It’s certainly been a season to remember. County Champion at the age of just 16 and impressing week in, week out against the Premier League’s top players.
Max Forster is certainly one to watch, and we caught up with him to learn some more about the upcoming star.
Max was sat alongside coach Dave Barnett, who has been a major part in shaping the player we see today.
How did you first take up squash?
Max: My Grandad used to play. He would play in Saudi and places like that, playing competitions abroad. My mum saw a coach called Jane Dennis, she was coaching kids about 4/5 years old, the young ones, but thought I could get into it. I was about 7.
Dave, when did you first come across Max?
Dave: He was in the squash section here with Jane Dennis, she takes the younger ones for mini squash. Then there’s a progression really from the mini-squash through.
I set up the performance squads here about 10 years ago maybe, and the kids just filter into that really. It was that Max got better and as he got older Jane said “you take over”. He came into the squads and had lessons and it’s all just gone from there really.
It was from about 10 that he started playing games, playing competitions.
When did you realise how good he was?
Dave: He got to number one in the county when he was 11. So he was good from when he was very young. I just think his attitude’s always spot on. He’s always energetic, always eager to play. With that combination he’s always improving, always getting better. Right from when I first met him he’s always had that enthusiasm.
Max: The first tournament win I can remember was when I won the under 11’s. I played a guy called Matthew Carr in the final, it was 3-2 in the final. I played a lad called Harry Little in the semi. I feel like that was my first competition. I know it wasn’t but I can just remember it like it was yesterday.
When I beat the lad in the final 3-2 it just felt like hours.
Goal for the future?
Max: I just want to get in the England team really badly. I’ve got a shot at getting into it this year but if not I’ll just have to work at getting into the Under 19s one.
How important is Max’s mental toughness?
Dave: It’s big. Anybody that’s good has to have that side. Two or three years ago he used to be a bit emotional. In an intense situation he used to panic a bit, rush a bit. That’s been the biggest improvement in the last couple of years is the fact that he can stay composed at the right times, play the right shots at the right times. That’s been the difference from knocking on the door to now moving on, his calmness under pressure.
It’s very easy under pressure to play a silly shot, to get a bit anxious. That’s been Max’s biggest improvement and it’s led to consistently better results.
How much travelling do you do?
Max: I think the last seven weekends in a row I’ve been away. I’m also away for the next two at least. I try and play every day.
Max: I’ve got to say The Edgbaston Priory Club because that’s just such a nice club. Also, Northern because I won the British Closed there and I love the courts, I feel settled.
Any experience abroad?
Max: I’ve been to the Dutch I think three times. I’ve been to the French once and to the Irish.
I’ve really loved when I’ve been to the Dutch the last couple of years. There’s about 21 courts and the other club was about 17 courts. It’s so good with all the players from all around the world.
I played an Egyptian guy who just chopped me 3-0 and I just didn’t understand how to play him. I played an Indian guy as well and they come up with such different shots.