Welcome to the world of squash! You’ll quickly become enthralled by this exciting, challenging, athletic and fun sport which has 25 million fanatical players from every corner of the world.
Squash is a fun and challenging contest of agility, strategy, talent and mental and physical strength. It is an incredibly beneficial game for health and fitness, and has been voted the number one healthiest sport by Forbes Magazine. Along with its health benefits, squash has the ability to be played year-round, in all kinds of weather, by players of any skill level – making it a sport for everyone to love!
How to Play Squash is a racquet sport played by two players (or four players for doubles) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. Once the ball is served, players take turns hitting the ball against the front wall, above the tin and below the out line. The ball may strike the side or back walls at any time, as long as it hits below the out line and above the tin. The ball may only bounce once on the floor, and players may move anywhere around the court.
A match is the best of 3 or 5 games. Each game is played to 11 points. The player who scores 11 points first wins the game except that if the score reaches 10-all, the game continues until one player leads by two points. Either player may score points (PAR – point–a–rally). The server, on winning a rally, scores a point and retains the service; the receiver, on winning a rally, scores a point and becomes the server.
When it is his or her turn to play the ball, a player is entitled to freedom from interference by the opponent. To avoid interference, the opponent must try to provide the player with unobstructed direct access to the ball, a fair view of the ball, space to complete a swing at the ball and freedom to play the ball directly to any part of the front wall. If a player finds their opponent interfering with the play, they can accept the interference and play on, or stop play. It is preferable to stop play and call out ‘Let’ if there is a possibility of colliding with the opponent, or of hitting him or her with racket or ball. In this situation, the point is then either replayed as a ‘Let’ if the opponent was making every effort to avoid the interference, or if the interference is substantial and the player could not have played the ball then a ‘Stroke’ is awarded where the player wins the point. The basis for a ‘Let’, ‘Stroke’ or ‘No Let’ can be complicated, particularly for new squash players, and it is highly recommended that the Rules of Squash are read to fully understand the distinction between each.
Players typically return to the center of the court (the ‘T’) after making a shot. A key strategy in squash is known as ‘dominating the T’, the intersection of the red lines near the center of the court. Skilled players will return a shot, and then move back toward the ‘T’ before playing the next shot. From this position, the player can quickly access any part of the court to retrieve the opponent’s next shot with a minimum of movement. Compared to racquetball (another sport also played in a four-walled court), in squash, the better players become, the longer the rallies are and the more mentally and physically strategic and challenging the game becomes.
US Squash is proud to partner with Dunlop as the Official Ball. Dunlop is the premiere name in squash worldwide; it offers the World’s Number One Squash Ball. The 2009 Dunlop ball range meets the needs of the range of players from the professional level to beginners stepping onto a court for the first time. In 2009, Dunlop is introducing a new construction technology (N-1SR³) that makes each ball more durable and playable.
With a 12% larger size to the Pro and Competition ball, the Max ball has a 40% longer hang time to the Pro ball.
Players are able to quickly and easily develop correct technique while improving their skill level.
The risk of eye injury in racquet sports such as squash is high according to the American Academies of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics, the American Optometric Association, and eye care professionals who have studied sports eye injuries. Fortunately, these injuries are almost totally preventable with appropriate protective equipment.
All players and coaches must wear protective eyewear whether playing singles or doubles, hardball or softball squash during all activities involving racquets and balls that take place on a court at US Squash accredited (sanctioned) events.
The eyewear must meet or exceed the current American Society for Testing and Materials standard (ASTM-F803). Selecting protective eyewear that meets or exceeds the ASTM-F803 standard is the responsibility of individual participants.
To read information on approved Protective Eyewear suitable for squash, click here.
Racquets vary significantly in weight, power, balance, grip and frame and choosing a racquet is a personal decision that depends on what a person feels most comfortable with.
When starting out, the best option is to go to your local club pro shop and ask to trial of a range of their racquets so that you can understand the differences and decide on the racquet that most suits your strength, ability and preference.
Along with its health benefits, squash has the ability to be played year-round, in all kinds of weather, by players of any skill level and age – making it a sport for everyone to love!
Squash facilities and teams are part of many colleges, universities, Ivy-league, private and public schools. Every Ivy league school has a varsity squash team. Top ranked juniors in 2014 went to Yale, Princeton, Harvard, George Washington University, University of Virginia as well as other top colleges and universities around the country. UVA has recently built the 33,000-square-foot state of the art Mcarthur Squash Center dedicated to squash, demonstrating their commitment to the sport.
Over 20 million squash players participate regularly world-wide in over 185 countries.
The No .1 ranked male player is from Egypt. The No.1 ranke female player is from Malaysia, giving the sport at truly global presence
Squash players are highly educated, of which 98% are college graduates and 57% having further graduate degrees.
The United States has the fastest growing squash participation worldwide – the Sports & Fitness Association (SFIA) shows 82% growth overall between 2007 and 2011 to more than 1.2 million squash players.
More than 200 colleges and universities have courts, including 23 of the top 25 colleges as ranked by Forbes magazine
Junior Participation has grown over 400% since 2007 and this number rapidly continues to grow 20-30% annually
In the 2014 High School Team Championships there hosted over 150 teams from more than 20 states.
Since the 2007-2008 season, the number of teams in the U.S. High School Team Championships increased 88%! This is the largest squash tournament in the world with more than 1,500 players
In last five years there has been an 18% increase in the number of club and varsity college programs, and can expect this number to continue to grow as the increased junior participation continues to drive more club and varsity program development at the collegiate level.
There are 81 men’s and 46 women’s programs now. Some notable new programs in the last decade include: Dicknson College, Boston College (M & W), Bryant (M), Columbia (M & W), Drexel University (M & W), Georgetown (M & W), North Carolina (M), Notre Dame (M & W), New York University (W), Northeastern (M & W), Roger Williams (M), Haverford (W), Stanford (M & W), Kenyon College (M), Lafayette (M), Middlebury (M & W), University of Virginia (M & W), Vanderbilt (M & W), Vermont (M & W). For a full list of Collegesquash teams http://collegesquashassociation.com/
In today’s hyper-competitive world of college admissions, squash programs are becoming popular among clubs and schools seeking to give their students an edge in the college admission process.