Squash (from the English squash - "flattened", "crushed") is a sports game in which two (or four) players with the help of rackets alternately try to hit the ball against the wall so that the opponent could not hit it. It is because of the large number of balls flattened against the wall during the competition that squash got its name.
At first, squash was played on courts of various shapes and sizes - only in 1907, at a committee meeting of the British Tennis and Racket Association, were the standards for a squash court established. The first squash association was formed in the UK in 1927.
In 1967, the World Squash Federation, WSF (World Squash Federation, WSF) was founded, which today unites 122 national federations of this sport. The head office of the above-mentioned organization is located in Hasting (England). There is also PSA (Professional Squash Players Association) - an association of professional male players and WISPA (Women’s International Squash Players Association) - an association of professional female players.
Competitions in this sport are held on a squash court - a specially equipped area, the length of which is 9.75 m, width - 6.4 m, consisting of 4 walls 5.64 m in height - rear, front and two side ones. Above all 4 walls (on the front wall - at a height of 4.57 m, on the back wall - 2.13 m) there is an out-line, below on the front wall there is an acoustic panel 0.48 m in height ("tin") - exactly they limit the playable space. There are parts of the markings that play a role exclusively during the serving of the ball, and do not matter during the game: squares on the floor of a squash court 1.6x1.6 m ("serve squares") and a line on the front wall at a height of 1.78 m ( "feed line").
Players striking alternately try to direct the ball so that it touches the front wall below the out line and above the acoustic panel. You can hit the ball from the summer, or after one bounce off the floor. Moreover, the blow can be directed both to the frontal and to any of the side walls. The duration of the competition is from 3 to 5 games, the game is played up to 9 (or 11) points.
The popularity of squash began to increase sharply after the appearance of a transparent back wall of the court (and subsequently completely transparent walls of the court), which made it possible for spectators to watch the events of matches in this sport.
Types of squash:
Squash tennis is a game similar to tennis;
American squash (hardball squash, from the English hard ball "heavy ball") - the game is played with a harder ball on a non-standard size court (width - 5.64 m).
The homeland of squash is Great Britain. There is still controversy about where and when this game originated. Some scientists believe that squash originated in England, where rial tennis was extremely popular. To pass the time between performances on the court, or while waiting out the bad weather, tennis players competed in agility in relatively small enclosed spaces (barns and warehouses), alternately striking a wicker ball with rackets. Other researchers argue that this sport was invented by prisoners who tried to diversify their leisure time in the holds of ships during transportation to Australia.
In addition, there is a version that the homeland of squash was France - it was there, back in the 16th century, a similar game was widespread everywhere - both in monasteries (monks were fond of playing ball), and in big cities (it was very convenient to hit the ball off the walls in narrow alleys ). Only a hundred years later, the ball and racket game spread to other European countries.
In 1907, at a meeting of the Tennis and Rackets Association, squash court standards were adopted and the rules for this game were developed. The size and layout of the squash court was indeed approved in 1907, when the rules for this sport began to be drawn up. However, it was not until 1923 that the official rules for squash were developed by the Royal Motorists' Club.
At first, a squash championship for men was held, women became interested in this sport a little later. This is not true. The first women's squash championship took place in 1921. And the first men's championship called the British Open was held in 1922 (at first it was held according to the "cup" system, and since 1947 - according to the "Olympic" system).
They learn to play squash for a very long time. No, under the guidance of an experienced trainer, the wisdom of this game can be learned in a few sessions. But gaining mastery really takes a long time and regular training.
In squash, there is a significant difference between training for juniors and professionals. Unfortunately, this is often the case. Precisely because during the formation of the player, the approach to physical training was not entirely correct, the transition to the adult category is extremely difficult for many athletes. Many experts are of the opinion that juniors should be taught the same style of movement as older players, only reducing training time and intensity.
Athletes playing squash during the competition are equipped in the same way as tennis players. The clothing, shoes, and head (and wrist) bandages used in these sports are indeed very similar. But, according to the rules, squash players must use eye protection - polycarbonate glasses. This is not surprising - in the limited space of a squash court, there is a high probability of getting hit in the face with a racket or ball, the flight speed of which can be about 200-270 km / h.
The game of squash can be single (the draw is between 2 athletes) or doubles (4 players are simultaneously participating in the competition). More often than not, this is true. However, sometimes squash is practiced on a three-quarter court. In this case, there is a waiting player in one of the service areas, blocked in advance, while two athletes compete on the rest of the court.
Squash matches are often short-lived. Yes, it is, but there are exceptions. According to statistics, the shortest match lasted only 6 minutes 37 seconds, and the longest - 2 hours 44 minutes.
At international squash tournaments, two judges observe the game. Nowadays, the game is controlled by 2 people: the referee and the marker, whose duties include monitoring the observance of the correct service, hitting the ball in touch, etc. However, in the future, they plan to make some changes to the refereeing system, in particular to increase the number of referees to 3.
The judge decides who will serve first. No, the right to first serve is played by the players themselves by drawing lots: they spin the racket (on one side it says "your serve", on the other - "my serve") or they toss a coin. From which square the serve will be made is also decided by the player himself.
When serving, the ball must bounce off the floor or any of the walls of the court once, and then hit the playing panel. Indeed, if the ball, once bounced off the floor, hits the game panel, bounded by the out line and the service line, and, after bouncing, falls into the opponent's service square, the service is considered successful. However, in the event that the ball, while serving on its way to the front wall, hits any of the walls of the court, the service goes to the other player. But during the game, the balls can hit any of the walls of the court as much as they want before hitting the front wall. In this case, the balls are called "boasts" (from the English boast - "kick over the sideline") or angle ("corner".).
If the player makes a mistake during the service, the referee will order a re-service. Misconception. If the player makes a mistake while serving, the right to serve passes to his opponent.
The player to whom the right to serve is transferred can choose which side of the court he will serve. Only at the beginning of the game, the player has the right to choose the serving square, and later, winning a point, he will have to serve from the opposite side of the court. Even during the 5-minute warm-up before the start of the competition, athletes spend half of the time on one side of the court, half on the other.
The best serve is done with a running start. The squash rules do not prohibit the run. But it should be remembered that this type of serve not only does not give the player any advantages, but also significantly increases the danger of mistakes, and the accuracy of the hit when serving "from a run" often leaves much to be desired.
The service in squash passes to the opponent if the ball hits the wall above the out-line. It really is. However, it should be noted that in this game all lines drawn on the walls of the court are out-lines, and if the ball hits any of them, the player who kicked loses the service. In addition, the wrong position of the player's feet leads to a loss of service - during the strike, at least one of the athlete's feet must be in the service square. If this is not observed, a foot fault is declared and the right to serve is lost.
You can cheat while playing squash. For example, by missing the ball, accuse the opponent of interfering. First, the party is closely watched by a judge and a marker, whose duties include exposing the cunning man. Secondly, the main principles of this game are nobility and mutual respect, and not the desire to win at any cost.
Squash is played up to 9 points. If the scoring is carried out according to the British system (it applies to doubles and club meetings, international games, women's professional tournaments and all matches held under the auspices of the United States Squash Racquets Association (USSRA)) games are actually played up to 9 points. When the score is 8-8, the receiver chooses whether the draw will be held up to 9 or 10 points. The American scoring system (PARS, Point-a-Rally scoring system) assumes the conduct of the drawing up to 15 points, or even up to 17 (if the receiver makes just such a choice when the score is 14-14). Since 2004, changes have been made to this scoring system: now the game goes up to 11 points, and when the score is 10-10 - until the moment when one of the players wins 2 points in a row. According to this system, men's professional squash competitions are held today.
It should be noted that in some cases, in order to reduce the time of the game, some changes are made to the rules of the competition (at club, doubles or international meetings). For example, each rally can be played up to 7 points, or until one of the athletes wins 2 games out of 3.
Points in each drawing are awarded to both players. It all depends on what kind of scoring system is used in the competition. If the score is based on the "traditional" British system - points can only be awarded to the serving player. In the event that the receiving athlete wins the rally, he only becomes the server, but does not receive additional points. The American scoring system (PARS) assumes the accrual of any player (serving or receiving - it does not matter) who wins the drawing. Moreover, if the server wins, he reserves the right to serve.
If the player hits the ball - let cannot be accepted. Even after hitting the ball, a pause (or replay) in the game (English let - "skip") in some cases can be announced. For example, if the ball broke or touched an object lying on the floor (wallet, watch, keys, which during the game could fall out of the players' pockets or were put on the floor of the court before the start of the game); if the playing conditions change (the lighting deteriorated or went out, water hit the floor, the glasses of one of the players broke, etc.) or the athlete was distracted by an incident on the court (behind the court).
If the ball, which bounced off the wall after the athlete hit, hits it, a loss is counted, but only if the opponent was ready to take the hit. This rule applies regardless of where exactly the enemy was. It also doesn't matter where the ball hit (the striker's racket, body, clothing or shoes).
When a foreign object hits the court, the rally stops. However, if the racket of one of the players falls on the floor of the court (without interfering with the game and without distracting the athletes), the game continues.
All squash balls are the same. Indeed, externally, the balls used for this game look exactly the same: their sizes differ little (40-45 mm in diameter), and their weight is standardized - 25-25 grams. However, upon closer inspection, you can see a small colored dot corresponding to the speed characteristics of the aforementioned type of equipment. "Very slow" balls are marked with a yellow dot (two yellow dots - "super slow" ball, one - "very slow"), "slow" - white, "medium" - red, "fast" - blue. For competitions, use balls only with a yellow dot.
The bouncing ability of a ball depends on the material from which it is made. Yes, and thanks to the special composition of the rubber, the ball becomes somewhat more bouncing when heated. That is why, before the game, the athletes “warm up” the ball by hitting it against the wall. During rallies, the ball heats up even more, so at the end of the match the game is the fastest and most difficult.
The more experienced the player, the faster the ball he uses. Firstly, only balls with yellow dots ("very slow") are used for official squash competitions. Secondly, experienced players choose the slowest balls with the least bounce, since in this case the most likely is that the ball, after an accurately calculated hit, will not bounce off the wall, but will roll away from it a short distance ("die").
Squash players try to hit the ball as hard as possible. This is not entirely true. Experienced players try to hit not with the greatest force, but with maximum accuracy, sending the ball so that it would be very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to hit it back. For example, if the ball hits the intersection of the side walls with the floor - the so-called "nick" (from the English nick - "bottleneck, mark, notch"), then it will most likely not fly back, but roll back along the floor, due to which will be simply impossible to recapture.
Physical fitness in squash is the main thing. For novice athletes, the above factor is not decisive, but at a higher level of play, when the strength and speed of strikes increase, a player with a well-trained and strong body really has many advantages over a weaker opponent. However, even in this case, the speed of reaction and the ability to anticipate the behavior of the opponent, as well as the ability at the last moment to hit the ball in the wrong direction, which the opponent would have expected, are more important than physical endurance.
There are no standards for judging the level of squash players these days. This is true - all athletes are divided only into professionals and amateurs. However, according to their style of play, they are divided into 4 categories:
- defender (English retriever - "catcher") - an athlete distinguished by great physical strength and patience, rarely leading an attacking game;
- the attacker (English shooter - "bombardier") - just as patient, but also accurate, easily knocks out victorious balls and "nicknames", perfectly conducts deceptive maneuvers;
- a power player - tries to achieve victory due to the strength and speed of blows, but does not differ in patience or endurance;
- universal player (English all-around player) - plays well in any of the above-mentioned styles, and equally successfully delivers from all areas of the court.
Most often, professional athletes try to find an opponent who is approximately equal to them both in physical fitness and in playing technique.
Throughout the game, the athlete must only hold the racket in his right (or left) hand. Completely erroneous opinion. You can hold the racket in any way (with your left or right hand, or with both hands), or you can change the grip method at one time or another of the game. And any kind of service (for example, overhead service), provided, for example, in tennis, is also allowed in squash.
In the confined space of a squash court, it is best to use short, quick steps - this will allow you to get closer to the place of the ball bounce with maximum accuracy. Successively performing several short steps to the ball, the player loses his stability, may go too far from the zone T (and it is in this zone that it is best to be after striking the ball, since this is an extremely convenient location for repelling the opponent's counterattack). In addition, sometimes as a result of such a "run" the athlete is too close to the ball or to the walls of the court, and simply cannot deliver the correct blow. Experts believe that only the first step can be short, the rest of the steps should be long and wide. A series of such steps usually ends with a "pull" towards the ball, followed by a quick return to the T zone.
Squash is completely safe. After all, being in a confined space next to a person swinging a racket, it is quite difficult (especially at first) to coordinate your actions in such a way that, in the process of chasing the ball, you do not get hit by the opponent's racket and do not touch him with your own. In addition, this sport can cause arrhythmias, so people (especially the elderly) with heart disease should not get involved in playing squash.
If one of the players is injured, the referee gives him 3 minutes to recover. Much depends on how the injury was received and what its nature is. If self-injury occurs, the referee stops the game, determines the nature of the injury, and gives the player 3 minutes to recover (or another amount of time at his own discretion, if bleeding occurs). At the end of this period of time, the player either continues the competition, or declares himself defeated in the game (and receives an additional 90 seconds of time) or in the match. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the occurrence of repeated bleeding can also become the reason for awarding a victory to the opponent of an unwary player.
If the injury is joint, 1 hour is allocated for recovery. In the event that the injury was inflicted on a player by an opponent, and as a result, the injured athlete cannot continue the fight, he is awarded a victory in the game.
Only an experienced player can choose the right squash racket. But some of the features inherent in good rackets, even a beginner can notice, provided that the sports store will be able to perform some manipulations with the racket in order to evaluate its playing qualities. First, you need to make a strong swing of each of the selected rackets, listening to the whistle of the cut air. The quietest sound indicates that this model is the most aerodynamic, therefore, it takes less effort to make fast swings. Next, holding the racket at a 45º angle, perform a chopping motion and select the model in which the shift in weight from the handle to the top of the head and back will be the smallest. After that, striking the strings with your palm, assess the degree of vibration at the top of the racket's head by running your hand along the rim from the bottom up. The best choice is the model with the lowest vibration.
You should also carefully consider the chosen model, paying attention to the protective pads on the racket head (the best are thin), the thinnest point of the racket head rim (if thinning at the base of the head, the racket will break after the first sufficiently strong blow) and the shape of the handle (it is best to stop perforated and raised handle).
Squash can help you lose weight. Yes, it will help. After all, half an hour of playing squash leads to a loss of 300 kilocalories - about the same amount a person loses for a half-hour walk on skis or a bicycle, or playing tennis or racquetball. At the same time, the load is evenly distributed to the upper and lower parts of the body, activating the work of the muscular and cardiovascular systems, and improving coordination of movements. This sport is especially useful for people with a sedentary lifestyle.