SQUASH BASICS

The best way to learn

There is no single best method to learn the game, however a combination of the 3 points below will set you off on the right path.....

Find a friend who plays a bit of squash and get them to show you the ropes. This will quickly give you a good base understanding of the game and should allow you to learn in a relaxed atmosphere. Playing a friend of a similar ability will give the closest matches, the best physical workout and, most importantly, maximum enjoyment.

Find your local squash club. Most clubs cater for all levels of squash from complete beginners to those who consider themselves worldbeaters. Squash clubs generally operate ladders or mini leagues in which you can play against opponents of a comparable ability.

Get a couple of professional lessons. If you intend to play the game properly this is money well spent, as a few lessons will set you off with the correct technique and should avoid the development of bad habits.

Kit & Equipment
Don't rush out and buy an expensive squash racquet. Let's face it, if you are just starting out you are hardly likely to know the difference and it is often down to personal preference what kind of racquet you like. Borrow a racquet, if you can, until you know what you are looking for. Many coaches will actually lend you a racquet if you have lessons with them.

Balls - unlike tennis, golf etc the squash balls vary depending upon your ability. The balls are graded as follows:

Blue - fastest ball and ideal for beginners. Ball has instant bounce.
Red - slightly slower ball than the blue one and good for intermediate players. Ball has instant bounce
Yellow - ideal for competent players on a cold court. Ball needs to be warmed up to gain a full bounce.
Double Yellow - standard match or competition ball. Ball needs to be warmed up to gain a full bounce.

It used to be the case that sports clubs required players to wear "whites" on the court, but so long as you have non-marking shoes in which  to play in you should be fine.

Shots to Play
To give you a head start on the terminology of the game, a brief summary of the various shots that are most commonly played in squash is given below:

"A length" This shot is a shot that  runs the full length of the court either along the side walls or across the court and is the single most important shot in the game. The shot is used to move your opponent into the back corners away.

"A drop shot" This is an attacking shot that is played softly to the front of the court with the intention of the ball dropping near the front wall.

"A boast " This term describes a shot that has been played off the side wall before it hits the front wall. It can be either a defensive or an attacking shot.
"A lob " As in tennis, this shot is played up and over your opponent's head with the intention of landing the ball softly at the back of the court. This shot is ideal for slowing the pace of the game and giving yourself time to collect your thoughts and regain control.

"A kill " An attacking shot played low and hard into the front wall when you have the advantage in the game with the purpose of putting your opponent under extreme pressure and hopefully wrapping up the point.

Key Tactics
Squash has been called "a physical game of chess", although it has to be    said that it does move a little bit faster! There are many different tactics in squash, but here are some of the essential basics that will provide a firm foundation for    developing your game:

Always return to "the T" after playing your shots ("the T" is the central point of the court where the court lines cross). The player that commands the tee will win the games.......it is as simple as that.

To win the T from your opponent, the ball needs to be placed tight to the side walls and towards the back of the court, either using by playing good lengths or a lob.

Play the ball to the gaps in the court. This sounds obvious, but you will be amazed at how many players will hit the ball back to their opponent.

Final Comment
The basics given above are just that, the basics. Bear in mind that squash is physically demanding and the old adage applies that you should "get fit to play not play to get fit". Also, accidents can happen, so if you do wear glasses make sure that the lenses are plastic and not glass.