Similar to other racket sports, such as badminton and tennis, squash is a sport that champions inclusivity which offers many routes to begin playing.
Squash professional Tristan Eyesle remembers how he first got into squash ‘If I think back on how I got myself into squash it was through going to watch my father play against his friend at our local school courts’.
First and foremost, is it important for burgeoning players (whether young or old) to get out and hit the ball as often as possible. This will allow new players to get used to the feeling of hitting the ball and how it feels on the racket strings. Once there is a level of comfort in this, it is time to find another player that is just starting out to allow both to build the confidence on the court.
What equipment should a beginner use?
When it comes to squash rackets there are a number of choices based on your physical attributes and technical ability. When starting out it would be advisable to first select a mid-profile racket that supports power and control. As you advance your game, you will be able to select a racket more suited to your playing style. In terms of a ball to play with, look for one with either a blue or red dot, which are seen as easier to strike for beginners. Before starting a match the ball will need to be warmed up beforehand. For extra safety on the court, some players wear goggles to protect their eyes when playing.
Once you start playing more consistently, remember to invest in a good pair of squash shoes and a good racket, this can help you with your movement as well as your striking ability on the ball. It is important to purchase equipment that is relevant to your developing skill-level and comfort.
So what routes are there to playing squash?
Some squash players will start from a young age, either influenced by their family, school or friends. However, you can take up squash at any age and the inclusive nature of the sport makes it accessible for a wider range of people and ages.
If you are at university, you could try joining the squash club ( if your university has courts) or you can even just join the local squash club wherever you are living.
Joining a club is a great way to start getting into squash because the club is bound to have a beginners programme that is designed to introduce you to the game. You would most likely be paired with other new beginner players and so this becomes quite a fun and exciting way to not only improve your games together, but also to start new friendships and social circles away from your work life. Try and arrange a hit with other Squash beginners at your local club, this is a great way of meeting other player’s and creating a list of people you can contact for a match when it suits you.
Although squash is also a popular activity within the corporate scene and is an activity that is integrated into many a lunch hour. Squash is a great way to burn calories in a short space of time. You can burn many calories in 30 mins (400+), so it’s a perfect game for busy businessmen and businesswomen who only have a short amount of time early morning or at lunch to get a great sweat in whilst having fun running around and retrieving the ball.
Getting your child into squash
Firstly, it is important to get your children into activities of all kinds, be it football, cricket, tennis or squash. Improving hand eye coordination and teaching lateral movements from a young age will help your child when it comes to getting them into squash.
Although some schools will have racket sports and specific squash training and clubs, there are a number of clubs and leisure centres across the country that run clubs specifically focused on getting children into squash. Balancing fun and technique, these sessions are designed to get children first and foremost enjoying the sport. England Squash offers a programme specifically designed for 5-11 year olds. There are a number of junior specific squash equipment options available to choose from
Tristan Eysele shares his top tips for getting started with squash:
- Through a friend or family member - this is generally the easiest route to get involved with squash
- Through your university or school - however, you will not always have friends or family that are interested or involved in squash. See out your options at university, college or school. Also, if an employment
- Find a club where you live - use the Badminton England postcode finder to discover what clubs or leisure centres offer squash.
- Join a club where you live - if you particularly enjoyed your induction or trial sessions, go ahead and sign up to a more structured programme
- Take part in the beginner's programme at your local club - most clubs should offer a beginner’s programme, that will allow you to improve all pillars of your squash game (technical, tactical, mentality and movement)
- Make friends with other beginner players - it is really important to not ignore the social benefits of playing competitive or recreational sport, particularly squash.
- Arrange to play other beginner players every week - by creating a circle of friends you will be able to create a squash ladder (a league specific to squash and a group of players), where you will be able to include an element of competition to your squash game
- Have fun - whether an adult player or looking to get your child into squash, first and foremost it is important that enjoyment is at the top of the agenda
The great thing about squash is that you can be any age or level and you can still improve your game all the time. Time to get on the court, up your fitness level and hone your technique.