New RoadShow & Unforced Errors...
by Phillip Marlowe

Time for a new Squash Roadshow?

Back in the 1990s the Squash Rackets Association, in conjunction with Dunlop, created something called the SRA Dunlop Roadshow.

It visited two squash clubs/leisure centres in a weekend. It ran from around October to April, although not every weekend had an event.

It introduced squash to over 15,000 children.

There were two sessions per day, one in the morning for 5-10 year olds and one in the afternoon for 11 and older. Sometimes we used Mini-Squash in the morning.

Each session was about 2 hours long and included a video, a fun-based exhibition match, along with a 40/60 minute session on court and then a prize giveaway.

We used Dunlop contracted coaches as part of their contract. As part of the agreement to host a Roadshow, a club or centre had to organize affordable courses for all the children who wanted to play.

It was excellent experience for the coaches and even professional players came along to help - It's how I meet Jonah! I worked on it as one of the coaches for 2 years and then ran it for another 2 and loved every minute of it.

Since the discussion sparked by Richard Millman's (he was one of the coaches too, if I remember correctly) piece about the state of the game , it seems to me that this concept would be perfect for creating a new generation of players.

Nothing works better than a national programme, supported by the official association and promoted by a serious squash brand.

The question is, would it work now?

I can't believe it wouldn't.

If anybody is interested in starting the ball rolling, please contact me. I'll help as much as I can - including running the weekends....

The Myth of the Unforced Error

I have been watching those full three matches that PSA Squash TV kindly made available for World Squash Day and a number of times I have heard the phrase "unforced error".

I feel that too many people have bought into this idea of an "unforced error", especially at the top end of the game.

You only need to see some of the most incredible "gets" to know that hitting a winner against these players is tough. Very tough.

Unless, the opponent has actually dropped their racket or some other unusual event, the probability is that whatever shot is played they have a chance of getting it.

Each and every point counts towards the 11, so there are no points where there is no pressure.

When a player misses what seems to be an "unforced error" it's because all the previous points have built a picture in their mind of what's possible. They have to hit close to the tin or sidewall. They have to make it as difficult as possible for their opponent.

There is a build up of constant pressure. There are almost no free shots in squash, even at club level. Some errors are wasteful, some silly and some downright stupid, but not, in my opinion, unforced.

So, the next time you see a shot being called an "unforced error", ask yourself is that really the best name for it.