In 2007, the New York Times ran an article about squash possibly giving kids an edge on college applications for highly competitive schools—especially Ivy League schools. It looks like more and more parents have decided to give it a try. Last month, the Wall Street Journal published an article about how junior squash is becoming more competitive, specifically for kids trying to get into a top college or university. “Parents, coaches and squash officials say that in the last three years, squash has become a lot more like other hyper-competitive junior sports: That is, the pressure is making a lot of people spend more money and behave in a somewhat less than refined manner.”
The Wall Street Journal went on to say, “The number of junior tournament players in the U.S. has almost doubled in six years. There has been a more-than-sixfold increase in junior tournament participation on the West coast in the last three years. And about twice as many U.S. High School teams compete in the national championships than did six years ago.”
Parents are spending big bucks hiring private coaches (many of whom are former world champion players) and sending their kids to tournaments all over the U.S. and Europe, while others are even building private courts. All in the hopes of getting even the tiniest edge when it comes to college applications.
While squash has traditionally been an “elite” sport, that’s also changing—somewhat. More and more public schools, public gyms and public clubs are expanding to offer squash. In addition, there are organizations which teach squash to kids who otherwise might not be able to afford it. Here in Baltimore, Squashwise does an amazing job combining academic tutoring with squash instruction. On the college level, more and more non-Ivy League schools now have squash teams… great news for parents looking for an extra “in” at a good liberal arts or even state school. And, while money may buy expensive lessons, it still can’t buy talent.
Besides the possible college application perk, squash is fantastic exercise and can help kids relieve the stress that trying to get into a top-tier school can bring.
The College Squash Association has put together a list of colleges with squash teams.
Looking to start your kids playing squash? Check out our selection of competitively priced squash gear.