Division III Women’s Team Squash Rankings – February 12, 2012

February 18, 2012

Here is the second published ranking for Division III Women’s Squash Teams (click here for the CSA combined Division I and III rankings).  Click here to read the rational for publishing a separate ranking for squash-playing Division III schools. Bates dropping to #2 from #3 is the main change.

  1. Trinity College
  2. Middlebury College
  3. Bates College
  4. Williams College
  5. Mount Holyoke College
  6. Hamilton College
  7. Franklin and Marshall College
  8. Bowdoin College
  9. Amherst College
  10. Wesleyan University
  11. Colby College
  12. Connecticut College
  13. Tufts University
  14. Wellesley College
  15. William Smith College
  16. Smith College
  17. Vassar College
  18. St. Lawrence University
  19. Haverford College
  20. Johns Hopkins University
  21. Rochester, University of

Division III Women’s Team Squash Rankings – February 9, 2012

February 10, 2012

One of the guiding principles of sport “fairplay” is the concept of a “level playing field” – in other words, participants who compete against each other should have access to similar resources and play under similar rules – including rules related to eligibility, recruiting, and access to coaches and training resources (e.g., strength & conditioning coach).

Although theoretically desirable, a level playing field is not always entirely possible.  A very good example of this is U.S. college squash where a number of inequities affect a college’s national ranking.  The most obvious inequity is that there is almost a perfect correlation between academic ranking (e.g., U.S. News College Rankings) and squash ranking(some exceptions), in other words, the best academic schools attract the best high school squash players – perhaps more so than for other college sports, as the use of squash to get into a highly rated college or university is well documented.  This provides an unfair recruiting advantage to the Division I schools, particularly the Ivy League Schools.  Read the rest of this entry »

College Squash: Smith College is First Out of the Blocks!

October 11, 2011

The Smith College Squash Team is the first U.S. College Squash team to start the 2011-12 season!  The Smith College team started practice on Monday, September 12 at 4:30 p.m.

What was the topic of the first practice?  Smith Coach Tim Bacon, the only Level 4 Certified Coach with a Master’s Degree in Coaching in the world (and he is a Registered Mental Training Consultant and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) introduced his team to the two tactical models the team will use to base their improvement plan on:  “The Egg Model” and the “System 3” zone model of tactics.  These models guide players in the shot selection based on the tactical context a player finds themselves in when about to play the ball (e.g., on defence in back of court with difficult ball).  The latest motor learning research has shown that a “tactics first” approach accelerates learning and improves match performance.

How and why was Smith able to start so early, and why are none of the other teams practicing?  According to Bacon “the NCAA rules concerning season length are the single most important factor in the extremely high America College athlete injury rate“. “Although well-meaning, no one in the NCAA has the sport science background to understand proper training planning and methodology – they are only administrators – the result being rules that restrict season to very short lengths – almost ensuring inadequate athlete preparation and high injury rates prior to very intense competitive seasons”.  Read the rest of this entry »

College Squash: Best Housing in the U.S.A. is here!

August 7, 2011

If you play for the Smith College Squash Team you will be living in a “dorm like a palace” – better than any of your competitor schools – including the Ivy’s!  Smith College was ranked 3rd overall out of the 371 best colleges in the United States – and number 1 out of the squash playing schools (there are about 36 colleges with women’s teams).

Smith has already received acclaim for its excellent food, beautiful campus, innovative science programs (such as Engineering), welcoming approach to International students – and Fulbright scholars – so this is another jewel in the crown if you want a college where you can play squash.  If you are a high school student who is looking to play squash and live in a dorm like a palace, click this link and find out more about Smith College!

College Squash: What are you classmates doing for the summer?

August 2, 2011

Well if you are one of the lucky ones that made it into Smith College (a record year for admissions) or you are thinking about playing college squash at Smith College (the U.S.A.’s largest women’s college in the country’s #1 Liberal Arts Town of Northampton) you have two classmates who are going to:  SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL!!!

This is a great example of the type of “women leading” activity which is part of the Smith College philosophy – only available at a women’s college!

Here is a sampling of what the rest of the Smith College Squash Team is doing this summer:

  • Right after graduating co-captain Guyman went to Rwanda to lead a group of high school students in work projects to aid the local children;
  • The team’s other graduating co-captain is buy studying for MCATs to get into Med School;
  • Catie Blunt, Xi Zhao, Szilvi B. Kiss were all working in the Smith Science labs (Smith has one of the top science programs in the country) – Catie managed to flood one of the labs she was working in (sorry – no pics!) – Northampton is a beautiful place to spend the summer!
  • Clair Oblamski is interning at StreetSquash in New york City!

We will update what everyone is doing in college squash in our next post!  In the meantime if you have any questions about college squash or Smith College academics, drop head coach Tim Bacon a line (tbacon@smith.edu) – Tim has been busy doing professional development including a) working on a second strength training qualification Tim is the only College Squash Coach who is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist; b) he filmed the finals of the Women’s Junior World team championships between Egypt and the U.S.A. and will be analyzing the matches using Dartfish (he is the only Dartfish Trained Head College Squash coach) and publishing a report of the tactical tendencies of the two countries.

Smith Squash has new “Official” Athletics Website

November 7, 2010

Check out our new Department of Athletics website at www.smithpioneers.com.  The design was coordinated by new Sports Information Director Abe Osheyack.  We have got Abe a pair of Prince squash shoes and he is coming out regularly to our Rec Play on Wed and Thursday evenings.  The rec play is coordinated by team mebers Clair Oblamski and Jaimi Inskeep – a third year recruited from Smith’s Tennis team whereshe plays #1!  Make sure you check out the new site!

If you are burned out tennis player looking for a college sport at an elite school – contact Smith Squash Coach Tim Bacon @ tbacon@smith.edu – he has successfully converted many tennis players into top college players!  Clair, pictured below, is playing second for the Smith Squash Team in only her second season of squash!

International Student? Why Choose an American Squash College?

September 10, 2009

Reason #1

Most of the Colleges and Universities where squash is played in the U.S. are elite academic institutions – there are only about 30 with women’s varsity squash programs.  Attending one of these colleges is a life transforming experience:  you get the best education alongside some of the brightest people in the world – this opportunity along with the large salary you can receive after graduating makes the $50,000 a year worthwhile (versus a regular university back home or a state college).

That is the single most important reason to play squash at a college – aside from your love for squash.  If you are a female, attending a women’s college, like Smith College,  means that all of the institution’s considerable resources are directed towards making your education better (Smith College has an endowment that has flirted with 900 million dollars) .

It is a very special thing to attend a college in the U.S. where squash is played – and even more special at a Women’s College – here is the opening ceremony for Smith College – America’s largest women’s college (more than a thousand courses to choose from, if you include the Five Colleges):

Why Play Squash at a U.S. Women’s College?

August 29, 2009
Smith College Campus

Smith College Campus

Smith College is one of the oldest and most respected academic institutions in the United States.  At a time when women were not allowed into colleges to study alongside men, one woman stepped forward – Sophia Smith, Smith College’s founder and a forward-thinking legend, was born on August 27, 1796, in nearby Hatfield, Massachusetts. With her last will and testament of March 8, 1870, she willed a portion of her fortune to endow a women’s college. Smith College opened five years later, in 1875. It was her birthday yesterday!

Sophia Smith founder of Smith College

Sophia Smith founder of Smith College

Although the situation has clearly improved for women attending a U.S. College, sexist attitudes, practices and allocation of resources continue to favor men at coeducational institutions – even in amongst the squash fraternity.   Most of the “favoritism” is very subtle, meaning that neither the perpertrater nor affected realize what is happening – you need a degree in Cultural Studies in order to be able to analyze these situations:)

How will this affect a female student in a co-ed school?  Simply put the boys will speak up first in class, her voice may be drowned out during informal mixed gender friend gatherings, boys may be picked first for leadership positions in and out of class – never mind the little “harmless” comments that fly around the campus.

What is clear however is that in terms of education and leadership, the coeducational institutions are unable to match the quality of a women’s college (did you know there were several hundred in the U.S.?) – read about it here.

If you are an America or International student and you want to play varsity squash at a women’s college, you are presented with a very simple choice!  There are only three women’s colleges – all of them top academic institutions.  If you are an international student and have only heard about Princeton, Harvard or Yale (I wonder why that is?), then you need to know that a degree from one of these colleges puts you on the same fast-track carer path after graduation as an Ivy league school.  When you show up at a job interview every interviewer will have heard of Smith, Mount Holyoke or Wellesley College.

Academics aside, what is life as an athlete like at a women’s college?  Luckily our sister college Mount Holyoke (many Smith grads in their Athletic Department:) has put together a very nice video which shows in a very practical way the advantages for playing for a top academic institution like Smith College.  Here is the link to the video:  example of athletics at a women’s college.  When you are done watching, you may want to check out the Smith College Athletics video (put together by some of our Smith Students) and listen to what some of our Smith Coaches have to say here:

South Hadley Winter Scene

South Hadley Winter Scene

What about campus life at a women’s College?  I lived in the town of Wellesley for a few years, and commuted frequently to see friends in South Hadley where MHC is, so know both towns quite well.  If you are looking for a quiet place, where the nearest town action is a good 45-minute bus ride away (infrequent service) both of these towns will suit you.  Wellesley is a “dry” town (i.e., no bars or pubs) although it is close to the highway to Boston if you have a car (30+ minutes).  There are two pubs within walking distance of MHC is you enjoy socializing with the 50+ crowd.

If you want to be 100 yards from a vibrant town with 25+ bars, 50 + restaurants, two theatres capable of hosting top music, dance and drama acts, a movie theatre, and two  rock venues, then there is no better place than America’s #1 Small Arts Town;  Northampton, Massachusetts.  How close is Smith College to town – watch the Smith Squash team jog the 400 yards from the gym to town to try and chat with Mel Gibson on his movie set last year:

Click here or e-mail Head Coach of Squash Tim Bacon for a visit! : tbacon@smith.edu.

ps.  If you want to socialize with boys once you have had your quality class time and obtained your leadership position, there are actually about 10,000 boys studying at College and University within a few miles – some of the quiet ones even take classes at Smith – Joe was a great guy and super student from UMASS who took my Introduction to Coaching class last year:

Smith College Squash Alum Round Robin This Saturday

May 12, 2009

On the occasion of Smith College’s 131st Graduation Ceremony, the Smith College Squash team will be hosting its 15th annual Alumnae Round Robin – for those Alums who are back on campus – and for any other members of the Smith College Community:  this Saturday, May 16th from 3-5 pm at the Squash Courts in Ainsworth Gym.

Both Squash and British Racketball (less adept friends and family members) will be featured.  Informal, drop-in format – come and stay as long as you like!  This might be your best chance of beating Coach Tim Bacon on his new six-month old hip (but he doubts very much you will be able to;).

**Ainsworth Gym may be officially CLOSED at this time, so we will leave the BACK DOOR (by the parking lot) to the courts open for you access – call Tim’s cell if you have a problem:  413-330-8222.

Here is the link to the Ainsworth Gym schedule for this week.

Here is a clip from our 2007 “very exciting” alum round robin!  Hope to see you there!

Smith Squash Alum Rides for AIDS

May 11, 2009

Mimi Zhang played volleyball and squash when she was at Smith College.  She started playing squash in her second year at Smith College and rose to the #4 spot by her senior year.  One of the first students to graduate from Smith College’s world-renowned program in Engineering, Mimi kept playing squash when she moved to Stanford to complete her Master’s in Bioengineering.  Like many Smith College Squash Alums, she continues the Smith College tradition of giving back after her college years.  In an e-mail to Head Coach of Squash Tim Bacon, Mimi writes from San Francisco:

“Dear friends and family,


just 3 weeks I will again be taking one week off to ride my bike from

SF to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for AIDS. Because of

your support last year, the SF AIDS Foundation was able to bring hope

to HIV patients and services to their unmet needs. Because of the

incredible return on your investment that I’ve seen personally through

working with the HIV+ community, I am asking for your help again for

this very important cause.

Will you visit my website: http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/mimi and pledge a donation on my behalf?”

Squash Alum Mimi Zhang rides for AIDS

Squash Alum Mimi Zhang rides for AIDS