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29/10/2020
Stark decline in young men playing squash

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Stark decline in young men playing squash

With the publication of Squash Player magazine today (Thursday 28th Oct) we publish the first articles in our STATE OF THE GAME series. It’s no secret that there has been a long-term decline in participation, but our in-depth scrutiny of Sport England statistics reveals some disturbing truths.

These impressive and comprehensive surveys – the Active People Survey and the Active Lives Survey - show a consistent and steady decline of around 3-4% a year.

We investigate the total numbers playing and make some estimates of the true figures. The “one million players” figure so often quoted is largely dismissed as unhelpful hyperbole.

In essence there were (pre-Covid) 280,000 monthly (or more) players and 180,000 weekly players. This is the optimistic view. If the latest trends are extrapolated the realistic view is 140,000 weekly players. This is pre-Covid!

Female participation amongst regular players is put at 18%.

The most surprising facts, however, are the position of young men who did play regularly. Their participation has simply fallen off a cliff in just the last three years:
In the 25-34 age group the decline was 41%
In the 16-24 age group the decline was 48%


Our article puts the long-term trends into perspective. Also interviewed as part of our STATE OF THE GAME investigation is long-time England Squash Chairman John Treharne.

Rod Gilmour, of Squash Player magazine and the Daily Telegraph, investigates how the pandemic is affecting aspiring professional players attempting to make a living out of the sport and the position of clubs and counties.

 
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