Aaron Frankcomb, Founder and Managing Director of The East Coast Squash Academy reveals “Having been on the professional squash tour for 10 years and having grown up in several local clubs as a junior player in Tasmania, I know first-hand how important it is to have support from local club owner-operators.”
Admittedly Frankcomb is biased towards the two clubs where the Academy operates – Willoughby Squash Club and Bondi Waverley Squash Club, but he’s also respectful of clubs who have it hard with increasing rents, utility fees and on-going maintenance fees.
“What isn’t seen by many is the amount of upkeep a club needs on an on-going basis – way beyond the cleaning of the floors, maintenance of the walls and lights…” reveals Frankcomb. “There could be outdoor landscaping, cleaning of common areas including parking areas, stocking of the food and retail areas, stringing of rackets, painting of the walls, replacement of the lights and many leasehold improvements and the list goes on and on.”
The Academy is active in the local squash community with sponsored programs and activities with the proactive participation of local clubs, many which are owner operators. These grassroots initiatives include after-school programs to expose more kids to our great sport. Unprofitable as standalone projects, the investments are made with a win-win-win long term approach. The first winners are the kids who get to experience squash for the first time. The second winners are the squash club(s) who get new members and players. The third winner is The Academy who gets new participants for its junior development programs.
“We must never forget the priceless contribution made by parents and siblings” adds Frankcomb. “Without a family’s support, a potential elite or professional squash player doesn’t stand a chance. I remember my father driving 100+ kms back-and-forth so I could have a hit with good opponents or compete in tournaments. All those sacrifices make a difference and add up.”
Frankcomb reflects on his career as a junior and professional player with admiration, respect and appreciation for everyone who joins in the effort to create the “next Australian champion”…
The Academy is doing everything it can, but it won’t happen in a vacuum. We all have to do our share, selflessly, generously and patiently. After all, a champion is not created ‘overnight’!
The East Coast Squash Academy:
Founded in 2011 when Aaron Frankcomb retired from the Professional Squash Tour, the East Coast Squash Academy set out to create a business model to expand the presence of squash within local communities surrounding squash centres. The first installation was at Willoughby Squash Club where Frankcomb was hired as the club’s resident squash pro.
Since inception, the Academy has produced some stellar results including: Attracting a handful of junior players with aspirations of going on the professional (PSA) tour. Its junior program has the biggest contingent of players on the NSW Squash Junior ranking list, with players on the NSW junior state teams, Australian junior teams and Australian senior players. The Academy has developed NSW and Australian Junior Champions.
The Academy is home base to two full time senior players that have reached careers highs of top 240 in the world on the Men’s PSA Tour. Its best female professional reached a top world ranking of 130.
The junior program now boasts over 500 children participating in weekly squads and training sessions. Memberships and participation in squads have increased by 100% and 300% respectively and tournament registrations are at an all-time high.
The Bondi Waverley Squash Club is the second squash club to join the Academy, in 2014.
Tel: 0424 474 001
Facebook: East Coast Squash Academy
Aaron Frankcomb was ranked in the top 100 professional squash players for 8 years, 4 years in the top 50, winning 3 PSA titles. He represented Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was a Junior Champion in all age groups including 2 times in the Under 19 category and holder of scholarships in the Tasmanian and Australian Institutes Of Sport. He now coaches professionally and remains Sydney’s top ranked squash player and is still considered within the top 5 players in Australia.
Tel: 0424 474 001
Facebook: Aaron Head Pro WilloughbySquash
Willoughby Squash Club
Willoughby Squash Club has been Sydney’s premier squash club for over 30 years. Boasting 10 singles courts and Sydney’s only regulation championship sized doubles courts. Willoughby is also a site for Australia’s #1 squash store, with the largest selection of squash racquets, shoes, and accessories; the club also has an onsite restringing service.
(a) 443 Willoughby Road, Willoughby NSW 2068
Bondi Waverley Squash Club
Bondi Waverley is a member-run club located in the heart of Bondi Junction. A beautiful four-court centre and bar, Bondi Waverley Squash Club has entered teams in Sydney’s pennant competition for over 40 years. In addition to courts, the club is also available for functions in the spacious bar and lounge, with pool tables and poker machines. The club is now the second location for East Coast Squash Academy and hosts annual tournaments as well as regular programs for all skill levels and age groups.
(a) 8 Denison Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022