New Zealand men’s squash came of age during the 1970s, when a group of hardened players proved themselves as good as any amateurs in the world. Norm Coe coached them and, equally significantly, Rob Crothall trained them. The Aucklander was a physical education expert with an air force background. It was a happy day for squash when he began shaping Neven Barbour’s training programme.
Soon he was training the New Zealand men’s team and eventually he ushered in a new era of fitness awareness. The surge in New Zealanders’ performances – men and women - in the 1980s had much to do with Crothall’s influence. He helped in the physical training of virtually every leading New Zealand player for a 20-year period from the mid-1970s. His involvement mushroomed and he managed several national teams, but it was as a trainer he made his most telling contribution.