An introduction into becoming a beginner squash player.

There’s a lot to be said for having a hobby and not obsessing over it. I have several that fit into the category of “Fun, but non fanatical”. This includes gardening, certain board games and one sport in particular- squash.

It’s not to say that I don’t take opportunities to play it. With a good squash partner and time in tow I’ll happily play it twice a week  into infinite. What I mean to say is that I don’t think (apres thrashing) I will ever play it professionally. Or in a tournament. Or against anyone I’m not friends with. The simple fact of the matter is is like many hobbies worth taking up, to get really good at it pushes you so far it ends up eating all of your time and you start to miss the point- having fun.

Not that I don’t recommend squash as an all-encompassing sport for which you to live your life to. The game is fun, frenetic and the best cardiovascular workout ever. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll puke. Here are a few pieces of information I have picked up.

“I use to play Tennis; does that help?”

In a word, no. Tennis is the antithesis to squash and while tennis enthusiasts might get a certain level of cardio training as well as shot placement, the advantages fall rapidly once you push past your third session. The tennis shot is strong and uses your whole arm to move. Compare that to squash, whose shots are approximately 1000% faster and require you to twist in order to give the ball spin and better power. Squash typically  demands all your strength and better accuracy (thanks to a smaller ball). Doing squash shots on a tennis court have them sail far over the court simply because there’s no necessity to ease up on strength so the ball goes on the ground after it passes the net.

It’s more than just the shots and their placement. Squash is too fast to allow for follow through- you’ll quickly fall behind trying to pull that shit in the four walls. I’ve heard the presence of walls and a racquet-wielding maniac (i.e. your opponent) is disconcerting for tennis players. Oh, and that cardio benefit? Considering you burn about three times as much with squash compared to tennis, that’s another lost benefit.


Never play anyone over the age of forty-five

In some cruel twist of fate, old and unhealthy baby boomers have some sort unaccountable advantage over spirited, active twenty year olds. Their playing style is both ludicrously fast and bewilderingly energy efficient. Well able to deflect any shot you have just standing there they also have telekinetic ability to put squash balls into corners as if it was a manifestation of their desire to build extensions to the house. Meanwhile you’re running around like a madman, slowly losing teeth to the walls you run into, and your sanity to their (apparently) kind words explaining how you need to “bend the knees slightly” and the eternal “aim for the corner. No, the corner!”

It’s not very photogenic

Watching squash is like watching two guys wander around in a box, pretending to hit a tiny ball. Oh wait that’s exactly what its like- the ball moves too fast for your eyes to see it. Also, despite the pain you’ll be experiencing later, your smooth moves simply don’t look that impressive when its behind a glass wall. Hell, even for the proffesionals the camera angles suck:

You’re never going to look cool playing squash to anyone save other squash players.


Don’t wear long pants; you’ll sweat

Insta-squashicide. You will sweat blood. Normally playing squash after ten minutes you’ll be in a sheen of sweat approximately two centimeters thick and more than enough insulation for your currently self-roasting body. Wearing anything more than thin shorts and a t-shirt you don’t care about (strong chance it will melt) is a bad idea.

Thinking is weakness

You can’t think while playing squash- its far too slow as a means of making shots.


I’ll be honest. Squash can flat out kill you. If it doesn’t, it’ll make you think you have. The following days after a heavy session will let you know that you had a heavy session. You’ll be hurting in muscles you didn’t think you had. Watch out for your serving forearm refusing to move from a 90 degree angle, your calves jolting with pain from every step and every tendon throughout your body burning with the rage of a thousand suns. And somehow it feels good.

Eurphoria awaits

Like no other game, a good squash rally is like ecstasy. The blood flows, you achieve some zen-like ability to comprehend things and somehow, some way, there’s no pain or tiredness. It’s addictive but a couple of pain barriers need to be broken to achieve it. Do so and you’ll know squash is the game for you.


~ by freeze43 on August 27, 2011.

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