Squash is a game played by two (singles), or in any case, four players (doubles squash) in a court made with four walls, with a small, hollow rubber ball. The players must hence take appropriate turns in hitting the ball by using their racquet. They should also hit the ball onto the surfaces of the four walls of the court that are deemed playable.
The game was once referred to as squash rackets. It then served as a reference to the “squashable” soft ball that was initially used in the game (compared with the tougher ball once used in its sister game rackets). The World Squash Federation (WSF) is the governing body of Squash. It is officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Although, the sport is not a part of the Olympic Games, despite the number of applications they made. Supporters have also not stopped lobbying for its incorporation when future Olympic programs hold.
History of squash
The usage of stringed rackets is a feature that is commonly shared with real tennis, which has its roots from the late sixteenth century, although it has a more direct origin from the game of rackets from England. Using “rackets,” instead of the norm which involves hitting over a net as practiced in sports such as tennis, players instead hit a softball against walls. The game of squash was deemed to have its origin in Harrow School, born out of the older game rackets before 1830. This was before the game started moving to other schools, before eventually turning to an international sport.
The first courts to be designed at this school were considered somewhat dangerous because they were very close to water pipes, chimneys, ledges, and buttresses. The school later came up with four outside courts. Natural rubber was the original material of choice for the ball.
Students also adjusted their rackets in order to have a smaller reach to play in some cramped positions.
The rackets have also evolved in a way that is similar to the ones used in tennis. Squash rackets were initially made out of laminated timber.
Later in the 1980s, construction inadvertently moved to lighter materials (such as graphite and aluminum) with additions of small components like titanium, Kevlar, and boron.
Synthetic strings also replaced natural “gut” strings. Late In the 19th century, the game had an unprecedented increase in popularity with various clubs, schools, and even private citizens designing and building squash courts, but with no standardized dimensions.
The first squash court to appear in North America was at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire in 1884. While in 1904, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first known national association of squash in the world was created, as it was known as the United States Squash rackets Association (USSRA).
Further modifications led to its resurgence which made it be now known as U.S. Squash. In April 1907 the Tennis, rackets & Fives Association came together to create a sub-committee which had the principal aim of setting up standards for squash.
Then the sport soon entirely came to life, bringing the three sports together called “Squash.” The RMS Titanic in 1912, came up with a squash court in first class.
This First-Class Squash Court was located on G-Deck, and the Viewing Gallery for the spectators was also designed to be on the deck above on F-Deck. In 1912, to use the Court, you had to pay about 50 cents. Passengers were also allowed to use the court for about an hour unless other people were waiting.
It was around 1923 that the Royal Automobile Club held a meeting with the aim of further discussing the rules and regulations of the game. It was not until another five years had elapsed before they were able to create the Squash rackets Association. This was mostly designed to provide for standards for the game in Great Britain.
Squash Playing Equipment
Standard squash rackets are modified by adhering to the rules that primarily govern the game. Originally, they were designed from laminated wood (mostly ash), with a small part of the strung area using strings from natural gut.
After a change in the rule in the mid-1980s, composite materials or metals (graphite, Kevlar, titanium, boron) are now used in the design and composition.
These materials also come with synthetic strings. Modern rackets now have standardized maximum dimensions of 686 mm (27.0 in) long and 215 mm (8.5 in) wide, alongside a maximum strung area of 500 square centimeters (77.5 sq in). They now allow for a maximum weight of 255 grams (9.0 oz), although they mostly weight 90 and 150 grams (3–5.3 oz.).
Squash balls now have a diameter of 39.5 and 40.5 mm, alongside a weight of about 23 to 25 grams. They are made using two pieces of rubber compound, which are glued together to create a hollow sphere and buffed by using a matte finish.
Different balls can be used for different temperatures and atmospheric conditions. It has been proven that more experienced players tend to use slow balls because they have a lesser bounce than the ones used by less experienced players (slower balls frequently die in court corners, instead of “standing up” to aid easier shots).
Due to its specific rubber composition, a squash ball has the attribute of bouncing at a faster pace at higher temperatures typically.
Squash balls have to be hit dozens of times because they need to be warmed up when a session is about to begin. Cold squash balls normally do not have a very high bounce. The small colored dots present on the ball indicate its dynamic level (bounciness), and hence the standard of play for which it can be used for is often inferred.
There is however some recognized speed colors which indicate the degree of dynamism. Some ball manufacturers like Dunlop prefer to use a unique method of determining the grade of balls based on their experience. This does not in any way hinder them from having an equivalent dot rating. Hence, the shots have named that way to help in choosing the ball that is suitable for one’s level of skill.
The four major types of ball are Progress (Red dot, 120% of Pro bounce), Intro (Blue dot, 140% of Pro bounce), Pro (double yellow dot), and Competition (single yellow dot, 110% of Pro bounce). The “double-yellow dot” ball which was introduced into the game in 2000, serves as the standard for the competition, serving as a replacement for the earlier “yellow-dot” ball. There is also an “orange dot” ball in existence which is primarily meant for use at high altitudes.
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While playing squash, players are expected to wear comfortable sports clothing. While participating in competitions, men normally wear shorts and a T-shirt, a polo shirt or tank top. Women normally also adorn their bodies with a skirt or shorts and a T-shirt or a tank top.
Squash goggles with polycarbonate lenses are also normally recommended by the National Institutes of Health. Many squash venues make use of eye protection and some association rules also mandate that all juniors and doubles players must make use of eye protection.