iSquash and ASB

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  Sep 2016:
 ASB & interactiveSquash bring Virtual Reality to Squash
 to aim at new generation ...

A global initiative to introduce squash to the 'smartphone' generation has been launched in Munich, Germany, following a new joint venture between Munich-based developer Fun with Balls GmbH and the world's leading squash court manufacturer ASB.

Fun with Balls' latest innovation, the interactiveSquash (in short iSquash) concept transforms standard squash courts into interactive training and games centres - for the benefit of both regular squash players as well as newcomers looking for fun in an interactive squash workout.

iSquash uses regular squash equipment and a conventional court. The pioneering system is powered by a unique ball-tracking and projection system which transforms any regular squash court into a digitally-augmented playground or training facility.

The state-of-the-art invention provides a range of options - from simple games where images on the wall disappear when hit, to sophisticated coaching programmes designed for top professionals.

An accompanying interactiveSquash smartphone app, used to select a training module or game also offers a wide range of attractions - with access to a growing selection of games to training programmes. The app also lets players reserve and pay for court time on iSquash courts and other courts hosted at the same club.

Court-side, players can control which games they play from their phones.

Games are designed to be as engaging as possible with multiple levels, lively graphics and sounds. The iSquash motto is to get players moving and active "with a focus on the fun and not the burn!"

Training programmes are designed to hone skills and techniques which are specific to competitive squash. Players will receive instant visual feedback and assessments on their performance.

The iSquash facility has been unveiled at Sports4You in Munich. The family-owned sports centre was founded in 1984 and was one of the first in Munich to adopt squash. Following regular expansion, the facilities now feature 10 squash courts.

We liked the idea of uniting the classic sport with the feeling of a video game," said centre manager Chrissi Holzmann. "Moreover, we are convinced that this new generation of squash will attract more people to it. We're excited to be part of this new development.

"Initially there were two very distinct reactions from visitors and members. The younger group were immediately excited by this upgrade and wanted to try it immediately. The older group was pretty sceptical," Holzmann acknowledged. "They were concerned that technology was intruding into their sport, their passion.

"However, the squash veterans quickly realised that the system still lets them play a proper game of good old fashioned squash, allaying their fears. They became curious and have come to love some of the training modules the system has to offer as a way to warm up."

interactiveSquash founder Markos Kern said: "We have taken the classic game of squash and given it an update for the 21st century.

"For me, the interesting part is that it gets people moving without even realising the sports aspect of it.

"We focus on a very ease use - we don't have different balls or different rackets. From professional squash players, through starters and to very small kids, anybody can have fun with it."

Christof Babinsky, the CEO of ASB, describes iSquash as 'a breakthrough for squash court owners and the digital world alike'.

"The new interactive experience will draw new audiences to the squash court, as well as providing a nice alternative to current players, a powerful training tool for professionals and a great way to get very young kids used to a squash court, even if they are not able to play yet," said Babinsky.

"But, most of all, it is a ton of fun."

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interactiveSquash –
important development for the entire squash community!

From professional players through to squash hobbyists, this exciting new development is tipped to transform the sport like never before. The conventional way of challenging someone to a match involves; going to their court or vice-versa, comparing existing scores or rankings and seeking out your opponent.

However, interactiveSquash provides a platform to play against someone far away and see their stats live. This gives players the opportunity to have a match and connect with people they might never have considered playing with.

interactiveSquash adds an additional element of excitement in unexpected ways to the average squash game. Some games, you have to get used to, but you have a lot of fun once you get it. Take for example the Fish Tank game. It looks like it’s just for kids, but it adds a whole new dimension to squash. A normal match has certain aims, but with a game the objectives change, and you end up learning a whole new way to play.

Any interactiveSquash player can create custom-made squash routines!

The open platform means that anyone, from the average player to coaches and pros, can develop their own training routines. The value of near-infinite combinations of training modules should not be underestimated. In a short matter of time there could be thousands of new ways to train.

interactiveSquash is also beneficial for players who know how to handle a squash ball!

The platform provides more variety in training. Coaches can finally give instant feedback to their players and design unique training programs that keep players engaged for hours. This tracking system can deliver progress reports and lets players compare their skills with hard statistics. This gives players a greater sense of achievement as opposed to the hunch that they usually have to rely on.

interactiveSquash will bring in a new wave of players and coaching methods. Professional coaches and national governing bodies could consider bringing their own ideas of training apps to their new clients. They could also potentially gain revenue from selling their training module through the interactiveSquash platform.

interactiveSquash boosts beginners and first-timers!

Everyone knows that you need to practice hitting thousands of balls before you understand squash. Anybody knows, that dedication and persistence make good squash players. Despite its apparent simplicity, the satisfaction from playing squash often escapes first-timers. They go to a court and start playing. They don’t know how it works or how to warm the ball up. After 30 minutes they throw the idea out the window, because it’s ‘boring’.

The interactiveSquash system means people understand what to do straight away. When their ball hits the targets they feel rewarded immediately, and they want to continue playing. Their learning curve is much better and they progress faster as a direct result of playing interactive games.

interactiveSquash gives fitness enthusiasts a fun new way to train!

20 years ago there weren’t so many trendy sports, so it’s increasingly important that a game is as easy as possible to understand and thrilling. interactiveSquash provides exactly that – simple goals in a variety of exciting, fat-burning, formats.

It gets people moving like never before. It gets people to have fun from the get go and it gets people involved – even spectators who don’t know squash can enjoy watching an interactiveSquash game. This will invariably convert fitness fans into squash fans.”

interactiveSquash supports court owners and employees. It doesn’t just bring benefits for players. It will also support the sport from the ground up. The deadliest thing in the world of squash is the wrong treatment of a newcomer.

This person goes to the counter and asks to try squash. The average club or center employee gladly provides a racket and ball, and leaves the newcomer in the court. The coach or manager isn’t available to help at that moment, and in the end the newcomer leaves the court feeling disappointed and confused by this ‘boring’ game. On the other hand, interactiveSquash is easy to understand, learn, and teach. Even court employees can explain how the games work. They can help newcomers and beginners choose between different games effortlessly.”

More interaction and advice from employees, and maybe even spectators who have seen how the games work, makes the newcomer feel more involved in the squash community immediately. Repeat visitors means more squash being played and more revenue for court owners.

interactiveSquash makes the court a point of interest!

An interactiveSquash match is a spectacle that captures the attention of people sitting outside the court. The points are displayed and the games are visually appealing, making it a talking point for spectators. People will sit at the club longer, because they want to know what is going on in the next court. They will drink another beer, strike up a conversation. Even non-players will get involved in the discussion and tell their friends about the awesome games they say.

interactiveSquash brings players of all skill levels together!

Many sports have beginners – players who are attracted to a sport purely for the sense of fun and association. interactiveSquash invites players to become part of a global community.

As soon as people understand that it’s a tool to connect it will be a big hit. Initial resistance is normal. But, I guarantee, if resistant people get into a [interactiveSquash] court they’ll change their minds. iSquash is addictive, because it’s challenging and fun.

Anyone who has been in a [interactiveSquash] court gets a real understanding of what it is about. It’s probably hard to judge if it’s really good or not from watching others play or from videos. So try as hard as you can to get in a [interactiveSquash] court.

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