It takes a lot to build a community, including careful town planning, the right mix of people, and the right facilities. One of the best ways to help create a community is to use sports.
A sports center that has the right mix of spaces and equipment can serve as the physical focus of a vibrant community, bringing people together to a central location. Recent research into town planning and community-building found that sport can increase local repositories of knowledge, skills, and resources; support the mechanisms that enable community dialog; raise levels of civic participation, and improve social cohesion. Sport can build bridges between deep social chasms.
It doesn’t mean that everyone in the area has to be involved in playing sports; some people might be using sports equipment to build muscle or lose weight, some might love working on their stamina in track or field sports, and some might be coming to cheer on a friend or relative who’s competing in team events. Others might find that sports fields, bleachers, and sports facilities are great places to chat with friends, allow small children to toddle around, or sit to do their homework.
As well as the general ways that a well-planned sports center can foster community, we have found that squash in particular can help cement the interpersonal connections that form the foundation of an authentic community.
Squash is a vehicle for inclusion
Sports in general offers away for diverse groups of people who might otherwise have nothing in common to overcome their differences and forge new friendships.
A squash club, where players take it in turns to play each other in the same set of squash courts, creates a sense of belonging to a group that’s highly valuable. It bolsters self-esteem in teens and young people, and gives them a healthy outlet for their energy and a positive way to occupy their time.
With a shared interest in playing squash, improving their game level, and working on their fitness, people develop meaningful friendships that transfer off the court and into other facets of their lives. .
Squash encourages inter-generational bonds
Unlike many sports, squash is a game that you can continue playing well into middle age and beyond. Experience, wisdom in placing your balls, and game strategy are just as important as speed and strength on the court, so older players can still compete against younger ones.
Squash facilitates mentor relationships between more experienced players and those who are new to the game, helping to overcome the generation gap and developing strong connections between people of different ages who live in the same neighborhood.
Squash requires teamwork
Sports demand that you learn healthy interaction, skills which transfer into other areas of life and can form the basis for a thriving neighborhood community.
When people play sports like football, soccer, it forces them to learn how to cooperate and play together. The same is true even for one-on-one games like squash and tennis. They have to recognize each others’ strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to work around them. When you’re competing against someone like in squash, you need to think about the other player, understand and consider their moves, and find the right ways to respond to them in order to win.
All of these interpersonal traits are crucial for community building. To be productive members of a community, you need individuals who are able to make allowances for others and respond flexibly to their needs and capabilities — traits that you learn from playing a sport.
Sports are the foundation of vibrant communities
By helping to build bridges, connect the generations, include diverse groups of individuals and encourage teamwork, sports like squash and sports centers that deliver a range of facilities can succeed in becoming the center of a thriving community that’s inclusive and positive.