WATCH: Have you tried this racquet sport?

How UBCO is helping university students learn the game

Rackets swing and balls fly at the Global Fitness & Racquet Centre, as university students learn what it takes to play the sport of squash.

Providing courts and pro coaching, the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) has partnered with Squash BC and Global to help those who are eager to learn.

“In our partnership, Global has provided us with our squash pro Tom, as well as the courts,” UBCO Recreation Coordinator, Jennifer Callow told Kelowna10.

The university does not currently have squash courts, so this provides a place for students to try out the sport.

“We’re trying to expand our offerings for our students, staff, and faculty, and really focusing on our students,” Callow said.

Squash BC wanted to introduce the sport of squash to university students between the ages of 19 to 25, as they found that most students were introduced to the game in their university years.

“We’ve had so many students come through. Our first program we had 12 students come through and they had such a great experience, and you can see them come into the facility and keep playing,” Callow said.

COVID-19 has made it very challenging to host an educational squash program.

“Luckily enough, we’ve been able to carry on now that COVID restrictions have lightened up a little bit. We’ve really tried to stay safe, and again, follow the provincial guidelines and shut it down when we needed to,” Callow said.

Learning to play squash is just one of many programs Callow is helping host, as she is trying to get students involved in extracurriculars all around the community.

“We’re just trying to immerse them in our community, [and] show them what recreation has to offer.”

Squash pro, Tom van Unen, has coached the sport for the last 20 years.

“The best part of coaching is I love to get people into squash, [and] to get them to get better. My goal is to get them good enough to beat me at some point,” van Unen said.

According to him, squash can be played by almost all ages.

“We try to involve as many schools as possible. We run all sorts of programs so everybody's welcome to Global to tryout and get to know squash, which is a fantastic sport,” van Unen said.

“Squash is the kind of sport that you’re playing for an hour without looking at the clock. You turn around and find out that you’ve been busy for an hour, and it’s the best workout in not too much time.”

Published 2022-04-08 by Keelan Bourdon

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