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A Fast-Paced Overview Of Squash

Enjoyed by players for more than 130 years, squash is now played by more than 15 million people in over 150 countries. Organized tournaments have been held since the early part of the last century and continue to capture the competitive spirit of new players each year. Squash enthusiasts are hopeful that the game will be added to the roster of the Olympic Games within a decade.

Though squash is played on a court that looks similar to a racquetball court, there are differences in the rules, equipment used, strategies and scoring. Below, you'll receive a quick overview of the sport. We'll describe the most important elements of the game so you can explore how to get involved.

A View Of The Court

The standard squash court is slightly wider than a racquetball court and significantly more shallow. The court measures 32 feet from front to back and 21 feet across the front and back walls. The front wall is marked by 3 horizontal lines that span the length of the wall. The lowest line, called the "board," is positioned 18.9 inches from the floor. The "service line" (the next line up) is sits 6 feet from the floor. Finally, the "out line" sits 15 feet from the floor. The court floor is crossed by a "half court" line which also sections off 2 service boxes and "quarter courts. This court size was standardized in Britain during the 1920s and has been unchanged since. The American version of this court is slightly different.

Equipment To Get Started

The equipment required to get started playing squash includes the racquets and squash balls. The balls come in varying levels of "bounce." While some of the balls have a greater bounce factor, others are considered extremely slow and easily-managed on the court. Besides the racquets and balls, most players adhere to a standard dress scheme. Both men and women wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes. While men typically prefer toward polo shirts (or t-shirts), women normally choose to wear skirts and a t-shirt (or tank top). Because of the velocity of the ball when struck, players should also wear protective goggles while on the court.

Playing And Scoring

Play begins when the server (with one foot in the appropriate service box) strikes the ball. The ball must contact the front wall between the service line and the out line. Then, it must either land in the quarter court opposite the server or be struck by the other player. From that point, a rally begins, alternating between the players. When a player is unable to return the ball properly, the rally ends. If the server wins the rally, he (or she) retains the serve and is awarded a point. If the receiver wins the rally, the serve is transferred with no point awarded (only a server may be awarded points after rallies).

A Healthy Way To Compete

Squash is largely a game of endurance, stamina, concentration and quick decision-making. Competitive players are usually mentally and physically capable on the court. When one player is disadvantaged (even in a minor way), his opponent can often leverage the limitation and dominate the game. Squash provides a workout that can be more strenuous than that which many people do while visiting the gym. In fact, a player may burn up to 1,000 calories during one hour of playing. In addition, the movements required of the player during the game build strength and flexibility throughout the entire body. Those who are looking for a fun, competitive sport that provides a natural workout should explore squash.