Squash

 

Squash is a racquet sport played on an enclosed four-walled court. The ball can be bounced off any wall within the marked lines; every shot must come off the front wall before hitting the ground. The object of the game is to win points by ensuring that your opponent is unable to return your shot before the ball bounces twice.

It is normally played by two players, although doubles squash is becoming increasingly popular.

 History

Squash, or squash racquets as it was known in its early days, was invented at Harrow School, England, around 1830. The first purpose-built squash courts were built at Harrow in the 1860s.

The game remained the preserve of schools and universities until the early part of the 20th century. The United States became the first nation to form a dedicated association and codify its game in 1907.

In the same year, the (British) Tennis & Rackets Association formed a squash rackets sub-committee and, in 1928, the (British) Squash Rackets Association took over.

Only when commercial operators began building public courts from the 1950s did the game start to boom in popularity, with participation peaking around the early 1980s.

Until then, the game was divided between amateur players and professional players, who were often coaches employed by exclusive clubs.

Today, squash is played in 153 countries, of which 124 are members of the World Squash Federation, with 50,000 courts now worldwide. Squash made its debut at the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok 1998.

It is also played in the World Games, All Africa Games, Pan-American Games and Commonwealth Games.

 Rules

Squash is played by two players on an enclosed court with a floor area of 9.75m by 6.4m.

Players strike the ball alternately on to the front wall, which is 4.75m high and has an out-of-bounds board measuring 480mm across the bottom.

A match is the best of five games, with points scored only by the server (traditional scoring system). When the server wins a rally, he or she scores a point; when the receiver wins a rally, he or she becomes the server.

To start a match, the server stands in either of the two service boxes and hits the ball off the front wall. The ball must hit the front wall between the service line and the out of court line; it must then rebound and land in the back opposite quarter of the court.

Once the ball is 'in play', the rally continues, providing the ball hits the front wall above the 'tin' and below the out of court line. If the receiver wins a rally, he or she takes over service and the opportunity to score.

A match is usually the best of five games and the player who reaches nine points first with a margin of two points wins the game.

If both players are at eight points, the receiver can choose to set the game to eight or nine points; a two-point winning margin is not necessary.