What Is Squash?
Squash is a racquet sport played by two (singles) or four players (doubles) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. The players must alternate in striking the ball with their racquet and hit the ball onto the playable surfaces of the four walls of the court.
The game was formerly called squash racquets, a reference to the "squashable" soft ball used in the game (compared with the harder ball used in its parent game racquets or "hard racquets").
Squash is recognized by the IOC and supporters are lobbying for its incorporation in a future Olympic program. In 2003, Forbes rated squash as the number one healthiest sport to play.
Squash's use of stringed racquets is shared with tennis, which dates from the late sixteenth century, though is more directly descended from the game of racquets from England. In "racquets", instead of hitting over a net as in tennis, players hit a non-squeezable ball against walls.
Squash was invented in Harrow School out of the older game racquets around 1830 before the game spread to other schools, eventually becoming an international sport. The first courts built at this school were rather dangerous because they were near water pipes, buttresses, chimneys, and ledges. The school soon built four outside courts. Natural rubber was the material of choice for the ball. Students modified their racquets to have a smaller reach to play in these cramped conditions.
The racquets have changed in much the same way as those used in tennis. Squash racquets used to be made out of laminated timber. In the 1980s, construction shifted to lighter, carbon-based materials (such as graphite) with small additions of such components as Kevlar, boron and titanium. Natural "gut" strings were replaced with synthetic strings.
In the 19th century the game increased in popularity with various schools, clubs and even private citizens building squash courts, but with no set dimensions. The first squash court in North America appeared at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire in 1884. In 1904 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the earliest national association of squash in the world was formed as the United States Squash Racquets Association, (USSRA), now known as U.S. Squash. In April 1907 the Tennis, Racquets & Fives Association set up a sub committee to set standards for squash. Then the sport soon formed, combining the three sports together called “Squash”. In 1912 the Titanic had a squash court in first class. It was not until 1923 that the Royal Automobile Club hosted a meeting to further discuss the rules and regulations and another five years elapsed before the Squash Racquets Association was formed to set standards for squash in Great Britain.
The sport spread to America and Canada, and eventually around the globe. It was founded in 1924 in New York as Metropolitan Racquets Association, or MSRA.