What is Squash?
Squash is a quick-paced racquet sport played by two people in a singles match or four people in a doubles contest in a four-walled indoor court. Both players or teams aim to hit a small, hollow ball with their racquets hitting the front wall with the intention of not allowing the opponent to hit a valid return. Some people may refer to Squash as “Squash Racquets,” and it is not to be mistaken for “Racquetball,” even though both sports share some similarities.
Rules of Squash
There are some rules in place for standard singles squash matches, and they include the following:
- The game of squash starts with a serve by the player who won the racquet spin, which decides who serves first. For a serve to be allowed, the server must have one foot in the service box, ensuring that it doesn’t touch anywhere around the service box lines. After serving, the ball has to hit the front wall first, above the service line, and under the out line. Once the serve stands, players can continuously hit the ball against the front wall until one fails to return it or commits a foul.
- If the server earns the point, they will have to switch sides with the opposing player for the next point. However, if the server loses the point, they will forfeit the following serve to the opponent, who can then choose to serve from either side of the box.
- A player gets the point if their opponent fails to make a legal serve or return the ball during a rally. A player can also earn a point if the ball in play touches the other player in any part of their body or equipment. A player can also earn a point if the ball hits the ceiling or anything outside the court. Lastly, if the opponent tries to distract a player from hitting the ball either audibly or by some other shady tactic, the player gets the point.
- Point-a-rally scoring (PARS) is the official scoring system for a professional game of squash. It means that the rally winner receives a point, and the game goes on until one of the players reaches 11 points. However, a winner can only emerge when the player with 11 points has a two-point advantage over the opponent. If there is a case of both players having ten points apiece, the game will continue until one of them wins by two points and will be declared the winner of the game. The entire match winner will then be decided by whoever wins three games out of 5.
Here are some of the basic terminologies to know to enjoy and have an in-depth knowledge of squash.
- Let: The declaration of an unclear outcome, and the referee decides that players must repeat the rally.
- Appeal: A player can appeal for a let or a stroke if they think the opponent obstructed them in any way.
- Stroke: Occurs when a player hits their shot directly at the wall, and their opponent gets in the way of the ball or the swing. The referee will award a stroke to the player that hit the ball, hence declaring them the winner of that rally.
- Return: This is the same as “Serve return,” which is a shot that comes immediately after a serve.
- Tin: A marked area between the floor with tin covering it to make a distinct sound when the ball hits it. Hitting the tin is a side out and a point for the opposing player. Not good.
- Volley: When a player hits the ball at shoulder height or higher out of the air without letting it bounce on the floor.
- Drive: A flat, well-struck shot deep into the back of the court.
- Double hit: A foul shot that happens when the racquet hits the ball more than once. This is a side out or a point for the opponent.
- Dying length: A shot that bounces twice before hitting the back wall.
History of Squash
The story of squash dates back to 1830 at Harrow School, a public school in Greater London, England. The game started with young boys who found out that hitting a punctured racquetball against the wall makes for an exciting game because it requires more effort than a normal racquetball would.
About 30 years later, the school built proper courts for squash, and it went from being just a game played by students in their leisure to an official sport for the school. Gradually, this sport became popular among other schools in England, and in 1920, the first professional squash championship took place in England.
The first two squash national associations formed were the United States Squash Racquets Association and the Canadian Squash Racquets Association, created in 1904 and 1911. Despite being invented in England, squash didn’t have an independent association until 1928, when the Squash Racquets Association gained full status.
Differences between Squash and Racquetball
Both sports are often mistaken for each other because of some similarities they share. However, some factors can distinguish them. Such as:
The Equipment: The squash ball is 1/2 the size of a racquetball’s and has very low bounce in comparison. The racquet used for squash is much longer at 27 inches whereas a racquetball racquet is 22 inches long.
Rules: The rules differ for both sports. For example, in squash, either the server or receiver can score points, but in racquetball, only the server can score points. In racquetball, the ball has to bounce at least once after a serve before the receiver can return the serve, but in squash, the receiver can hit the ball without letting it bounce.
Court: In squash the front wall has a tin on the lower portion of the wall which you are not allowed to hit without it being a fault. As well the ball is not allowed to touch the walls above the top red line whereas in racquetball the ball can bounce off any part of the walls as well as the ceiling.
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