Kelly shows kids how to be champs

Newly qualified squash coach Jake Kelly is wasting no time in putting the skills he acquired in the summer to good use.

Kelly, 19, is coaching kids from the George Hicks Primary School every week and in the New Year will be teaching more children.

Thanks to the support of the South Sound Squash Club, Kelly went to England to take his Level 1 coaching certificate.

The trip was funded by Ian Patrick’s Active Services (Cayman) Limited. Patrick has a long association with Cayman squash as a player and committee member and should be commended for helping Kelly, one of the Caribbean’s best young players, get his first coaching badge so that he can stay in the sport full-time.

Kelly beat the former Caribbean champion Gavin Cumberbatch in a thrilling match at the Cayman Open in May, an inspirational victory that boosted his confidence.

According to Kelly, one highlight of his England experience was ‘eating sheperd’s pie’. He added: ‘I stayed with my brother in Leicester and took the train to Sheffield to do the course.

‘I was really impressed with the English squash scene. There are so many more players and the standard and coaching is a lot better than here. All in all it was a good experience.’

Every Thursday afternoon, Kelly takes 12-14 year olds for about an hour after school. Why did he start? ‘It’s my mom really. She proposed the idea to me. I knew I was capable. The kids come willingly and it’s on a first come, first serve basis.

‘In the few sessions we’ve had I’ve already seen a lot of improvement. They’re all hitting the ball pretty well.’

In January he is starting a free coaching session every week night for kids.

Kelly is No.2 in Cayman and ranked No.12 in the Caribbean. A national rugby player, he is concentrating on squash for the time being.