Meha Shah, one of our EPiC Academy players tells us how Edgbaston Priory Club has kept her passion for squash burning…
I’ve been playing squash since I was six-years-old and love it. I could hit a better drive back then than now! My dad used to play a lot and he took me down to the courts with him. I started having lessons with Deon Saffery at Edgbaston Priory Club (EPC) and she really helped me to perfect my backhand drive. I think that is probably my most favourite thing about the sport – the satisfaction of practising something and finally getting it right. Now, in a game when I hit that perfect shot it’s so satisfying, and winning after a good game is great.
But it’s not just playing squash that’s been really good. The sport teaches you so many other skills and you get some great life experiences. The people on the circuit are brilliant and I’ve made so many friends over the years from all around the country and the world. Even if you’re not playing in a match, just watching others and the level of some of the players on the circuit is unbelievable. Dealing with failure can be hard – everyone wants to win – but learning to take a loss and learning from it is really important. Losing has taught me to have a good cry, then go back and work on whatever made you lose so you win next time.
The British Junior Open (BJO) has taken place at the EPC since 2018. This year, my goal was to get into the top 16 in the under-15s. However, the effort and practise I put in simply wasn’t enough and I didn’t quite make it – coming in 23rd. It was very difficult for me to accept; but the truth is that what you put in, you get out and I’m going to put in even more over the next 12 months.
My favourite player is probably New Zealand’s Paul Coll. Someday I would like to have muscles like him. My favourite female player is Egypt’s Raneem El Weileily She came over for the Empower project and we had the enormous privilege of having her stay at our house along with Nicole David. She taught us (my sister Anya who also plays squash and I) so much and it was an amazing experience!
I’ve been a member of the EPiC Academy for 18 months. Ever since day one, Mike Harris has been giving us new plans and programmes to implement into our game. The knowledge – and the increased level of fitness – has improved my game dramatically. Also, having eight other players of a similar standard really helps. And when Mike shouts for us to do 100 court sprints – he means it! It’s great.
I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had at EPC and to Mike Edwards for introducing me to Ashaway who are my sponsor. I love their kit and it’s great to know they think me good enough to warrant their sponsorship. I also love seeing what Deon has done with the Empower Squash programme for underprivileged girls in Birmingham. It’s great seeing more players getting involved with the sport I love and getting so much back from it.