Catching up with Jesse Engelbrecht
We were lucky enough to grab some time with Surrey Sports Park’s Head Coach, Jesse Engelbrecht, probing him about the world of squash and the latest news from the club:
When and where did you first start coaching?
I had to coach pretty much as soon as I turned professional at 19 years old. It was a way to supplement my tournaments around the world as the costs for a young and lowly ranked professional are great. As I got higher up the rankings my coaching took a back-seat. When I stopped the tour at 27 I turned my mind fully to pursuing an elite coaching path with the formation of my own Academy to future talent juniors and young professional players. I am now a High Performance Coach for England Squash and Racketball working with national raked juniors and seniors.
What squash facilities and activities does Surrey Sports Park offer?
We have a full Player Pathway model at Surrey Sports Park for any level, age and ability of someone wishing to play squash. I pride myself that we have something to offer for anyone right from the grassroots level to the elite professional standard. For further detailed information about the Player Pathway, contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you seen interest and participation rates grow In squash over the last few years?
Big time! The demand for squash courts at Surrey Sports Park is huge, which is brilliant! The courts are utilised by both members and non-members, making them incredibly popular. We have roughly 450 squash playing members with over 120 active members playing in the internal box leagues, 11 external teams that play in the Surrey Cup matches and over 60 juniors that attended certain sessions during the week. It is great to have so many people involved in squash; there is definitely a big demand for it in Surrey.
How do you attract junior interest in squash at the club?
Word of mouth has brought in a lot of juniors. We have a very active, fun and challenging junior programme and generally juniors that have a good experience tend to bring their mates across and this grows organically. I have a capacity as the Head Regional Coach for London and the South East to attract some of the top juniors for training days and camps at the Sports Park, and we have a great range and ability currently playing. I am delighted to have such a comprehensive and positive junior programme in place at Surrey Sports Park, and believe the word is spreading fast.
Does the club have any exciting squash initiatives planned for 2015?
Yes lots, we are hoping to finalise details and a date for a big squash weekend that should involve a glass court in the area plus lots of coaching and activities around it. It should cumulate with a professional tournament and an exhibition match between two of the world top professional players. Watch this space for more details! We also run junior and graded events which are a huge success and dates for these are to be finalised shortly.
Squash Skills, the worlds largest online squash portal, runs training weekends at Surrey Sports Park which are always fully booked and highly successful with players coming in as far a field as India, Canada and Italy.
Describe your typical day at Surrey Sports Park
I arrive by 9.15am and am generally on courts doing a 1:1 lesson by 9.30am. At around 11am, the professional players arrive and I run a squad sessions for them up until lunchtime. After lunch I tend to do a few more 1:1 lessons and on a Wednesday the University of Surrey’s own student Team Surrey Squash Club have their matches so I stay and watch and coach the players here.
I also have a Junior Academy squad session on a Wednesday after school attended by county and regional standard players. On a Tuesday night I stay around and run the very popular club-night session which is always fully attended. My days tend to be very busy and I also need to fit in University coaching, schools programmes and other 1:1 lessons with the pro players. Weekends are generally taken up with either camps, England Squash work or coach tutoring.
It is great to see interest and participation in squash constantly increasing – and it keeps me very busy too!