The Smith Squash Team Wants You!
The Smith Squash Team is looking for dynamic women interested in fitness and learning new physical skills to come and tryout!
“I have never played before – can I tryout for the team?”
In the last 15 years only a handful of Smithies played high school squash before coming to Smith – so the answer is “yes” – you can definitely learn the game and make the team (like hundreds of women before you)!
“How many women make the team?”
The team supports up to 20 people in the program: the top 10-12 make up the Varsity squad and the remainder make up the developmental squad. Those not making the team this year are encouraged to learn and improve their squash participating in the Monday & Wednesday Recreational play (7-8:30 p.m.), the Squash Ladder and Box League (arrange your own games) and ESS Classes (play squash for academic credit!) and to come out again next year.
“How good do I have to be to make the team if I have never played before?”
Well this depends on how “athletic” you are – which depends on how much sport and games (particularly ball games) you did with your parents, siblings and friends (blame the parents:) – and how much prior sport experience you have had. Willingness to work hard, intelligence and a good attitude are the most important tools, but here are some general guidelines:
- If you are already on a varsity team at Smith that involves a ball, you can probably make the top 12 in your first year.
- If you are at an advanced-intermediate level or higher (played for your high school or club) in another racquet sport you can probably make the top 12 in your first year.
- If you have participated at a recreational level in several ball sports and have a good level of fitness or are a member of a Smith Varsity team in a non-ball sport, you can probably learn enough squash-specific skills to make the top 12 in your second year in the program.
- If you do not fit one of these three categories but work hard on your squash and fitness you can probably make the top 12 in your 3rd or 4th year in the program – an amazing feat in itself!
“I am on a Fall Sport team at Smith now – won’t I miss the tryouts?”
No – we extend the tryout period for Fall Sport athletes until the second week in November. This allows you to enjoy your fall season, take a week off for a breather and to catch up with your studies, and then come out for the team (we have a “catch-up” program).
“How fit do I have to be to come out for the team?”
You should at least have an average level of fitness which you can read about here. The average 17-year old girl can run a mile in about 10 minutes and do 30-40 curl-ups (sit-ups) in a minute. You should be able to jog at about that pace (10-11 minutes a mile) for 30 minutes in order to start squash training.
“When does the team practice?”
Along with 300,00 other college student-athletes in the U.S., the team practices for about 2.5 hours in the 4-7p.m. time block. Members of the Smith College Team must attend 4/5 practices. The season starts October 6th and runs until the end of fall semester classes, recommences at the start of Interterm on January 5th, and finishes at the National Championships a few weeks later on February 15th, 2009.
“When does the team compete when classes are in session?”
The official schedule is posted here, but there are matches on two Saturdays before the holidays, and one weekend tournament at the start of December. After interterm there are three Saturday competitions.
“How much will I learn and how good can I get?
If you are of average athletic ability and with the team for four years you should be able to go into any squash club in the world and have a good, fun game of squash with any member in the club! Any less than that and you will get a great start to a wonderful sport. Squash is one of the easier racquet sports to learn (played in more than 150 countries around the world), and is the world’s #1 fitness sport – better for you than running, swimming, rowing and biking!
“Anything else I should know?”
The tryout period is normally two weeks – two weeks of practice to see if the squash team is for you – and two weeks to see where you fit into squash at Smith College: the top 12, developmental squad or recreational programs. In this day and age with so many activities competing for our time there is nothing wrong with “giving something a try”. Once December 1 rolls around, if you are still practicing with the team it is expected that you have committed yourself 100% for the rest of the season.
“OK – I want to try out. What should I do?”
Well first you should at least get out and give squash a try if you haven’t already. The Racquet Sports Clinics on Monday and Wednesday evenings (7-8pm) are ideal for this – you learn a bit of squash, racketball, badminton and ping-pong – a great way to find out if you are suited for racquet sports!
After October 6th the clinics will stop, but recreational play will continue at the same time with a member of the squash team supervising.
Contact Tim Bacon (firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 2715) for more information on the clinics, recreational play, or trying out for the team. Important: in order to try out for the team you must have had a medical check-up in the six months prior to coming out for the team (i.e., after April 6, 2008), and must complete a number of online forms three days prior to practicing.
Here is last year’s team (2007-08) at a women’s professional squash tournament at Vassar College. The young looking guy n the t-shirt and white hair is Al Gordon – the team’s milliionaire benefactor who pays Tim’s coaching salary and who supports other aspcts of our program (t-shirts with neames on them, rec squash, etc.). Here is a link to his 105+ yr. old dad who donated our current squash courts. We were watching Natalie Grainger, top 10 player (former World #2), and Latasha Khan, U.S. #2.