History of Squash

Squash developed from at least five other sports involving rackets, gloves and balls with roots going as far back as the early 1500's in France. The game that we know and play today started in 1864 at Harrow, a school in England, but they adopted the game from Fleet Prison in London.

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 US-Squash. This version of the game used a hard ball, and became known as 'hardball' squash.

In the UK, it was not until the 1920's that the 'Royal Automobile Club' (RAC) hosted a meeting and defined the game of 'softball' squash, and the English 'Squash Rackets Association' (SRA) was formed soon after.

In America, the 'hardball' version of squash was deprecated in favor of the 'softball' (international) version of the game in the 1990's. Now squash is growing in the USA at the high school, university and international levels - the US now has several players in the world top 50.

The detailed FULL history of squash.

Squash is a popular international game and it's easy to understand why. It is an energetic game perfect for both beginners and experts, because it's simple to pick up for a beginner (anyone can hit a ball against a wall) and a challenge to master. Squash provides an exciting alternative to tennis, badminton and racquetball, often combining the best elements of all these games.

Playing Squash

Squash has a quick learning curve and many people find themselves hooked after just one short game. As an indoor sport it has the added attraction of being completely independent of weather conditions.

One of the main attractions of squash is that it provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. Most players will get all the exercise and enjoyment they need in just a couple of squash games per week. A player may expend from 600 to 1000 calories (2.5 to 4.2 kJ) per hour, which is significantly more than most other sports and over 70% more than either general tennis or racquetball.

See The Fitness Formula.

Combining that physical workout with the tremendous strategical battle that occurs between the players (squash is often described as 'playing chess at 100mph') made squash the sport of choice for the British army and airforce. Being an indoor game (so uneffected by the weather) and only requiring a small area and little equipment, squash was easilly transported around the world by the army.

Forbes magazine compiled a list of the 'Ten Healthiest Sports' and guess which one came out on top - SQUASH !
In 2003 they wrote:

The preferred game of Wall Street has convenience on its side, as 30 minutes on the squash court provides an impressive cardio respiratory workout. Extended rallies and almost constant running builds muscular strength and endurance in the lower body, while lunges, twists and turns increase flexibility in the back and abdomen. "For people just getting into the game, it's almost too much to sustain, but once you get there, squash is tremendous," says Paul Assaiante, head coach of the five-time defending national intercollegiate champion men's squash team at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn…

The sports were (in order): Squash, Rowing, Rock Climbing, Swimming, Cross-country Skiing, Basketball, Cycling, Running, Modern Pentathlon and Boxing.

See the Forbes Article.

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