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ASC's Sports Growth Program - why no squash ? ?

Published: 10 Nov 2005 - 08:11 by Viper

Updated: 26 Sep 2008 - 09:36

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Further to our discussions on the slide in the game here in Australia, why is squash not involved in this very program designed to assist the growth of sports ? Quote : "Membership growth The Australian Government's sports policy, Backing Australia 's sporting ability – a more active Australia , gave the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) a clear direction to focus on increasing participation in organised sport, particularly at the club and school levels. The policy also seeks to find new ways of establishing partnerships between sport and business to enhance the sustainability of participation growth. The ASC's Targeted Sports Participation Growth Program achieves these objectives. It is a three-way partnership between government, business and sport. The program targets a small number of sports for special support, to grow their business by expanding active membership in clubs and associations. By targeting mostly more popular sports with an already extensive club infrastructure, the ASC aims to achieve significant growth in the number of people of all ages participating in grassroots sport. The ASC’s approach is to work actively in partnership with the targeted sports to deliver a program of sustainable participation growth. The ASC provides both financial and service support to sports. The service support includes access to ASC resources, programs and the expertise of its Sport Performance and Development Group. The following sports currently receive ASC support for their targeted participation programs: Australian Football Athletics Baseball/Softball Basketball Cricket Cycling Hockey Men's Golf Women’s Golf Gymnastics Lawn Bowls Netball Rugby League Rugby Union Sailing Surf Life Saving Surfing Swimming Tennis Touch Football Volleyball

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From raystrach - 22 Nov 2005 - 17:52

this thread went off on a tangent. the unrelated replies to this post have been move to a new thread:

Forum Features Discussion

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From raystrach - 17 Nov 2005 - 11:27

dear aprice

what a good club would do, would be to identify enthusiatic players and draw them into their structure at the appropriate level of commitment/expertise and make them feel part of something. if patrons are not enthusiastic, its their job to help generate that.

most people just want to be loved!

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From raystrach - 17 Nov 2005 - 08:29

dear viper et al

two points
  • in australia, there is a three tier structure - most of the "power" is at the first level - local associations - squash oz has the least ability to change things
  • australia has squash venues right cross the country. it is at the local level  where the action is - if enough locals make a difference it shows at the regional and national level

once i am thru wth this upgrade i will write an article on my experiences

 the idea of the "preview comments" is that you can view your reply without posting. hit the back button on your bowser to go back and edit. i have it set up that the browser will hold those comments in the form. if you lose them when you do this, contact me and i will look into it.

if you  have any real concerns  about posts that do not reflect what you were trying to say, contact me and i will fix

i would just prefer that replies in threads can not be altered after the event. contact me if you wish to argue the case - i am always open to reason! i do appreciate your suggestions and feedback - keep it coming.

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From aprice1985 - 16 Nov 2005 - 19:33

I agree, if i had good service i would be willing to pay for it, but i won't pay just to hire a court and get nothing else like ladder or league thrown in.  Obviously as a student i do have my limits but what i really want is a chance to improve and for that i need some form of servcie

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From Viper - 16 Nov 2005 - 16:47

Any chance of an edit function on the way Ray, it irks me to read back my posts and see spelling mistakes   

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From Viper - 16 Nov 2005 - 16:26

Good serice will always grow a business, in that you are correct.

I don't believe localised increases is anywhere enough to grow the sport as a whole, I am not saying don't strive for it but in isolation it will not turn the sport around.

I very much disagree when you say the peak body is there for the elite, when this is the case (as is the case in snowports) and as it seems to be in squash a insurmountable gulf appears between grass root development and the governing body charged with growing those roots.

Case in point, one could rightly argue that  the peak body is a success as it consistantly produces world ranked squash players, without doubt that is the case and well done.

But the development of these great players have had little or no effect in arresting the decline in squash, there appears no connection between  the two, ie "hey look we have a world champion squash player lets rush out and try that game" 

I believe like skiing a strong proactive hands on connection between the peak body and the grass roots of squash would be more benefical to the game in the long run than another world champion.

Skiing has been thrashing out this very issue of late, worse still they too have blinkers on for the elite but can not manage to produce any world ranked skiers.

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From raystrach - 16 Nov 2005 - 15:37

dear viper

in a funny sort of way much of the discussion in the forum recently has just about come full circle. can i make the relevent points:
  • Although Squash and i suppose skiing has in their charters to develop their sports realistically the only way they can do it is by taking care of the elite.
  • Squash oz employs a part time media officer to try to keep squash news at the forefront of the media as much as is possible (he is the one who writes most of the stuff for the squash oz website - which i built)
  • the whole budget for squash oz for a year would not be as much as the marketing costs of a single big local gym for a year - that aint going to get you far across australia
  • it keeps getting back to money - and here is where the circle is about to close
    • our mate, aprice, says that squash is too expensive but i can tell you that squash is not an expensive sport - it is only percieved to be expensive because aprice gets NO SERVICE he basically can't get a decent game!
    • i ran a squash club/centre in a low socio-economic area and yet my prices were more expensive than most - i offered about 6-8 different  programs to play in
    • no matter what you wanted to do, i offered a service which would probably suit you
    • i did not lose any customers - only gained them - despite putting up prices when i took over  and subsequently
    • i did not get complaints from customers when i put up prices, despite other managers telling me they always got a flood of complaints when they put up prices, even in the slightest
    • why? - because i offered brilliant service - that's what my customers told me
  • like you said, squash has HEAPS going for it
    • if any activity/product/service is high enough on the priority list you will find the money for it
    • it is the job of the club staff to develop their customers' enthusiam for the sport, yet most club managers in australia wear their customers out by trying to get them to play too often!
    • squash needs to become a premium product like it is in some countries and like it used to be in australia and the uk - it is much cheaper now than it used to be and yet it is less popular!
    • we can charge more for the premium product, have more people playing, make it more popular, more courts would be built and then ...

everybody will be happy - and that will be another circle closed!!

how easy is that!

ps. you will soon be able to upload pics with the forum.

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From Viper - 16 Nov 2005 - 08:11

I wonder what the take up of this positive intitative is  'SQUASH IN' FINANICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:

I must say the Squash Australia web site is quite well done and more importantly is updated with news items very regularly, that is something you do by the look of it Ray ?

Seeing if I can post pictures here yet :

No luck I am getting a script error.




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From Viper - 16 Nov 2005 - 07:40

Ray you are in a better position than me to comment, but......

The growth of the sport is specifically one of the peak bodies main charter requirements, to leave that responsibility to court owners is why the sport is where it is today - in decline I believe.

The owners of the businesses are concerned with turning a profit and if they can do that without squash as their main focus they will, hence why so many courts have abandoned the game altogether or now use the courts for other things.

The peak bodies must take the  lead role in fostering the game at all levels.

From what I can see of Squash Australia they operate in a similar way to another sporting peak body Australian Skiing, ie they focus the vast majority of their energy towards the elite players leaving the big picture developement of the sport to..........well.........nobody. Or as you have suggested throw it back onto the court operators.

Again I say squash is in a perfect position at the moment to raise its profile in a big way,:

1. a number of world class players

2. com games in Melb

3. govt throwing money at fat Australia.

4. time poor population looking for quick effective excercise.

Sure court operators can assist the sport if they can boost player numbers of that there is no doubt but the big picture profile of the game is where real gains would be made and this is what the peak body is for is it not ?

I am not suprised they have not got funds if they miss opportunities like ASC's Targeted Sports Participation Growth Program mentioned above.

As I have said before squash needs to make more noise so funding opportunities like the one above is secured.

Do they have a full time sport development officer , do they have a marketing officer ?





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From raystrach - 15 Nov 2005 - 09:53

dear viper

i will declare an interest in squash australia up front as i am a sponsor and also work for them from time to time. i am also a former employee and moderator of the national coaching committee.

i am not an apologist.

my educated guess is that becaue squash does not have a national development manager or coordinator, the opportunity to be part of this would not have arisen. i was their last development manager and i left squash oz about 7 years ago.

 I will repeat my strong belief that squash, not only in australia but around the world is in the hands of club owners/operators. with the right strategies squash will grow again, but it needs energy and expertise. I strongly believe, from past experience, that squash is a service industry/sport. where patrons/players are provided with the right service (that is another post all on its own), they will play.

i have successfully proved this time and time again.  and of course the service that you provide has to be targeted to to your audience.

honestly, the peak bodies have not got enough money to even make the slightest impact on participation. the club operators have got to get their act together and come into the 21st century.  it all comes down to money. once operators know they can make some money out of the sport it will be a boom all over again

but which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

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