Sporting Story: Squash - by Angela Smith

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Angela Smith is a former world champion squash player, winning the 1979 Women's World Team Squash Championships, and she was one of the world's highest ranked players throughout the 1980's.  Playing squash has allowed her to travel the world and she has been involved in numerous initiatives internationally to develop the sport.  She is currently chair of Stoke City Supporters Council, a director of the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation, and chairs the European City of Sport Local Organising Committee.

When I cast my mind back to how I started in the sport, luck played a part.  I played tennis at Hanley Park with friends and this particular summer, it was a pretty dull wet affair. As a result, most of our games and practise were called off.  My mum had seen a couple of lines in the Evening Sentinel newspaper which stated that 3 squash courts had been built at Northwood Stadium and mentioned it in passing, so myself and Tony Gordon decided to go along and take a look on one of the days when rain stopped play.

To be honest, we had no idea what squash entailed, other than it was played in a room which was like a box with a door and that was it. It is fair to say that my and Tony's first entry into the sport was low key, we didn't even know that you had to get the ball warm in order for it to bounce! Luckily (again) the manager gave us a couple of rackets and a swift recap of a few simple rules and our love affair with squash began. We booked the court for the following week in case it rained, it did and we became hooked on the sport.

The great thing about squash is that you can get an enormous amount of exercise in a short amount of time and you don't need to worry about the weather. You can always find players of all standards at local clubs due to the league systems where you can play competitively if you wish.

Squash appealed to me because of the amount of exercise I got quickly, the way I could hit the ball to get rid of any frustration and aggression that I had and the social aspect was good too.

I was "sporty", playing tennis and hockey for the school and I was okay at other ball game and athletics, but I was pretty rubbish at gymnastics and dance so I do understand why some people don't like sport at all. The fact is that when we get to around 15 life changes and we have to consider serious study or working!

Squash will give you a workout in a short space of time as you move into adulthood and if you are already in adult life it will help you exercise some muscles that you may have forgotten exist!