Continuing with our ‘Meet the State Graders’ series, we are excited to introduce another two of the fellows who are competing in the state’s highest level competition. This week we spoke to Hilton Squash Club’s Eric Gray, and Mandurah Squash Club’s Brad Hibbs…
Eric was born in Canberra ACT, but moved to Perth when he was three. Brad is also from the Eastern States; born in Brisbane, and then raised in Townsville.
We asked them how they first got into squash. After dabbling in a bit of tennis when his family moved to Townsville, Brad saw the light and gave squash a go – and rest is history! Eric gave squash a try when he was just eight years of age while on a family holiday and was instantly hooked. Upon returning home, he joined his father and his work mates when they would play a couple of evenings a week. All up, Brad has been playing for 37 years, and Eric 12 years.
What does a typical week look like for Eric and Brad? Well Eric is certainly a very active young fellow! “To start the week I play in the Monday night King of the Court social at Hilton. On Tuesday nights I play Division 1 pennants for Hilton. On Thursday nights I play in the State Grade competition. I usually like to get in a training session on the weekend if I can, either doing drills with a partner or practicing solo. On my days away from Squash, I like to do a mixture of running, resistance training and Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing), to improve my strength, fitness and overall health.”
Brad plays twice per week which includes State Grade on Thursdays and trains one other day each week as he is able. It’s tough to squeeze much more than that in when you manage your own business and have a young (and gorgeous, might we add) family!
We asked Eric and Brad what they love the most about squash. Brad eagerly shared, “the people!” but also loves the challenge of playing an individual sport. Eric shared, “I love the combination of skill and physical capability that it takes to play squash. The mixture of competition and camaraderie also makes the squash community a great thing to be a part of. I have many fond memories from my time as a Junior that will make it hard to ever give the sport up”.
Finally, we asked what pearls of wisdom they would like to share with any junior currently travelling along the development pathway. Brad encourages our up and coming juniors to, “Enjoy your squash! If you smile while you’re playing, you will always play better.” Eric said “to be grateful, and take full advantage of the opportunities you will be given in this sport. Some of my greatest memories include the trips I did with the state team when I was younger.” Beautiful advice!! ❤️
Thank you so much for your time gentlemen – and best of luck for the season!