Heath to coach Scot­land elite per­for­mance squad

The Oban Times - - Sport -

FOR­MER Oban pro­fes­sional squash player Martin Heath is back help­ing the na­tional cause – this time as a coach of the Scot­land elite per­for­mance squad.

Heath, who rep­re­sented Scot­land and got as high as world ranked num­ber four in his play­ing days, has carved a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a squash coach around the globe since re­tir­ing from pro­fes­sional squash in 2003 and now com­bines his role with Scot­tish Squash with his du­ties as head coach of the Univer­sity of Rochester in New York.

He has en­joyed pre­vi­ous stints as coach of the US ju­nior team and un­der-23 team as well as the Chi­nese se­nior team but his lat­est na­tional coach­ing po­si­tion has al­lowed him time to re­turn to Scot­land on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and visit friends and fam­ily in Oban.

Now 44, Heath said: ‘I try to get back to Oban as of­ten as I can to see mum and dad and friends. It’s where I was brought up and I still miss it. I now live out in Toronto where I met my wife. It was one of my neigh­bours in Oban who per­suaded me to go out there to­wards the end of my play­ing days.

‘My brother was also coach­ing at Dart­mouth Col­lege, New Hamp­shire, and I used to go and help him with coach­ing.

‘I quickly set­tled in Toronto and I was able to com­bine coach­ing with study­ing at the Univer­sity of Rochester.

‘I just loved the coach­ing, be­came suc­cess­ful in the col­lege coach­ing job and it be­came my pas­sion.

‘It’s a lot of fun. I am now head coach at the Univer­sity of Rochester and re­cently turned a bunch of tennis play­ers into squash play­ers and they be­came num­ber one, beat­ing all the other teams we play against.’

Heath joined the Scot­land coach­ing set-up as elite per­for­mance coach last year along­side na­tional coach Paul Bell and one of their first ma­jor suc­cess stories was help­ing In­ver­ness pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lob­ban be­come world cham­pi­ons at the world dou­bles squash cham­pi­onships in Dar­win, Aus­tralia, last sum­mer.

The 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast, Aus­tralia, is a big fo­cus for Heath and his squad but later next week they travel to Helsinki for the Euro­pean team cham­pi­onships be­gin­ning on April 26.

Heath con­tin­ued: ‘I re­ally en­joy be­ing back part of the Scot­land set-up and it works well with Paul [ Bell] based at the Oriam Per­for­mance Cen­tre in Ed­in­burgh where the elite squad train.

‘I use my knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence to di­rect the pro­gramme and Paul dis­perses that knowl­edge through the new pro­gramme we have set up.

‘I can watch the play­ers on Squash TV, com­mu­ni­cate reg­u­larly with them dur­ing matches be­fore get­ting to­gether with them at train­ing camps and team events.

‘I can also see the play­ers in ac­tion when they are play­ing in Amer­ica and they pop in and see me at Rochester.

‘It’s work­ing well and it’s an ex­cit­ing time to be in­volved in Scot­land with some real tal­ent in the men’s and women’s game.

‘But we have much work to do be­fore the Com­mon­wealth Games next year.’

Oban’s Martin Heath is the new Scot­land elite per­for­mance squash coach.

Martin in his play­ing days.

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