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New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) has granted $70,000 to Squash NZ (SNZ) to bolster the establishment of a sustainable coaching development system. The funding will also be used to enhance the professional development of coaches at squash clubs and to implement a competition management system.
Martin Dowson adds -
Coaching development is a clear strategic priority as it’s essential to optimise our players’ personal development. We currently have a lack of active and capable coaches who can support clubs and schools to grow their participation, so we sought funding for a new coaching development leader role and for coach mentorship associated with our 2024 campaign to attract more coaching into clubs.
In addition, our new initiative to support more clubs to introduce quality professional coaching programmes, is part of our new campaign 'Let's build the future of squash together'. We’ll work closely with 'early adopter’ clubs and propose to provide each club and their identified new club coach with a coach mentor. Our application requested 120 hours of coach mentorship to work with these early adopter clubs to optimise success and sustainability. All coach mentors have proven history and knowledge on how to set up club programmes and we’ll match each mentor accordingly with each club.
This grant will immediately benefit the development of our coaches - both the leadership of our programme and several coach/mentors who will work with new club coaches who want to become full-time. Our mentors will be funded to dedicate time to share their experiences and support these aspiring full-time club coaches to develop their business and approach to enable a sustainable income.
Coaching creates a positive experience for those who want to either improve and/or who are trialling squash for their first time, both of which are critical for the future of the sport. This year, we’re encouraging clubs to focus more on their coaching (for more details on our club uplift programme see - https://thefuture.squashnz.co.nz/new-changes/club-uplift).
NZCT’s GM Grants. Marketing and Communications, Ben Hodges explains “We agree that quality coaching experiences are perhaps the single most important thing sport can provide to ensure people, especially young people, remain engaged in sport. We thank the hospitality venues throughout New Zealand that partnered with NZCT to raise funds for this grant.
SNZ has used ‘iSquash’ as its technology platform for member, club, and competition management system for the last twelve years. Over the last two years, we’ve been working with Frello to replace iSquash. Frello is a 'best in class’ integrated club management system. SNZ has committed over $100,000 from our reserves to implement this technology plan and we’re excited to introduce it to our members.
With an enhanced and modernised competition management system that will integrate the original source code of iSquash with Frello, SNZ will be able to remove some financial barriers to making the sport more accessible to our wider community. It will be user-friendly and have much greater functionality, saving more volunteers’ time, enhancing our member’s experience, and provide SNZ with sustainable funding by capturing features attractive to the casual market.
It will not only generate a sustainable increase in revenue for squash by creating new features that will attract non-club members to subscribe, but also enhance the experience of our players and save a lot of our volunteers’ time and effort. Our platform will be available to other NZ racquet sports and their respective clubs that will then be able to introduce the same benefits to their members and potential new markets.
Ben Hodges adds “if squash, and sport in general, is to remain relevant and an activity of choice for Kiwis into the future, it needs to evolve with the times. It’s pleasing that Squash NZ’s new system will provide value to traditional clubs and their members but also provide opportunities for their sport to reach new ‘markets’. Innovative thinking like this will ensure New Zealanders continue to reap the benefits of participation in sport.
New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) is one of the largest gaming societies in New Zealand. In 22/23, NZCT awarded c.$40 million in grants for a wide range of community good including community sport, rescue services, youth development, arts, and culture. More on NZCT’s grants programme, harm prevention approach, and partnership with hospitality venues throughout New Zealand.