As the Director of Kidsquash, I was fortunate to attend a thoughtful, inspiring and engaging conference called Change the Game on how to improve outcomes in sport-based youth development programs. Stepping back from the world of squash and learning best practices from other sport programs helped to rethink how to better serve the Kidsquash community.
To use the language of “sport system re-design,” is new but changes to sports by way of playing area, equipment, structure, rules or roles has a long history as learned by the above historical milestones, created by conference organizers. Even in high school squash- a minor sport – re-design has happened in terms of Point-A-Rally scoring to 11 points as opposed to the British scoring of 9 points. There is debate in the squash community as to whether this has been a step in the right direction.
As per the stories of conference speakers, winning people over to the re-Design involves a multitude of strategies and requires patience. Overall, I came away from the conference with a toolkit to take time to bounce ideas off other practitioners in the field of sport-based youth development as well as reflect on Kidsquash’s strengths, weaknesses and outcomes. Hopefully this process will fuel additional action to get the re-Design of Kidsquash “just right.”