Good buzz in Tawa squash

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Tawa Squash Club is look­ing for 2014 to be its break­out year.

Al­though a $1 mil­lion up­grade is pro­posed – in­clud­ing in­creas­ing its courts from three to five – build­ing up the club’s cof­fers be­fore it spent was im­por­tant, club com­mit­tee mem­ber Steve Baker said.

‘‘We’ve had a year of tread­ing wa­ter re­ally, but there are plenty of good things hap­pen­ing. There are ar­eas that we can do bet­ter, but we’re learn­ing from our mis­takes and we need to keep hav­ing that open di­a­logue with our mem­bers.

‘‘The two most im­por­tant things for us are be­ing fi­nan­cially vi­able and de­vel­op­ing our play­ers.’’

Initiatives this year have in­cluded re­in­forc­ing the club’s re­la­tion­ship with Mana Squash Club, in­creased pub­lic­ity through the coach­ing of Nick Mita, hold­ing school squash ses­sions and build­ing up the ju­nior pro­gramme.

Over the week­end Tawa held an open day, fea­tur­ing top play­ers Zac Mil­lar, Martin Knight and lo­cal leg­end Evan Wil­liams in ex­hi­bi­tion matches.

‘‘We might not be blessed with riches in the bank, but we are in terms of coaches and play­ers,’’ Baker said.

In con­junc­tion with Tawa Fit­ness Cen­tre, Mita has be­gun his in­fa­mous boot camps for mem­bers, in­volv­ing plenty of hill runs.

‘‘ Play­ers th­ese days need to have plenty of fit­ness and work­ing hard in the off-sea­son is im­port- ant. It’s about cut­ting down on in­juries,’’ Mita said.

Baker said the club was unique in hav­ing a full­time man­ager in Peter Bow­ers. He looks af­ter the schools pro­gramme, in con­junc­tion with Ki­wis­port.

As a re­sult, 800 ju­niors have played at the club this year.

The pro­gramme aligns nicely with the acad­emy Mita has set up, in which Tig­gers (3 to 8-yearolds), Tor­na­does ( 8 years and over) and elite ju­niors are un­der his wing.

‘‘ We have some great young play­ers here and at Mana and I want them to have some re­spon­si­bil­ity and give back [by coach­ing Tig­gers and Tor­na­does],’’ Mita said.

Baker said the club was be­ing ag­gres­sive about its ju­nior pro­gramme, be­cause it knew there were plenty of op­tions for young peo­ple to have fun and do ex­er­cise.

The club build­ing was deemed to be up to the new earth­quake stan­dards, which would make court ex­pan­sion next year more fea­si­ble, Baker said.

Cham­pion: Evan Wil­liams came through the ranks at Tawa Squash Club, and was on hand on Sun­day to play in its open day.

Pho­tos: FAIRFAX NZ

Coach­ing tal­ent: Nick Mita’s suc­cess with ju­nior squash play­ers linked to the Tawa and Mana clubs is likely to con­tinue next year.

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