The Blues Performance Scheme is a university-wide program designed to support the top sports teams in Oxford in their training. We work through sport-specific activities off-court to improve our abilities and results on court. The Women’s Blues squash squad first started participating in the scheme mid way through Michaelmas Term last year, and continued until the Varsity was played, in late Hilary. For squash, we mainly worked on balance and stability, explosive movements, strength, and arm mobility and flexibility. These weekly sessions added to our on-court training twice a week, weekly fitness sessions, and weekly match-play, on top of any external training players organised for themselves.
So, we are delighted to report that the university has recently confirmed that the Women’s Blues squash squad will again participate in the scheme through 2018/9. Not only do we hope that further specialised attention will pay off in the Varsity match against Cambridge, but we expect the impact of the scheme to have many more benefits for the progress and popularity of women’s squash in Oxford. We hope that having such an incentive will inspire our second team, the Ferrets, to begin to challenge members of the Blues squad for their places, and also encourage any college players who are not yet enrolled in university-wide squash to make the move up a level, and fill our ranks further. Finally, having such a scheme supporting us right from the start of the year for the first time should be a key selling point for Women’s squash at the Fresher’s Fair, one of the best opportunities for player recruitment. Overall, we think that the squad’s involvement in the scheme will be an important signal of the university’s support for women’s squash, and will raise the profile of women’s squash as a valued and high-performing sport in the university.
The university isn’t the only one investing in our future though, and we are taking our own steps to improve women’s squash. From this year, we will be making better use of the high standard of the Men’s Blues to coach and give tips in our training sessions, and the Women’s Blues will be attending the Ferrets’ training to do the same, while at the same time keeping their eyes peeled for up-and-coming talent. On top of this, plans are being discussed to take the Women’s squad to a training camp in Lanzarote at the start of December, so any keen Freshers reading this should get in touch with Women’s Blues captain Georgie Willis (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible to see if there are any places left. Everything is coming together to make this a big year for Women’s squash in Oxford.
For more info on the Blues Performance Scheme: http://www.sport.ox.ac.uk/sports-clubs/blues-performance-scheme/
Article by 2018/2019 Women’s Blues Captain Georgie Willis