Fresh-faced coach looking to boost junior numbers
SQUASH: She's only 21 but new Gladstone Tennis and Squash Association squash coach Emily Turner is determined to keep the sport thriving for the next generation of players.
Turner has played squash since she was six, coached since high school and was there to lend a hand at the GTSA Family Fun Day held on Saturday.
The day was held to attract junior players to the sport, something Turner is passionate about.
"I'm pretty new to the coaching world but I'm looking forward to doing that with the kids because it's really important to encourage them to get into the sport," Turner said.
"The kids I'm coaching at the moment are between eight and 15 but I've coached as young as five or six-years-old it just depends at what age they want to get onto the court.
"A lot of the kids we have come through have been at the tennis courts first and come to see what squash is about because they get a bit curious.
"If parents play squash a lot of the time their kids will come and give it a go."
And the mother of two daughters, aged two and 12 weeks, hopes they'll be just as keen to play in a few years.
"They'll definitely be playing squash I think," she said.
"Their dad and I have been playing squash since we were kids so they'll either get bored sitting by the squash court or they'll decide to get on themselves."
Turner hopes the Family Fun Day sparked further interest in the sport, which has seen its numbers decrease in recent years.
"I've always been really passionate about the sport," she said.
"For the last few years it's been dying off and that's a little to do with the fact there are very rarely council-owned courts; a lot of them are privately owned, and they really depend on players to keep their numbers up and courts open.
"So my motivation is to get more kids interested... it's a really fun and high-energy sport and it would be sad to see it go."
Turner took to the court for a hit against Sue Davis, the niece of tennis legend Rod Laver, which gave her a chance to dust off some of the post-pregnancy cobwebs.
"We had a bit of a hit together. (Saturday) night was a social night for everyone to see what squash was about and for people to see what we do," she said.
"I'm still a bit fresh after coming back from having a baby but she definitely had me back on my toes again. It's been really nice getting back into it and feel that competitiveness again - I did miss it."
Turner coaches juniors each Wednesday from 4-5.30pm.
Visit the Gladstone Tennis and Squash Association Facebook page or call 4972 2772 for further information on playing.