Player / Coach
Barbara Cooper has achieved a remarkable squash career in two very separate and distinct areas – as an athlete and as a coach.
She immigrated to Canada from her native England in 1988. Prior to this, she represented Great Britain in two world championships – 1979 and 1981 and coached the English Team from 1979 through 1986. She also won the 1986 British Open 35+ Championship.
In 1988, Barbara was enticed to come to Canada and specifically Toronto by the then General Manager of The Mayfair Group, Paul Frost. The new Mayfair Lakeshore Racquet Club had just been built and he wanted a high profile coach for the club – someone who would become a beacon for players in the city. Under Barb’s stewardship, the Lakeshore grew into arguably the most successful squash facility in the country.
She amassed an impressive array of Ontario titles including Open and Closed titles in 1990 and 1991 and added doubles titles in 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994 and 1997. Age didn’t slow her down as in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and 2002, she won Ontario 40+ doubles championships. Barb also tried her racquet at hardball and mastered that as well – winning the open title in 1992.
She represented Team Ontario twice in Canadian Women’s Teams Championships and both times, helped bring home gold medals.
Barb excelled at the national level as well, winning the 45+ Canadian Championship in 1999 and the 50+ in 2001 and 2002. She continued to show her versatility by winning national titles in the open doubles in 1989 and 1990; the 40+ in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and the Open Mixed in 1989 and 1993 and a title in the 40+ Vets doubles.
In 1992 and in 1993, Barbara won the Women’s World 40+ Championships.
When Barb came over from England, she did so with what would be an equivalent Level 3 coaching certification in tennis; as her playing career wound down, she focused on the coaching end of things and through the next 10 years, motored through the coaching certification process to where she is now the only level 5 squash coach in Canada. She is also a master learning facilitator for both Squash Ontario, Squash Canada and the Coaches Association of Ontario, delivering all courses for Part A and B as well as “managing conflict”, “the psychology of Performance”, “Coaching and Leading Effectively” and fundamental movement skills.
Barb is a recipient of the Ontario Government Syl Apps Award for outstanding contribution to squash in Ontario and Squash Ontario’s highest honour, the Special Achievement Award.
Barb is also a best-selling author, having written two books on squash and was recently honoured by the National Academy of Best-Selling authors with its esteemed Quilly award.
Her career in squash is unique, combining outstanding playing ability which resulted in many Ontario, Canadian and International Championship titles with her innate understanding of the game which she parlayed into one of the most successful coaching careers in the country.