9th October 2010

2010 Vancouver ISDA Pro Doubles Open

The Hollyburn Country Club Presents

2010 Vancouver ISDA Pro Doubles Open and Pro-Am Doubles

To all doubles players, and interested singles players looking to
convert to the dark side …

The squash season is here, and I am talking doubles squash. November
12th to 14th, 2010, the Hollyburn Country Club is again hosting the Vancouver
ISDA Pro Doubles Open and Pro-Am Doubles. Check out the world’s best doubles

Three ticket packages available:

  • Pro-Am entry – $1000 plus HST includes an individual tax
    receipt or an invoice for advertising and promotion. Front row seating,
    Friday Night private bar, Saturday Night reception and a few choice
    tournament souvenirs. Also includes entry into special prize draw
    Saturday evening!
  • Friends of Squash Patron entry – $250.00 includes an invoice
    for advertising and promotion, seating for the entire event, Friday
    Night private bar and entry into Saturday Night reception.
  • General seating – $100.00 includes seating for the entire
    event and 2 beer tickets.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Jeff Boag,
Hollyburn Squash Pro at squash@Hollyburn.org, or
Marvin Mizinski at 604-786-1539. Hope to have you on board.

Marvin Mizinski

Tournament Chair

Posted on behalf of the Doubles BC and Hollyburn Country Club.

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25th May 2010

Gameplan, Perseverance, & Faith

Several weeks ago the 2010 Canadian National Squash Championships were held in the beautiful setting of Vancouver at the Jericho Tennis Club. Jonathon Power had signed up, which brought about some excitement, to see if he could bring another title home despite being a “retired” PSA player (World Number 1). The #1 seed, Shahier Razik, had won three of the past four National Titles and despite Jonathon’s impressive resume; Shahier new that his game could push Power to the edge….

To get more details on the finals and other tournament details (Men’s & Women’s) go to the Squash Canada website: http://www.squash.ca/e/story_detail.cfm?id=2802

Today I am going to discuss a few of my thoughts on the Men’s semi-final match between 2nd seed Jonathon Power and 3rd seed Shawn Delierre.

To me this was the match of the tournament to watch on the Men’s side of the draw. Could Shawn Delierre bring a game, physically and mentally, that would upset the 2nd seed? Did Shawn have Faith, real faith (almost blind faith), to beat the former world number 1 for the first time in his career?

Game On!

Jonathon was looking like the man of past, hitting immaculate length and applying deadly attacking shots at opportune times. Mr. Delierre seemed up to the task absorbing a lot of the Power pressure, but then something began to happen… the mental part of the game was coming to surface. Mr. Power was not clearing very well from his frontcourt drop shots and Mr. Delierre was frequently banging into him while asking for lets. To the amateur squash player (or overzealous patrons supporting the beverage sponsor) it seemed that Shawn should be going around Jonathon to retrieve the drop shots. After one fairly physical contact Mr. Power suggested to the referee (& crowd) that Mr. Delierre should do just that, go around him. However, to the professional eye, or more seasoned squash players’ eye, it was Jonathon who should have been clearing more so that his opponent could have direct access to the ball.

Question: Was Mr. Delierre willing to keep calling lets while listening to Jonathon’s discussions with the referee, or was he going to break mentally and begin believing that it was his responsibility to make more effort to go around Mr. Power?

The answer was given to me in a post match social discussion I had with Mr. Delierre, where he asked me if he should have been making more effort to go around Jonathon.

I think if Mr. Delierre had been deaf to Mr. Power’s pleas to the referee and to the crowd’s supporting moans of agreement he may have found a winning game. Winning Ugly (check out Brad Gilbert’s tennis book of this title!).

So, Shawn did make more effort to run around Jonathon and this took a physical toll on him.

Question: What was Jonathon thinking when Shawn began running around him more, and calling less lets?

Thank you very much! Game and match, three games to none.

I was in squash heaven watching this match, seeing (and hearing) all the physical and mental dilemma’s occurring (I’m sure I missed lots too) and being entertained to the max. Mr. Delierre hit several cross-court nicks that looked Egyptian in nature, fantastic dead rollers, and his lobs defied gravity lightly dusting the Jericho ceiling. And, of course, Mr. Power’s uncanny ability to read the game, to seem balanced at all times, to hit any shot at any time, and to win despite not being in “his” top physical form – well done JP.

I believe that Mr. Power was able to turn a lemon into lemonade in this match by taking the focus away from his rather poor clearing (fitness issue?), by getting inside his opponents head (oh yes, and the referee and spectators heads).

Learning situation: whether on court or off court, always do what you think is right and stick to your game plan. If that fails, I suggest a silent prayer for assistance… GAME ON!


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12th April 2010

2010 Spring & Summer Squash League at Sport Central

The league will consist of 3 players’ per team (mixed okay, if similar levels; and players from different Clubs are okay too):

  • Monday Nights: Three Men’s Open/A calibre players times four teams; and Three Men’s B calibre players times four teams. Women of these calibres of play are welcome to form their own team, or a mixed team.
  • Tuesday Nights: Three Men’s C/D calibre players times four teams (Women of this calibre are welcome to form their own team, or a mixed team); and Three Women’s D calibre players times four teams.
  • All matches to be played out of Sport Central (SPC) on Monday and Tuesday evening’s beginning at 6:30pm – 8:00pm, with social to follow!
  • Cost per team entry is $60.00. Funds to cover prizes and wind-up party.
  • If you do not form your own full team we can help match you with another single, or paired entry.
  • Matches will be posted on the Quick-Draw website & count for Squash BC ranking points. Matches are the best of 5 games to 11/15 using PAR scoring “Point A Rally” (note: if the score is three games to zero; players can choose to play one more game for the bevy — or not, and begin the social aspect of the evening).
  • Spring League begins April 26th/27th to June 7th/8th (6 weeks; i.e., no May 24th/25th due to the Victoria Day long weekend). There is a “Spares List” for non full-time players.
  • Summer League begins June 14th/15th to July 28th/29th 2009 (6 weeks; i.e., no June 28/29 due to July 1st holiday). There is a “Spares List” for non full-time players.
  • Spring & Summer League is looking at a maximum of 4 teams in each division class, so enter early — first four teams in each category get in.
  • Deadline for Spring League sign up is: April 22nd at 8:00pm
  • Deadline for Summer League sign up is: June 10th at 8:00pm 
  • Register at Sport Central front service desk, 604-278-8884 (note: only paid entries are confirmed).
  • Contact Barry at: barry@sportcentral.ca if any questions.





Barry Gifford — Head Racquets Professional
Pro Shop Manager
Sport Central
office: 604-278-8884
mobile: 604-219-8233

* http://sportcentral.ca/giffsCourt/

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20th March 2010

2010 Winter Olympics and Squash

The last several weeks have been exciting in my hometown, as we have hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics with the newly built Oval in Richmond B.C. Canadian flags abound, patriotism is high, squash lessons have slowed down, TV’s have all been on Olympic stations, and Canada’s national anthem is heard on the airwaves — as well as in song from children and adults alike.

Despite all the Olympic excitement, regular life still happens, and death…. There has been the tragic Luger accident that took a young athlete’s life, and his dream of Olympic Gold with it. There was the sudden and unexpected passing away of a Canadian figure skaters’ mom. And many other injuries and disappointments abound…. Yet, despite the tragedies and the lows of losing (the many), and the highs of winning (the few), there has been a wonderful spirit of unity between all of the nations competing in the Games – after all we are all part of the human “race”. Cheers and applause has been heard from opposition Countries when spectators and participants see Excellence and appreciate it from the opposing Countryman and Countrywoman.

What is this excellence that brings people from all around the world every two years to compete in the winter & summer Olympics? This question can be answered in the writing of a book or two… but I will just share three of some of my own personal insights, and relate it to squash:

1. Excellence to me is like — Striving for perfection – Losing my way to the top – Giving your best — Putting in the work – It’s who you train & play with – Being open to change – Working with a coach (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) – Developing a properly trained habit that you can repeat over & over again – Getting into the zone – Being linked with God – Excellence is about working with others in a positive way. Finally, I like the quote on excellence I heard several years ago in a tennis coaching certification course – “Perfection is the opposite of Excellence – that is, in striving for perfection athletes tend to give up because they are so worried of failure; yet when striving for excellence athletes understand that more failures equal more learning’s, thus Excellence is developed.” – Author unknown.
2. So to me, excellence is striving on a regular basis to be the best you can be in a particular discipline, whether you are winning or losing. It is important to note that this excellence cannot be obtained without the help of others. When I was in my late teen years and early twenties, I recall how my Pride got in the way of my becoming a professional hockey player. I didn’t always listen to my fathers’ wise training tips; nor did I respect my coaches’ wisdom – I was the centre of my own little universe. Poor social habits, injuries and my pride took me out of college hockey, but luckily I discovered squash and was introduced to it by one of Canada’s legendary squash coach’s, Stuart Dixon. In our first meeting Stuart hand wrote out a simple, yet profound, Positive coaching evaluation form and gave it to me – this turned out to be the “spark” that began to move me in the right direction. My dad still jokes with me about how he used to tell me to run up the mountainside near our house for hockey training; because that is the sort of training I have been doing to excel in squash for the past twenty five years. Following Stuart’s positive evaluation I found I was putting a check on my pride (it’s never enough though!) and I was more open to coaches’ suggestions, as well as tips from top players I met in tournaments. I was still losing matches, but I was definitely Learning more… and occasional wins were becoming more of a habit for me. Thanks Stuart, and thanks dad! Let’s now look at Olympic excellence and squash excellence.
3. Within countries competition is fierce to try and make the Olympic squad. Sometimes it seems like luck when one athlete makes the squad while another Loses out by several hundredths of a second. But, this is all part of the striving for excellence process. The person that is missing out on the team must learn from the experience and take this Learning into a new venture (part of the back up plans and possibly, part of the spiritual training). Striving for excellence is not having one game plan, but having many. I’m not just talking about having several game plans for a competition, but I’m also referring to having a game plan following a competition. Competitors must have winning and losing game plans when striving for excellence – this is a Winning Formula in the game of competition. Sounds like life, eh! This excellence can be seen in our worldwide squash community. When we, Sport Central, host our Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournament in the last week of November each year, there are at least eight or more different Countrymen visiting our city. There is only one winner of the 1st Place tournament prize at the end of the week, but the local spectators and I see many winners during the week of matches. These Winners in the game of LIFE show: Effort – Daily practice – Perseverance – Enthusiasm – Sportsmanship (conducting oneself with dignity when losing [learning!]; and conducting oneself with humility when winning) – Giving back attitudes (clinics for kids & sponsors) – Charity spirits. And our own Volunteers that make the tournament happen are winners – in short everyone is Striving for Excellence.

The Olympic and Paralympic athletes have their ups and downs similar to squash athletes – that is life. One thing is for sure, all the people and athletes that take part in these competitive atmospheres, whether they are Succeeding or Learning have similar characters, they all are striving for Excellence inside and outside of sport.

Keep on pushing yourself and have an “excellent day”!


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24th December 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho — Hack, choke, cough!

It is the season to be Merry — maybe a little too merry!

I recall last January’s blog entry ended with a statement like: “…January, ‘the drop shot’, Gifford.” This referring to my families regular week sabatical from squash and from work. During this holiday my family has been blessed each year with much food and drink. I usually come back to my passion, the game of squash, with a few extra pounds (kilo’s) on my body. So, my ho, ho, ho, tends to turn into coughing and wheezing for the initial first week of work.

Thus, the name “drop shot Giff” in the month of January, is very fitting. This New Year things are going to be different! — Though not too different. Those days of exagerated New Year’s resolutions are gone. What is the use of making a resolution that is too painstakingly hard to keep? Yes, this coming New Year I will just try three new, but simple, resolutions to keep some of the HO-HO going with less of the cough-cough. “How so you say?” Please read on…

1. I’m going to create my own “in-house” circuit training (CT) routine. This CT will consist of seven of my all-time favourite off court fitness routines that I feel relate to squash and good health.

(I) Stomach crunches (upper stomach); (II) Six pack tummy (sides of stomach); (III) Lower tummy burn (Lower stomach); (IV) Climb the ladder (get knees high); (V) Lunges (each leg); (VI) Superman (back arch); and (VII) Ghost racquet swings. I like to do my CT program about an hour prior to bedtime, or first thing in the morning. Please note: before you begin a CT program make sure you have a four to six week aerobic fitness base to avoid injury and heart stress (see your local professional or fitness trainer).

Now for the food and beverage dilemma.

2. Despite enjoying festive goodies and festive drinks, I’m going to be conscious of eating more fruits and drinking more water this holiday season. This food and drink combo are two of my main “tournament fuels” that, for me, keep my body and mind energized throughout an event. Yes, I will be partaking in slightly larger meals than normal and enjoying several festive drinks, but I will be aware (beware) of overdoing it. There is nothing like past negative experiences of overconsumption to help deter someone from keeping things in MODERATION. I recall a quote from Stephen R. Covey that said something like: “Power is the ability to change unwanted habits for new more empowering habits”. I challenge you to gain more power in your life this holiday season and coming year.

3. Lastly, I am going to enjoy a brisk walk (preferably with someone) each day enjoying the crisp dry minus 10 degree celsius Lethbridge, Alberta weather. Occasionally, when minus 20 degrees C is reached, this walk may have to be indoors in the local Mall. Heh, at least the sun is shining!

Look out 2K10! I’m coming in fresh, revived, invigorated, and yes, a few pounds over weight — but extremely happy.
Hoping you keep the HO, HO, HO in your squash game this coming New Year.
Merry Christmas,

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30th November 2009

2009 BC Open — Final

2009 BC Open

November 29th, 2009

What a treat to see two top level professionals go at it full on! The first game pace was at a level unseen in previous matches thus far in the tournament — fast & furious! Neither player seemed to show any weakness until the last point of the first game when (Laurence) Delasoux held what was sure to be a straight forehand drop shot, but with uncanny strength somehow hit it down the sidewall. (Siddharth) Suchde was caught leaning forwards and guessing wrong for the first time since point one. This was the turning point of the match. With the deception continuing from Laurence in the second and third games Sidd couldn’t seem to get control of any rally, being on the defense. However, Sidd did keep pressing and despite the lopsided score in the last two games he had Laurence breathing heavy, making him earn his 2009 BC Open PSA crown.

The results of the final are:

  • Laurence Delasaux (Eng) defeats Siddharth Suchde (Ind)
    10, 3, 1 in 52 minutes

On behalf of the squash committee I would like to thank Sport Central, the Travelodge, and the many other sponsors for supporting this year’s championship (see below). Of course, thanks to all the players who competed; and to all the volunteers and staff for all their hard work — which without this tournament could not be the success it was.

We are proud to announce that we raised $500.00 to be split between our two charities:

Anaphylaxis Canada — “helping people live with life threatening allergies”,
Squash BC’s 20/20 Fund — “helping support junior squash in BC”.

Congratulations Laurence Delasaux on winning the 2009 BC Open PSA Championships!

To view the full draw & results, and see tournament pictures, please go to the Sport Central website: http://sportcentral.ca/ and click on 2009 BC Open.

See you all next year!

Signing off at Sport Central in Richmond British Columbia,
Barry Gifford

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29th November 2009

2009 BC Open — Semi Finals

Semi Finals
November 28th, 2009

1st Match: Right from the gecko these two combatants were in it for the long haul. Both players showed great sportsmanship by giving the opposition a point/let on questionable calls — good character is rare in competitive sports these days — well done men! Each player rallied down the backhand wall with shots that seemed magnetized to the side wall — the only difference seemed to be a cracking crosscourt wide from Sidd (Suchde). In the 3rd, Charlton (Eddie) seemed to have enough of it, going for the occasional drop after a 30+ hit rally, to the crowds’ great anticipation —
patience & fitness wins the day for India!

2nd Match: The All England semi final contrasted with the other, in that, when there was an opportunity to drop it was taken. The precision of Delasaux’s shots was uncanny as the crowd was mesmerized with his wrist flicks. Laurence nonchalantly snapped his jellyfish-like wrist and stung Neil (Hitchens) every time — high quality length, and short game wins again!

The results of the semi finals are:

  • Siddharth Suchde (Ind) defeats Eddie Charlton (Eng)
    9, 14, 5 in 54 minutes
  • Laurence Delasaux (Eng) defeats Neil Hitchens (Eng)
    6, 5, 6 in 29 minutes

In the post-match interview Mr. Suchde said, “I will be more of an offensive player in the final…” A good choice, I say, as Delasaux will most likely be volleying more than unlucky Eddie. Laurence didn’t have much to say in prediction — actions speak louder than words.

British Columbia is looking forward to an exciting final (Sunday, 4pm at Sport Central), after watching a great week of squash!

Goodnight in Vancouver,
The Giff

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28th November 2009

2009 BC Open – Quarter Finals

Quarter Finals
November 27th, 2009

1st Match: (David) Phillips looked strong up until 5-all in the first game, when the retrieval of an offensive boast caused him to stress an ankle injury from the first round. The Canadian tried to stick in the match with an exceptional lob and drop game, but Eddie (Charlton) picked up his length game and finished David off with his two-wall boasts — Phillips retires after two.

2nd Match: (Siddharth) Suchde played a patient length game winning rallies through his superior fitness. Sidd played short shots the moment he felt (Lewis) Walters dropping back a bit, and Lewis found more tins on this day — Vancouver’s Indian crowd have a new favourite!

3rd Match: In the 2nd and 3rd games it looked as if (Anthony) Graham was going to take them with game balls in both. But, (Neil) Hitchens stuck it out, and Graham found the tin despite controlling the latter rallies. Graham gets the second best dive of the night hitting a gorgeous boast that tickled the front wall hitting the nick — Graham dives too deep, runs out of air!

4th Match: The best dive for the night came from (Jethro) Binns as he swan-dived retrieving the ball for unbelievable length, in the circumstance, and pulled out a winning shot to take the rally. That seemed to be what Binns needed to do more of against (Laurence) Delasaux whose exquisite length turns most opponents into pretzels. The pace of this match was very fast, with both players working extremely hard to about 5-all before Binns seemed to have no more left — Diving for treasure, not to be found!

The results of the quarter finals are:

  • Eddie Charlton (Eng) defeats David Phillips (Can)
    7, 5, retired in 14 minutes
  • Siddharth Suchde (Ind) defeats Lewis Walters (Eng)
    2, 10, 6 in 38 minutes
  • Neil Hitchens (Eng) defeats Anthony Graham (Eng)
    6, 10, 10 in 48 minutes
  • Laurence Delasaux (Eng) defeats Jethro Binns (Wal)
    5, 5, 6 in 39 minutes
Exciting semi-finals coming tomorrow — until then Cheers,
The Giff

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27th November 2009

2009 BC Open — 1st Round Main Draw

1st Round Main Draw
November 26th, 2009

Match #1 — After going up two games, Top seed David Phillips has some ankle
trouble in the 3rd. Suddenly BC teen sensation Thomas Brinkman looks like he
is going to take over the match, but to no avail. Phillips shows why he is
#1 with unrelenting pressure in the 4th to take it home — Canada’s hopeful!

Match #2 — Another Canadian teen, Fred Reid, looks impressive in many
rallies, but lacks the experience and strength of Eddie Charlton — Eddie dices up

Match #3 — Salvador Martinez made a big push in the first, yet couldn’t break
the Englishman down. Lewis Walters looks strong in the longest match of the
night. No salvation tonight for Salvador — time for a martini!

Match #4 — Vancouver’s Justin Todd looked very much in it in a close first
game. However India’ pride, Siddharth Suchde, has cross–trained on too many
mountains back home — stronger legs & lungs prevail!

Match #5 — Anthony Graham played splendid squash, hitting scintillating nicks
to tie one over on Tyler Hamilton — it is “British” Columbia, right!

Match #6 — Neil Hitchens hit some outrageous shots that had Dave “glassy”
eyed from the outset — hopefully hitching a ride to the final!

Match #7 — Jethro Binns just “waled” on the ball making his home countrymen
proud — Close to a heart attack for Matthew Serediak!

Match #8 — The anticipated match of the evening! It was to be an epic battle
of two PSA champions going head to head with the tournaments 2nd seed, Mike
“Moose” Corren
, taking on qualifier, but soon to be regular Main rounder,
Laurence Delasaux. Both players were playing sublime shots in the first
game, looking like two Buddhist monks from Sidd’s mountainous region in
India; then suddenly Laurence went to a level that most spectators and
players worldwide have never seen. Whap – wham – pow — the “Moose” hits the
train head on! Shots were so tight to the walls they might as well have been
playing in a 6 foot wide alley-way. Corren must have been in some distress,
as nicks were the choice of the evening. Laurence seemed to watch the
attempted nicks from afar and then in “Dash Incredible” speed dug them out
for his own winners — thanks for coming mate!

The results of the 1st round of the main draw are:

  • David Phillips (Can) defeats Thomas Brinkman (Can)
    6, 10, 3-11, 6 in 32 minutes
  • Eddie Charlton (Eng) defeats Fred Reid (Can)
    4, 6, 2 in 25 minutes
  • Lewis Walters (Eng) defeats Salvador Martinez (Mex)
    5, 6, 10 in 31 minutes
  • Siddharth Suchde (Ind) defeats Justin Todd (Can)
    8, 4, 5 in 25 minutes
  • Anthony Graham (Eng) defeats Tyler Hamilton (Can)
    1, 3, 4 in 23 minutes
  • Neil Hitchens (Eng) defeats Dave Glass (Can)
    6, 3, 8 in 26 minutes
  • Jethro Binns (Wal) defeats Matthew Serediak (Can)
    7, 4, 7 in 27 minutes
  • Laurence Delasaux (Eng) defeats Mike Corren (Aus)
    4, 16, 3 in 23 minutes
Until tomorrow’s quarters – good night in Vancouver (Richmond),
The Giff

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26th November 2009

2009 BC Open – 2nd Round Qualifications

2nd Round Qualifications — November 25th, 2009

Laurence Delaseux hit spectacular dying length to pull the leg strength out of his
opponent in 22 minutes — Luke Vaggers loyally began supporting the tourney sponsor
in the Replay Lounge.

Smoking Joe (Forster) was hitting nicks left and right, but Anthony Graham
somehow saw a bounce and retrieved them for his own winning shot — Forest-er went down in

Fresh legged Fred Reid takes out the suffering Suf (Sarafaz Ahmed) in convincing fashion — one Canadian moves on!

Zac “Babyface” Leman couldn’t pull out another upset victory, as Justin T
spanks the kid — two Canadians move into the Main Draw!

The results of the 2nd round of the qualifiers are:

  • Laurence Delaseux (Eng) defeats Luke Vaggers (Can)
    2, 2, 6 in 22 minutes
  • Anthony Graham (Eng) defeats Joe Forster (Can)
    6, 11, 7-11, 1 in 31 minutes
  • Fred Reid (Can) defeats Sarafaz Ahmed (Can)
    5, 6, 10 in 31 minutes
  • Justin Todd (Can) defeats Zac Leman (Can)
    6, 9, 6 in 29 minutes
Until then – Cheers,
Barry Gifford

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