James Ethan’s story is inspirational to all would-be squash players.
#1 International Best Selling Author and highly ranked world-class squash player, James was by no means a ‘natural’ when he first tried the game. His first attempt at playing squash began at the age of 17, when his older brother took him down to the local squash courts for a game.
From that very moment James became addicted to the sport. But the skill that he consistently demonstrates today certainly wasn’t evident back then.
In those days (the late 80’s) the racquets were quite different to how they are today. The size of the head was smaller, and they were heavy and unwieldy because they were made of wood…like holding a sledgehammer!
All of which made the game that much harder to learn.
Especially for James. Typical of most new players, he found the game very demanding, and to be honest, he wasn’t very good at it. For that reason, no-one wanted to play with him.
Yet he loved playing, and was determined to master the game. Rather than giving up, he continued to practice until he began to improve. After several months of solid practice he was able to take on and even start beating the more experienced players at the club.
By the time he was 22, James achieved ‘A’ grade status. This achievement encouraged him to play even more squash matches. By the time he was 25, he had achieved state grade level and the game had become his life.
At the state grade level, players are usually either ex-world-ranked or young up-and-comers. For James this meant that he had to contend with a much higher quality game. This drove him to further improve his skills, and he started to train six days a week: running, gym, squash practice and coaching.
By the time he was 30, James was ranked # 250 in the world, which allowed him the opportunity to travel more to locations such as Melbourne and Queensland. He continued to win tournaments along the way and maintain his ranking status.
The next step in his career was to become the manager at Seven Hills Squash Centre in Sydney, and he then went on to manage Northmead and Dural Squash Clubs.
But his personal development and training as an elite squash player didn’t end there.
James began to develop his own unique system which helped him build 15 competitions a week. Every night was a different competition and a different style of game. Most people think there is only one type of squash game but, as James discovered - with some imagination and creativity many exciting variations can be created to keep players interested and motivated.
In 2008 James finally achieved his dream to become the owner of Baulkham Hills Squash & Fitness. Having his own club means James can have his courts operating seven days a week with numerous and varied competitions, to suit all levels and types of players.
And he continues to be an inspiration to us all!
Like most first-time players, John didn’t immediately take to the game of squash. He started playing at the age of 15, but hadn’t had much experience in the way of ball sports. He honestly believed he’d never get the hang of how to hit that strange little black ball.
He stuck at it because it was so much fun, and within a few short weeks his game had vastly improved, and he wondered how it could have seemed so difficult.
John is a great believer in the fact that anyone can play squash – all you need is some basic coaching. It really doesn’t require a lot of skills to have a great workout and have fun at the same time.
At the age of 18, he was lucky enough to be living in a small country town where they decided to build a local squash court. This meant he had an opportunity to try the sport again. John virtually lived at the courts, playing almost every day and constantly improving. The owners let him look after the courts which meant he would play anyone who came along.
This led to his lifelong involvement and commitment to squash, and it continues to be a big part of his life. He has been involved in many of the squash clubs he’s played at, and also became Treasurer of the North Queensland Squash Association
The highest ranking John achieved was lower ‘A’ Grade, but he always had a passion to improve. Even after over 30 years in the sport, John believes there is always room for improvement.
As co-author, John has always had a burning desire to help write a book that could help any player, beginner or advanced, with ideas, and give them strategies to improve their game and win more matches.