When it comes to racquet sports, there a number of exciting ones to choose from – and most are very exciting. Some focus on power, while others focus on speed, and others still focus on endurance. But the bottom line is that they are all fun to play. And one good example is squash, the game of course. It is one of the most popular racket sports in the world today (approximately 25 million players worldwide, with 1.55 million in the US alone), and its popularity is in no way waning. More and more people are picking up squash rackets and heading for the squash court to keep fit and enjoy a fast-paced game.
What is Squash?
Perhaps you are on the hunt for a racquet game and you’re not very familiar with the game of squash. Well, I’ll tell you what squash is – it is fun.
On a serious note though, this sport is played by two players (in a singles format) or four players (in a doubles format) in a four-walled court. The game is played with a small, hollow rubber ball and a racket. To play the game, you and your opponent must alternate in striking the ball with your rackets and hit the ball onto the playable surfaces of the court (which is on the walls).
Although it is a very popular sport with an organized governing body, the World Squash Federation (WSF), and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, squash is not part of the Olympic Games. A number of applications have been put through but to no avail. Well, there go your Olympic dreams. But who knows, by the time you turn pro, things could be different (it is rumored that the sport will be included in the 2024 Olympic games). The WSF organizes tournaments all over the world that pit individual players or squash teams against each other in what are usually exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping tournaments.
Squash Equipment – The Basics
Like every other sport, the game of squash has its own special equipment that players use. No need to worry, squash equipment is readily available from your local tennis and squash shop. Your basic equipment will consist of:
A squash racket. These rackets used to be made of wood but are now exclusively made of composite materials.
Squash balls. These balls are made from two pieces of rubber compounds that are glued together to form a hollow sphere that is buffed to a matte finish.
Squash clothes. Before you hit the squash court, make sure you are dressed for the game. A short if you’re male or female, with an option of a skort for the females. Tops have to be made from synthetic materials that breathe well and fit like a glove. Proper sports shoes and socks are also required as part of the gear.
Squash goggles. These goggles are meant to protect your eyes in the event of being hit by a squash ball during play. Most venues mandate the use of goggles as part of safety precautions.
Squash – The Weight Loss Silver Bullet
Many swear by squash as a great way to lose weight, and that for very good reasons. It’s all due to the way the game is fast-paced and energy burning. The squash ball can reach lightning speeds of up to 170 mph when in play. This means as a player, you have to be able to move extremely fast, not once, but as many times as the ball comes back to you. This makes for some excellent high-intensity training (HIT) which is one of the best ways to burn calories.
Squash training and playing is the ultimate in speed interval training and can help you burn off as much as 1000 calories per hour of playing the game. That is way higher than most sports. This is why the squash court is becoming increasingly popular for people looking to burn some fat and also for those who are looking for an interesting and fun way of keeping fit.
Another weight loss benefit of the game is that it is a very good way to work out your aerobic and anaerobic systems – or cardiovascular systems. The game of squash is one of the few sports that help you work out these 2 systems at the same time in an efficient way.
Squash – Competitive or Recreational, It’s a Good Choice
Whether you are considering taking up squash in a professional capacity or as a recreational past time, it is a great move. Easy to play, and inexpensive as compared to other sports, it is an excellent choice for a sport. It will keep you fit, happy, and entertained.