PHILADELPHIA – Haverford College Head Men's and Women's Squash Coach Niki Clement took part in a panel discussion entitled "Bringing Out the Best in Women and Girls: Physical and Mental Strengths" at the US Open Squash Championships on the Drexel University campus Tuesday afternoon.
The panel was presented as part of Women in Sports Day, a featured day during the tournament to help promote female participation in squash. Other events included open court time for recreational squash as well as an award ceremony and celebration featuring keynote speaker Deborah Antoine, CEO of Billie Jean King's Women's Sports Foundation.
US Squash billed the Women in Sports Day initiative as a "comprehensive celebration of US Squash's vision of ensuring girls and women can advance their lives through squash."
Clement took part in the panel along with Amy Gross, a high performance coach and former Assistant Squash Coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Gross was also a three-time national champion in squash at Yale. Jenny Duncalf, a professional squash player and currently the No. 29 ranked player in the world, was the third member of the panel. Duncalf has been the president of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Women's Division since the merger of the men's and women's professional tours.
Clement and her fellow panelists responded to questions about the competitive dynamics and impact of female squash athletes and answered questions on topics such as confidence, social comparison, authenticity and the balance between academic and athletic performance at rigorous academic schools and colleges.
The panel also delved into the mental game and vital decision making components of squash and what techniques have improved their teams and organizations throughout their careers in the sport. One of the breakout discussions surrounded removing the "fear factor" around competition.
The panelists remarked on the importance of female coaches as strong role models and reminded the audience to remember why they participate in athletic competition and to harness personal drive and energy towards their goals with the same vigor and enthusiasm that encouraged them to take up the sport in the first place.
Haverford Squash will be in action starting with the alumni/ae contests on Saturday, November 4 at 1 p.m. at the GIAC Squash Courts. The regular season gets underway on Saturday, November 11 at the Navy Round Robin in Annapolis, Md. as the men's team takes on Fordham and Boston University while the women do battle with the Terriers and Johns Hopkins.