How to Become a Professional Squash Player
You’ve trained hard and attended all of the camps. You know you are one of the best players against any competition you’ve faced up to this point. So what’s next? How do you become a professional squash player and get all of that cool squash swag and start getting paid to do what you love?
Getting a paid sponsorship and becoming a professional competing athlete in the game of squash is no easy feat. These highly coveted positions are few and far between and, unfortunately, most great athletes never reach them. However, for the select few elite players, opportunity is out there, you just have to chase it.
First Steps in Becoming a Professional
· Register with the PSA – This one is a no brainer. If you want to qualify to play for the Professional Squash Association then you have to register with them. Registering is not only putting your name out there for invitations to tournaments but you will also get updates and the latest and greatest squash news available.
· Find Ways to Get Wildcard Entries – Most PSA tournaments are restricted to qualifying participants and are capped at a certain number by invitation only due to the size of the tournaments. The best course of action is to find ways to get a wild card spot until you have enough top-finishing performances to be invited to compete.
· Qualify into PSA Tournaments – Your goal when competing at this point is to qualify into as many competitions as possible. This is how you will get noticed, get sponsors and make it into the big time!
· Consider Coaching – Staying involved in the sport and being aware of any changes is important if you want to play professionally. Coaching younger kids or beginner players will not only be a service to them, but it will get your name out and it will help you stay on top of what is going on in the squash world. It is also a great way to participate in squash on your off days and it keeps your head in the game.
Once you are all set up and registered, start playing your heart out! Without an intense drive to succeed and the heart for squash to back it up, you will never get to the professional level.
You’ve registered, you’re coaching a beginner’s class and you’ve started to qualify or compete in some PSA tournaments, what is the next step?
The next step is to continue to move up in the types of Professional Squash Associate tournaments you compete in. There are five levels and vary on importance and value to professional players.
The Five Categories of PSA Tournaments
1. Closed Satellite Tournament – This tournament is usually reserved for members of the association hosting the tournament and is not open to outside players. If there is a tournament you are very interested in playing in, it would be a good idea to become a member of the association, if possible.
2. Challenger Tournaments – These competitions are usually the entry points for junior players and up-and-coming squash players. This is a foot in the door to bigger competitions, so having top finishes at these competitions is an important step in the professional process.
3. International Tournaments – These tournaments can range from large club events to high profile glass court events. These are usually by invitation only and are events you want to do well at to continue to be invited to competitions.
4. World Series – The World Series is a high profile squash tournament that attracts the world’s best players. These tournaments are where the highest prize money is offered and the competition is fierce. This is a bucket-list tournament for an aspiring professional.
5. World Championship – Known as the ultimate competition for professional squash players, this is the most physically and mentally demanding challenge out there. To be playing in this tournament is among the highest achievements a professional squash player can receive.
While it is every player’s dream to qualify and play in the World Championship, being invited to any of these competitions is no small feat. All of the competitions are filled with sponsors and affiliates, which is an important part of the professional process. Once you are able to secure sponsorship, it will be that much easier for you to get the competition invites and on the higher profile tournament lists.
Remember Where it Starts
The number one most important thing to do when aspiring to be a professional squash player is to remember where it starts – with your game. Don’t let yourself get too caught up in trying to make it big to forget to focus on what really matters, which is your training and your skill and technique level that got you to thinking about the pro level in the first place. Letting your training slide would not only prove to be a major setback, but it could squash your chances of ever playing professionally.
Having the skill, the technique, the heart and the determination to take your game to the professional level is what pro athletes are made from. Keeping up with all of it can be overwhelming, but continue to push yourself to be your best and you will succeed.