite sporty so I really enjoy it. Squash helps me to relax after work and meet new people. Day to day I am in chef whites but I love coming down the leisure centre and picking up a racquet. I would definitely recommend it to any ladies. For me, I like to think I am quite fit having played a lot of sport at university, when I was studying for my PHD. As I am from Brazil we love football but in squash I have found another passion too. Give it a try you will love it.”
Ashleigh, 31, originally from Brisbane Australia, moved to Loughborough in February after originally studying in Eastbourne. She played competitive Badminton and wanted to take up a similar sport so she chose squash.
“After moving to Loughborough in February I wanted to find a sport I could get involved in that was similar to Badminton, and I must admit squash is a lot harder but it is tonnes of fun! I started playing a bit at uni and then I wanted to improve my game, these sessions are so great – while I have only been coming a few months, the ladies are really friendly. I find it a great way to keep fit, socialise and to learn a new sport while settling into a new town.”
Veronica, 25, originally from Slovakia now lives in Loughborough and works as Cabin Crew for Ryan Air at East Midlands Airport. She is a beginner and has played about five or six games of squash.
“Working as a cabin crew assistant I need to keep fit for work. As I often travel for work, I wanted to find a way to keep fit that works around my busy life-style. We often do day trips and are home in the evenings but sometimes we work shift patterns, perhaps four days on and three days off. I like the flexibility of these drop in sessions and as I improve I would definitely come again. Since my friend, who is also cabin crew is away in Spain I decided to come along on my own. The ladies are really friendly and I hope to come back as I want to keep fit and learn new techniques. I played volleyball before but with squash I am just starting out.”
Cathy lives in Swannington and travels down to Loughborough regularly to join the group. She has played squash for many years, having been introduced to the sport by her son who started playing at the age of 9 – he is now 34!
“I have been playing for a few years and these sessions are a great chance to get to play with other ladies. I love the competitive element to squash and I have not looked back since I picked up a racquet. I would seriously recommend anyone to give it a try, I love it and if you are competitive and have a good hand-eye coordination and want to get fit, then you will love it too. Give it a try! I am nearly 60 and I feel so fit and healthy, it is a great way to keep fit. I moved away from the area for 30 years and came back five years ago so these sessions are great to settle back into the area.”
Pauline is the brainchild of the Ladies Squash Group and chief coach. She loves being on court and working with the ladies on techniques and improvement and organising group socials. She maintains that squash is all about getting fit and having fun. Day to day Pauline runs a social services consultancy and enjoys developing people. Pauline has always been interested in sport and squash in particular, since taking up this sport 10 years ago when her husband Malcolm introduced her to the courts. She has not looked back since. Recently she teamed up with Sally a former county coach and started the ladies group. Pauline is secretary for Leicestershire Ladies and she works in partnership with England Squash to develop women of all ages in squash whatever their skill level.
“Squash is a great game and whatever your level it is a great and easy way to get in shape! "If you enjoy sport you’ll love squash and if you don't usually play sport you'll be surprised at what squash can offer. It’s a great way to get in shape and have fun.”
Sally has played squash since a teenager even when her son was growing up so knows how the sport can be family orientated. She has a real passion for the sport having played nationally and was a former county junior girls coach. She really enjoys teaching the technical aspects squash and helping her students develop their game, their confidence, their competitive spirit and seeing them improve. She is a key squash coach and loves the rewards that coaching squash gives.
By her friends and colleagues,, both on and off court, Sally is known for her willingness to help anyone from elite or improver to beginner. She has a heart of gold.