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Squash has Mass appeal
DANNY Massaro is widely regarded as one of the best squash coaches in the country.
As an elite sports lecturer at the University at Central Lancashire, he regularly holds presentations and power points to the great and the good of British sport.
But putting smiles on the faces of youngsters at East Lancashire Squash Club is equally as important.
The 37-year-old has been holding coaching sessions at the Dukes Brown club for the last two years.
While unearthing the next big thing is the ultimate aim, just getting more youngsters playing the game is his goal.
“Squash is getting more popular but it is not a mainstream game,” said Massaro, who comes from Mellor. “So the aim is get more youngsters involved, playing the game but just as importantly, enjoying the game.”
Massaro coaches Ashley Davies from Derby, the top ranked under 17s player in Europe, world number 28 Jonathan Kemp from Birmingham and Chorley’s highly talented Bradley Smith.
And there is the small matter of also helping to coach his wife Laura Massaro, the world number four, current British champion and reigning world player of the year.
Massaro has his own unique style of coaching – he asked as many questions as he helps answer.
“Squash is a problem solving sport so while I teach youngsters about the basics of the sport first; holding the racket correctly and playing the right sort of shorts, I also encourage them to solve the problems themselves.
“I could quite easily give them all the answers but if they can solve them themselves, with a bit of prompting, then it will stick.
“It would be great to find a future champion from Blackburn but, at the moment, it is lovely to see young players coming in, enjoying themselves and playing with a smile on their face.”
The junior coaching section was the idea of Andy Wyn-Jones, a long-time squash player, who first ask Massaro for some tips to help his son Max.
“From there, we decided on setting up a coaching section and Danny said if you get the kids there, then I will come and coach,” said Wyn Jones.
The club has just completed his latest coaching course and now has around 15 young enthusiasts.
Courses are held every two weeks with the aim to encourage children to get on the court themselves in between. The aim is to run a longer course from December through to May – with Wyn-Jones acting as Massaro’s able assistant.
“I am no-where near as good as Danny,” he added. “But I have picked up a few things and it is a system that works.
“While Danny is coaching and going through new techniques and get on another court and we go through practice drills.
“I keep the plates spinning while Danny does his magic!”
n For more details about squash coaching courses at East Lancs, contact Andy Wyn Jones on 07970 216711.