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Articles: Squash


Squash is a racquet sport based on speed, agility, endurance, and eye-hand coordination. The game is played as a singles’ or doubles’ match on a court enclosed by 4 walls. Players alternate turns hitting a rubber ball against the front wall of the court, and other walls can be used as long as the ball does not hit the ground before hitting the front wall. A point is won when the player cannot return the ball or when it is hit into the ground by a player.

Squash was invented in 1830 at Harrow School in England; it has its origins from the old game of racquets. The game gained popularity during the 19th century, and at the beginning of the twentieth century, in 1904, the first squash national federation in the United States was formed (United States squash racquets association). The US squash rules were formulated in 1907, whilst in the UK, the squash racquets association formed to set up rules for the game in 1928.

The modern game of squash is governed by the Professional Squash Association (PSA). The game is quite popular globally, with nearly 50,000 courts worldwide. The strongest countries in the world are Egypt and England. However, the game is also very popular in Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Malaysia, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. There is a professional squash tour based in the United States. The sport of squash is recognized by the IOC, but is not yet an Olympic sport.

Squash is played worldwide by both men and women, at various age levels from juniors to seniors. Players participate in squash in either a singles match, doubles, or mixed doubles formats.

A squash match

Squash is played in a four walled court; these walls are either permanent walls or in the case of big events, made of a special one-way glass where spectators can sit around the court and see inside it, whilst the players inside see seemingly solid walls.

The court is rectangular, measuring 6.4 m wide and 9.75 m long. The front wall has three lines drawn on it. An upper boundary line is set 4.57 m from the floor, and a lower boundary line is set 0.48 meters from the floor; the area below this lower line is covered in a metal section and is called the ‘tin’. The third line on the front wall is a service line set 1.78 m above the floor, and all served balls must hit the front wall above this line.

The back wall has a boundary line set 2.13 m from the floor; this line then runs up the side walls until it meet the front wall’s upper boundary line.

The service area in Squash is placed at the back of the court and is marked on the floor by a line 4.26 m from the back wall. The service is split into a right half and left half, measuring 3.2 m each. Each of the service areas has a service box which is a 1.6 m square, and which starts from where the service line meets the side wall.

Whilst original Squash racquets were made of wood and strung with gut strings, modern racquets are made of composites and strung with synthetic strings. The balls used in Squash are between 39.5 and 40.5 mm in diameter, and weigh 23 to 25 grams; they are made of 2 halves of rubber.

Players must wear appropriate clothing: men wear shorts and t-shirts, and women wear the same or a sport’s dress. There are no restrictions on color on sponsor logos that can be displayed on the clothing. Special anti-slip squash shoes are worn to provide grip for the players on the smooth court floor.

Beginning of play

At the beginning of a match, after the players have been introduced, the start of play is determined by a racquet being spun with the winner of the spin choosing to serve from either the right or the left side of the service box. For a serve to be legal, the server must have one foot inside the service box, and not be touching any of its lines. Once served, the ball must hit the front wall above the service line, and land in the opponent’s service box. It is the opponent’s choice to return the serve either after it has landed or to volley the ball. All the balls must hit the front wall above the lower boundary line.

Squash rules

Squash rules and rankings are set by the PSA and they are quite simple: each player’s shot must hit the front wall before hitting the ground. It can hit any side walls or back wall before hitting the front wall, as long as it does not hit the ground. After the ball hits the front wall, it is the opponent’s shot and he can elect to hit it at any time before it bounces more than once.

Due to the nature of a squash court, where the players share a confined space, interference can occur, either by blocking the opponent's direct access to the shot, or with the racquet swing, or by blocking the path of the ball to the front wall. When interference is deemed unintentional, and the player appeals, it is deemed a ‘let’ and the point is replayed. On the other hand, if the interference is intentional, or is with the swing of the other player racquet, then a ‘stroke’ is called and the point is awarded to the appealing player.

Scoring in squash uses the ‘Point a rally system’. In this scoring method, whichever player wins the rally wins a point and the right to serve the next point. A Squash game is played to 11 points, but in order to win a game, a player needs a 2 point winning margin, so with the score tied at 10-10 the first player to reach 12-10 is the winner. Squash matches are played as a best of 5 games.

Squash matches are officiated by three referees; the central referee calls out the score and is the main arbiter, he is responsible for the decisions regarding interference and penalties for improper etiquette. He is assisted by 2 side referees.

Tactics in squash

Squash is a frenetic fast paced game, where the main objective of each player is to dominate the point, and either hit a winning stroke or force the opponent into an error. At the top end of the game, more often than not a squash match is a war of attrition between players looking to wear each other down to gain an advantage. To achieve this, players use a combination of power strokes, drop shots, straight and cross court strokes, and lobs. There are no drawn matches in Squash, each match must have a winner. In the event of a tie, play continues until there is a victor. Most Squash players fall into one of 4 specialization categories of player: power player, shot makers, retrievers, and attrition players.

Players have coaches and trainers, who they can communicate with in-between games of a match; however, communication is prohibited during the game itself.

Professional squash

There are no set routes for becoming a professional player, it is only a matter of training, improving and winning tournaments. All professional tournaments are organized as knock-out competitions, with the exception of certain national team events.

The biggest tournaments in the world are the World Championship, the PSA World series, the World Series squash finals, and the World Squash Series tournaments. The season runs year round in various locations around the globe, with its peak being the annual World Championship.

Betting on squash

Generally, betting on squash is possible year round, as and when main tournaments occur. It tends to take the form of a straight bet on match winners, although occasionally, bets on the number of games in a match can occur.