Played by over 15 million people in more than 150 countries, squash has a rich history that can be traced back to the 1860s. Squash consists of two players and is an indoor game that requires a lot of strength and endurance. In this article, we’ll be discussing various aspects related to squash that will help you understand the sport better.
Squash is a racket and ball sport played by two players inside a four-walled squash court. The players alternately hit the hollow rubber ball using their rackets until one of them makes an invalid return. Squash is governed by the World Squash Federation (WSF), based in Hastings, England.
Where Does Squash Sport Come From?
The origins of squash can be traced back to the ancient game of tennis. Ball games similar to squash have been around for thousands of years and have been enjoyed by the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. The Dutch invented the racket and started playing on purpose-built courts for the first time in the 15th century. The use of these courts then started becoming common and eventually led to them being widely used by many European states.
Founded at Harrow School in England, squash was a combination of two different games; Racquets and Fives. The game has evolved in many ways, with the shape of the rackets changing and different versions of the game being introduced. There are many variations of the game played all over the world; however, the international version is the most preferred one.
Brief History of Squash
Squash has been played for a very long time, with its roots going back to London’s prisons in the 19th century. The game gradually spread to schools and colleges and became a popular sport. The first squash courts were built in Harrow School, just outside London, but they were dangerous because they were next to water pipes and chimneys. Students customized their rackets to adjust their reach according to these conditions.
The rules and the format of the game were formally set up in the early 1900s. Before this time, squash was played with no specific rules. After the introduction of formal rules and regulations, the game started becoming popular and was played in different clubs and by different individuals.
The shape and style of squash rackets changed gradually. At first, these rackets were manufactured from laminated timber but later on shifted to lighter materials for better control. The strings were also changed to synthetic strings from the natural “gut” strings.
Squash Sport Basics
Squash is a straightforward game and has a pretty simple set of rules. Each match consists of a best of 3 or 5 games. A player needs to score 11 points before the other to win. If both the players are level on 10 points each, the game will continue until any one player wins it by a margin of 2 points. The player who serves first needs to win the point to retain the service, while the receiver needs to win the point in order to become the server.
When it’s the turn of a player to play the ball, the opponent should not obstruct his or her way, provide full freedom to swing the racket at the ball, and shouldn’t block his or her view. In case of an opponent interfering, the player can call ‘Let,’ and the game can be stopped to replay the point. If the inference is deemed intentional, the player is awarded a stroke, and he or she wins a point. The whole concept of interference is not that simple to understand for amateur players; hence, we recommend an in-depth reading of the rules of squash.
Is Squash Sport and Racquetball the Same?
As similar as they sound, Squash Sport and Racquetball are totally different from each other. The only similarity between the two is that they are played on a court between four walls. Squash is a much more intense game that requires a higher level of fitness and a versatile skill set. Mental toughness is something that is absolutely necessary if you want to excel in squash.
There are a number of differences between Squash Sport and Racquetball, the most obvious being the dimensions of the court. Furthermore, the point scoring system of squash is different from that of racquetball.
Although both sports are played with a racket and a ball, the shape and design of the rackets are different from each other as well. A racquetball racket is marginally shorter and has a tear-drop-shaped stringed area, while a squash racket has a narrower stringed area.
Squash is a renowned game played across the globe, whereas racquetball is only limited to some parts of America. Due to the benefits of squash sport, Forbes Magazine listed it as the healthiest sport in the world, as a player burns 1000 calories per hour while playing it.
Is Squash an Olympic Sport?
The governing body of squash, the World Squash Federation (WSF), is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC); however, it is yet to be a part of the Olympics. Many efforts by the WSF and other individuals have failed to push squash as an Olympic sport. There are various reasons why this hasn’t happened.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) systematically revisits the list of sports to be played at the Olympics to decide which ones should be included or removed as medal events for the upcoming Olympics. A sport should align with the values of the Olympic Games, which are ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius,’ which translated to English mean Higher, Faster, Stronger. Additionally, the sport should be played in over 75 countries on four continents by men and in at least 40 countries on three continents by women.
Some of the informal requirements for a sport to be played at the Olympics as a medal event include appeal to the youth, added value, attractiveness for media and public, gender equality, less complexity, infrastructure, and operational costs.
There have been multiple attempts by the WSF to make squash an Olympic sport over the years, but they still have a long way to go. Being played at the Olympics can really change the fate of squash and introduce it to the world. But until then, it remains to be played in selected countries like Great Britain, Australia, Pakistan, and France.
To sum it up, squash has been played in different parts of the world for a long period of time. After going through the various aspects related to squash mentioned in the article, we hope you have a better understanding of the sport. Remember that squash is listed as the healthiest sport by the Forbes Magazine to play due to the endurance, agility, and mental strength required to compete at the highest level. This makes it a great sport to choose if you’re looking to work on your physical fitness.