Nick Mita has coached squash at the highest level but says he loves teaching the game to "everyday people".
The former Wairarapa-Bush rugby representative picked up squash after his rugby career ended, and he went on to the provincial level on the court too. Coaching was a natural progression.
"I've always seen myself as a players' coach, I have a passion for the game and know what people want. Helping people and bringing them up to a level they need to be is a really satisfying feeling."
Based in Wellington the past six years, Mita was the region's number one coach until December, when a "change in direction" from the new Wellington board saw him out of a job. Since then he has strived to establish an academy and junior programme and often travels overseas with the juniors he has been coaching at his own expense.
He is based in the Porirua basin, saying the Tawa and Mana clubs have been "awesome", letting him use their facilities and backing his plans.
"This region has the best squash players in the country right now, the highest ranked juniors that should clean up at the [upcoming] nationals. I coach all but one of the junior boys - if it wasn't for the kids, I wouldn't be doing this anymore."
Though Mita says squash clubs in New Zealand are generally in good heart, the junior programme is wanting. Only eight under-19 girls will contest the nationals, and 16 at the under- 17 level, which he says is "poor".
"New Zealand Squash has a great national coach now and there are plenty of good things going on in the sport. But things like targeting schools needs to be done, that's where we can grab the next young players. "
Mita says he is spending nearly 40 hours a week coaching, with a steadily- increasing client base, along with trips around New Zealand and overseas to help top players. It's a balancing act but he will always have time for lower- grade battlers and casual players.
"People assume I'm too busy, thinking 'he's away with the top players', so I won't bother trying to contact him. But I'm available more than you think - I can coach anybody and I enjoy it, it's fun."
Nick Mita can be contacted on 021 526 224.
- Kapi-Mana News