Squash Bounces Back
The pandemic hurt squash. You may have seen that at your club. We
can certainly see it in the Active People survey, the most
significant measure of sports participation in England. This is
conducted by Sport England with approximately 200,000 interviewees.
For squash, the pre-Covid figures (2018/19) showed 1,056,300 people
playing squash at least once a year, including 294,200 regular
players (playing twice a month or more). These participation figures
inevitably tanked during the pandemic (2020/21) to 437,600 casual
players and 105,600 regular players.
One main online retailer told Squash Player: “We just don’t know
what the ‘bounce back’ will be. We do not expect it to come back to
100% of what it was.”
Sport England delayed the publication of further statistics which
extended the uncertainty and trepidation even longer – until now.
The 2021/22 figures have just been published and they show a rebound
to 773,300 total players and 264,100 regular players – a fall on
pre-pandemic participating levels, but better than many had expected
and slightly better than the long-term decline rate of 4% per year.
Leading online court booking company mycourt.co.uk has provided its
figures to Squash Player. With 2019 as the base year, court bookings
understandably declined to 53% in 2020 and 61% in 2021, but
rebounded to 91% in 2022.
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The Sport England figures show a decline in 2020/21 for
casual players of 57% and regular players to 35%, with a rebound in
2021/22 to 66% and 90% respectively.
The 10% drop in regular player participation from pre-pandemic can
be seen as relatively positive when compared with the previous 4% a
year long-term annual decline calculated by Squash Player.