A new sport for the youth of Nakusp

The new junior squash team is formed at Nakusp Elementary School.

If your child is not a hockey player, finding an activity for them to do in the winter can be difficult, espcially in a small town.

Luckily, a new sports team has been formed: a junior squash team at Nakusp Elementary School (NES).

A clinic was held at the Nakusp arena on Jan. 23 for any student interested in playing.

“I got interested in it when I got a form for it at school,” said Carmen Montgomery. “I decided to go, and thought it would be really fun to learn a new sport.”

Shane Douglas, coach of the newly formed team, is happy there is a new sport in town.

“I think it’s really important because not everybody plays hockey, and squash is very intellectual,” he said.

“In a lot of ways, it’s easier for students to learn to put a ball through a hoop, or to swing a racket. Once they can build success that way, those skills often translate into better confidence, and they improve their marks in the classroom as well.”

Before hitting the court, the team headed into the auditorium and were shown the proper techniques for running, holding the racket, and swinging it.

Students practised without rackets, just getting the feeling of how they should move.

Douglas and his co-host, Kevin Dorrius, were quick to show encouragement if anyone missed a step in their foot work.

Dorrius is president of the squash club in Revelstoke, and got to talking with Douglas about setting up a team in Nakusp when Douglas was in Revelstoke for a tournament.

“Shane was asking lots of questions because we had a bunch of our juniors playing in our adult tournament,” he said. “He left here saying he was going to get some juniors going down in Nakusp. I told him if he got some juniors down in Nakusp, that I’d do anything I could to help them out.”

Each student took a turn at trying out how to properly swing and do their foot work.

After everyone had everything down, they were split into two groups for a warm up.

After the warm up and lunch, the team was separated again, with part of the group staying in the auditorium, and the other part going to the squash court to practise drills.

One might think squash is very similar to tennis. Not quite…

“The squash ball bounces very different than a tennis ball. The squash ball really doesn’t bounce that aggressively, whereas a tennis ball bounces,” said Dorrius. “The other big difference is in tennis, you’ve got a wide open space, and you don’t have to worry about the ball coming back in off the walls.”

The team went to Revelstoke in February, about 12 people went, including four parents.

Since the team was formed, Douglas has noted a huge difference in the players, and the progress they’re making.

Douglas is happy there is interest in the squash team, and is hoping that interest grows.

“I’m hoping that we can get more and more people to come out and play squash, and to get better, and to get a bigger squash community in Nakusp.”