Club Focus: Worth ‘squashing in’The UCD Squash club is well known for being one of the most friendly and accessible clubs campus, with more health benefits than we have space to describe! I chatted to David Lynch, Club Captain for the 2018/2019 session to learn how and why this unique racket sport is worth ‘squashing’ into your timetable. The Squash Club is well catered for in the student centre, with 4 courts available for any and all who wish to play. This offers the Squash Club enviable flexibility in training times and court access. Training takes place twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday from 17:20-21:20, with members “free to attend at whatever times best fit their schedule”. With all the necessary equipment provided at training - namely rackets, balls, and protective eyewear - there is no excuse not to give it a try. Indeed Lynch stresses that although “the Club aims to develop the ability of players at all levels” there is “a massive focus on beginners”. Newcomers are welcomed with open arms and taught the basics of technique and strategy by professional coach Ed Dunne each Thursday. To further entice newcomers this year, the Club has introduced “a ladder system [which] allows members to arrange matches against similarly skilled opponents”. This avoids demoralising heavy defeats and encourages healthy competition, hopefully avoiding alienating new members. Forbes has consistently ranked squash as the world’s healthiest sport because it requires “agility, endurance, and power”. Squash is an energetic racket sport that rewards quick thinking and quick feet. There are few other activities that can match the breadth of muscles used in squash. According to captain Lynch, “one of the main advantages of playing squash regularly is that your fitness level and coordination will be improved”. The Squash Club also competes - very successfully - in several competitive tournaments during the academic year. The annual ‘Colours’ tournament against Trinity takes place in first semester, with this year's edition slated for November 24th. Further complementing their focus on new members Lynch comments that “all members are encouraged to participate, regardless of how long they have been playing.” Most matches are followed by free food and drinks in the Student Bar, and the festivities generally continue into town. Intervarsities is the highlight event of the Club’s year. This year's edition will take place in Belfast during the second semester - where UCD will be vying with five other Irish universities over a full weekend of squash for the prestigious title. In addition to Colours and Intervarsities, a number of in-house social tournaments will be convened over the coming months including a Ladder Tournament and the Club Championships. UCD dominated at both the Colours and Intervarsities championships last year. Lynch is ambitious for the Club this year, as he looks to follow up on a stellar year under the stewardship of Oliver Reid. The Captain is “aiming to defend [their] titles in the 2018/2019 season. A number of talented players have joined the Club this year, so we are poised for success”. There really is no reason not to give squash a try. It is one of the most inclusive and active clubs on campus and with such comprehensive training times it would be difficult not to find a time when you could play! What better way to relieve the stress of deadlines and midterms than with a sport where you can hit the ball as hard as you like! The Club can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join their group on Facebook.