Inspiration in life can be found in the strangest of places. For Shivam Singhal, the inspiration to start playing squash was found in the reception of his local leisure centre.
From watching people play at his local courts to stepping onto them himself, Shivam (18) has now been playing the sport for six years. Based in Llantrisant, he now hits the courts four or five times a week.
Over the last six years, Shivam has played squash competitivity as a member of Wales’s under 17-19s national squad. Being on the squad has seen him compete in tournaments all over the UK including the British Junior Open, Welsh Junior Open, South Wales/North Wales Junior Championships, and Welsh Junior Closed.
Shivam said: “My favourite part of squash is that it’s a really accessible sport since there’s multiple opportunities for people to play at any level in Wales. You can play with friends, by yourself for practice, join a league, play club squash, or you can even start by playing friendly matches to improve your technique, and just enjoy it.”
“If you do want to progress and play competitively, there are many opportunities to progress to a national or even international level. Once I started playing and built up my confidence on the court, I started looking at how I could get in competitions too.”
For Shivam, it’s not just the competitive element of the game that he enjoys. “Squash has really boosted my confidence. It’s also a great sport for your overall wellbeing because you’re essentially exercising while having fun at the same time. It has a big impact on your leg strength too, there are constant lunges when you’re on the court!”
“I’d say my overall style of playing is very calm, and I’m the same off the court too. At the same time, I try to be clever with my shots and play aggressively when I need to.”
“If you’re just getting into the sport, my advice would be to just stick with it. You can even play by yourself and improve with solo matches if you want to build your confidence and technique that way.
“You can also become a member of Squash Wales which gives you opportunities to train and play with really strong coaches who can help you improve. There’s a well-established progression pathway to playing more seriously and competitively and that’s a really big positive of being a member if you’re looking for that support network.”