What is Squash?
An introduction to this fast-paced game in a four-walled indoor court that Forbes magazine once called the healthiest sport in the world.
The History of Squash
Teenage boys at one of England's most exclusive schools, Harrow, are often credited for inventing squash in the middle of the nineteenth century. But the sport wouldn't have been created if it wasn't for the inmates in a London prison.
Those prisoners had previously invented a game called rackets, which later spread outside the prison walls, including to schools such as Harrow. Waiting for their turn on a rackets court, some Harrow schoolboys were hitting a punctured rackets ball around, and noted how it squashed against the wall, making for a different game. This new sport, which became known as squash, grew in popularity during the twentieth century and is now played by millions of people around the world.
How to play Squash
You're going to be burning hundreds of calories in this fun, fast-moving game played with a small, hollow rubber ball. As you and your opponent can create angles by using the side and back walls you're going to be testing your geometry as well as your fitness.
The server, who must have at least one foot in the service box, starts a point by hitting the ball against the front wall - above the service line and below the ‘out line’, which is the line running around the top of the court. The server is aiming to land the ball beyond the short line on the other side of the court, and the ball can hit the side and back walls, just so long as it's below the ‘out line’.
The serve doesn't always bounce - as the returner, you have the option of volleying the ball. You can also volley all subsequent shots in the rally, or let it bounce once, but never twice as then the point is over. The rally continues with each player taking it in turns to hit the ball against the front wall, making sure it's above the area at the base known as 'The Tin', and below the ‘out line’ on the front, side and back walls.
Let, Stroke and No Let
A squash court is a relatively small space for two people - once you've played your shot, you must quickly move out of the way of the ball and your opponent. And they must do the same for you. If you feel that your opponent is in the way when you’re trying to take a swing at the ball, you can carry on playing if you think you can still win the point, or you can call out 'let'.
It might take you a little while to learn the difference between a 'let' and a 'stroke'. But for now you need to know that the point will be replayed if your opponent was doing their best to dodge you and the ball; that’s a ‘let’. But if your opponent's interference is more serious, a 'stroke' is awarded, giving you the point. A third possibility is 'no let', where it's decided that your opponent wasn't interfering with your shot and that play could have continued. And when you're playing doubles it can be even more challenging to make sure you're not in the way.
There is more than one scoring system to choose from. Elite tournaments use the point-a-rally-scoring system, where you always receive a point after winning a point, whether you're the server or the receiver. Each game is played to 11 points, though you must be ahead by at least two points. Generally, matches are the best of five sets, which means you have to win three sets.
Another option is to use the more traditional English scoring system where you can only win a point when you're serving - if a returner wins the rally, they then get to serve, and then continue serving until they lose a rally. The winner of the game is the first to nine points. If the score is tied at 8-8, whoever was the first to reach 8 gets to decide whether the set is played up to 9 or to 10.
HEAD have a range of racquets to suit all abilities and playing styles. As well as the Radical series for optimized control, HEAD offers Speed racquets for ultimate speed and the Extreme series for superior playability. HEAD also has Spark and Cyber racquets for beginners and recreational players, and Junior frames for boys and girls.
The color of the dot on your HEAD squash ball has a big impact on the game you play. The Start Ball, which has a single white dot, is engineered for a higher bounce, which allows for longer rallies, while the Tournament Ball, which has a single yellow dot, is for more advanced players. The Prime Ball, with its double yellow dot, has superior quality, control and durability, making it ideal for elite players.
You'll change direction hundreds of times in a game so you'll need the HEAD squash shoe that’s right for you. For ultimate comfort and performance, as well as style, choose HEAD's sportswear with their modern fabrics, technologies and design. A HEAD squash bag will allow you to carry your racquets and kit in style and comfort.
What’s the difference between Squash and Racquetball?
At first glance, these two sports seem to be very similar. But there are significant differences, including when it comes to size. A squash court is smaller than a racquetball court, and a squash ball is smaller and not as bouncy. A squash racquet is also longer than a racquetball frame, but the stringed area for squash is narrower.
Did you know that in racquetball the server has to bounce the ball before hitting it? And while squash players only get one serve, racquetball players have a couple so they can make a fault on the first without any penalty.
There are other differences between these two racquet sports. You're allowed to hit the ceiling in racquetball but it's out of bounds for squash. And while a squash player has to avoid 'The Tin', a racquetball court doesn't have the same out of bounds area at the base of the front wall. The scoring is also different, as a game of racquetball is played up to 15 points, and you can only win a point when you're serving.
What do you wear when playing pickleball?
For ultimate performance, comfort and enjoyment, wear HEAD's pickleball shoes. Engineered with innovative technologies and premium materials, HEAD footwear gives you the support, stability, cushioning and lightweight comfort that you're looking for. Wearing a HEAD pickleball glove will enhance your grip on the paddle’s handle, and some picklers like to wear HEAD eyewear. You can also show your love for the sport in one of HEAD's pickleball T-shirts and by organising your paddle, balls and the rest of your kit in a HEAD pickleball bag.