Squash coaches behind first English female world number one in twelve years receive national award

20 April 2016

David Pearson and Danny Massaro have seen their coaching achievements honoured at a national awards ceremony, where they took home gongs for Elite Coach of the Year. The Polar Squash Workforce Awards, which were hosted at the 2016 Allam British Open in Hull, recognise and celebrate those who have made an outstanding commitment and contribution to the sport.

  • 57 year old David Pearson from Harrogate and 41 year old Danny Massaro from Preston are the coaches behind world champion squash player, Laura Massaro
  • A former professional player, David has dedicated the past 30 years of his life to coaching squash
  • Danny is author of new book The Winning Parent, has been a lecturer in sports coaching for the past 20 years and has travelled the globe mentoring his wife, Laura
  • The pair won Elite Coach of the Year at The Polar Squash Workforce Awards

The award acknowledges the role that both Danny and David have played in seeing Laura Massaro rise to World Number One. Together, they combine forces at major World Series events and work in harmony with one another to provide Laura with the support, environment and coaching that she needs at elite level. Danny and David also work with a number of other English players including Nick Matthew, Jenny Duncalf, Chris Simpson and Ashley Davies.

57 year old dad of four David began playing squash at the age of 18 and went on to play professionally for twelve years. He then became the England National Coach for 15 years, throughout which time he played for England 40 times, went to three Commonwealth Games and won several world titles. He has now been coaching for the past 30 years and has coached three world champions, including Laura and Nick Matthew. His daughter, Jenny Duncalf, is a former world number two squash player.

Danny has coached and mentored his wife Laura since she became a professional player in 2002, leading her to become the only British woman in history to hold both The World Open and the coveted British Open titles.

As a lecturer in sports coaching for the past 20 years, he has now released his first book, ‘The Winning Parent: A Parent’s Guide for the Journey of Competitive Sport’. Throughout his career he has developed hundreds of young players, many of whom have gone on to represent England, and has travelled all over the world with Laura to coach her through professional tournaments.

Laura had one of her most successful seasons in 2015, winning the Macau Open, US Open and Qatar Open. These results saw her take over the World Number One spot in January 2016, in doing so becoming the first English female number one since Cassie Champion in 2004.

Tom Duggan, England Squash Head of Coaching and Performance, who nominated the pair for the award, said:

The team effort of David and Danny has been a major driving force for Laura’s international success. Each brings a different coaching style; David knows first hand what it takes to perform on the world stage, while Danny as Laura’s husband is key to her daily training routine.

It would be wrong merely to pigeonhole the achievements of these exceptional coaches to Laura Massaro. They both work with a number of other England and England Academy players and their commitment to the sport is an inspiration.


Commenting on his award win, David said:

The award is a privilege as it shows you still have the ability to help others to achieve their goals. Squash has allowed me to travel the world and meet people of all walks of life. I feel I have a hobby for a job and wake up every day looking forward to working with talented young athletes and helping them achieve everything they can in their careers.


Danny said:

For me, winning the award was a small sign that I have been appreciated for my part in Laura’s success. As a coach you are very giving and take on a lot of pressure. As Laura is my wife it has often been even more than usual! It is nice to be recognised for that, although it feels a bit strange because Laura is the one who goes out and delivers the hard part!

“Sharing the award with David, my friend and coaching mentor was particularly exciting. It feels like a real team effort we have put in over the past five years so it made it all much sweeter to win it with him. I feel very proud.

Spanning seven categories, The Polar Squash Workforce Awards received more than 300 nominations this year. For more information on the awards, visit: http://www.englandsquash.com/polar-coaching-volunteer-awards

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