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The origins of squash trace back to the early 19th century in England, where it evolved from the older game of rackets at Harrow School, a prestigious public school just outside of London, England. Initially, the game was just a fun pastime for students at the school that would take place outside the main school building in the "Corner". It quickly grew in popularity and eventually spread across the globe. By the early 20th century, squash courts were being built in the United States, Canada, and India, setting the stage for the global presence squash enjoys today.

The Benefits of Learning Squash for Kids and Adults

Squash offers many benefits for players, both kids and adults, and it makes an excellent sport for all ages. It's a fantastic way to improve cardiovascular health, as it involves a lot of running, lunging, and quick movements. It also enhances flexibility, balance, and coordination.

For children specifically, squash can also help develop hand-eye coordination and strategic thinking skills. Additionally, playing squash is a great way to relieve stress and offers a social aspect, as players can meet new people through the sport and practice good sportsmanship.

Squash Equipment

As far as sports go, squash is a fairly low buy-in in terms of equipment. To play squash, you don't need a lot of specialized equipment, but a few key items are essential:

  • Racket: Squash rackets are lightweight and have a small head compared to other racket sports.
  • Ball: Squash balls come in different colors, each indicating a different level of bounce and speed suitable for varying skill levels.
  • Shoes: Indoor, non-marking court shoes are necessary to maintain grip and prevent damage to the court floors.
  • Eyewear: Protective eyewear is highly recommended to prevent eye injuries from the ball or racket.

There are other squash equipment and accessories that, while not essential, could benefit a player by helping them to have a better playing experience. These items include:

  • Sweatbands
  • Squash bag
  • Grip tape
  • Appropriate athletic wear
  • Squash gloves
  • Dampeners
  • Personalized racket strings
  • Training aids (rebound net, target cones, instructional videos)

Keeping a water bottle and a couple of energy bars in your squash bag is also a very good idea to keep up your hydration and energy levels.

Form and Technique

Mastering the basic form and technique in squash is crucial for both enjoyment and success in the game. Beginners should focus on the grip, swing, and footwork:

  • Grip: Hold the racket with a relaxed, firm grip to allow for wrist flexibility.
  • Swing: The squash swing involves a combination of arm and wrist movement; beginners should practice both forehand and backhand swings.
  • Footwork: Good footwork is essential for reaching the ball and preparing for shots. Practice moving back to the "T" (the central area of the court) after each shot.

Squash Safety

Squash is a high-intensity sport, and safety precautions are necessary to prevent injuries:

  • Always wear protective eyewear.
  • Always stretch before you practice or play.
  • Use proper technique to reduce the risk of strain or injury.
  • Be aware of your opponent's position to avoid collisions.
  • Ensure the court is clean, in good condition, and free of hazards.

The Rules of Squash and Scoring the Game

The basic rules of squash are straightforward. It is a fast-paced racket sport played by two or four players in a four-walled court with a small rubber ball that is hollow inside. The goal is to hit the ball onto the front wall within the large area defined by the outline and above the tin (the lower board). The ball can hit the side or back walls at any time, but it must strike below the out line and above the tin. The ball can only bounce on the floor one time, and players may move anywhere around the court to connect with the ball. Players take turns hitting the ball, and points can be scored by the server (traditional scoring) or either player (point-a-rally (PAR)), currently the most common scoring method) when their opponent fails to return the ball. A match is typically won with the best of five games, with each game played to 11 points. If the score reaches 10-10, play continues until one player leads by two points.

Differences in US and European Gameplay

While squash generally follows the same rules worldwide, there can be minor variations in scoring and conduct that depend on regional governing bodies. However, the shift to the PAR scoring system and standardization of court dimensions have minimized regional differences. The most notable differences today are not in the official rules but rather in playing style and strategies, which can vary due to coaching philosophies and player preferences across different regions.

Whether you're looking to improve your physical fitness, meet new people, or simply enjoy a fast-paced game, squash offers something for everyone. It's a dynamic and beneficial sport for players of all ages and skill levels. Remember to focus on equipment, form, and safety as you start your squash journey, and enjoy the process of learning and improving in this exciting sport.

Squash Resources


Learn about the author: Ben Thompson