Squash, or squash racquets, is an indoor racquet-and-ball game that is similar to handball. Two players, or four players in doubles, use racquets with small, round heads and thin necks to take alternate turns hitting a small, black, rubber ball against the front wall of a special court. Squash tennis is a variant of the basic game; it is played on the same court but uses a livelier ball and a heavier racquet.
The singles court is 32 ft (9.8 m) long and 18.5 ft (5.6 m) wide; the doubles court is 45 ft (13.7 m) long and 25 ft (7.6 m) wide. The front wall has a 16-ft-high (4.9-m) play line across the width and a 20-ft-high (6-m) play line for doubles. The court is divided in half by a line that runs from the front wall to the back wall. The service-court line, beyond which all legal serves must go, is 18 ft (5.5 m) from the front wall. The service line runs the width of the front wall, 6.5 ft (2 m) above the floor. At the two side walls, two service areas in the shape of quarter circles with radii of 4.5 ft (1.4 m) are behind the service-court line. The hollow ball is 1.75 in (4.4 cm) in diameter and weighs about 1 oz (28 g).
To play, the server puts the ball in play while having one foot in the service area. The serve must hit above the service line on the front wall and rebound so that it hits the floor beyond the service-court line in the opposite half of the court. The server scores points until the service is lost. Service is lost when the server fails to hit the ball before it bounces twice, when the ball hits the "telltale" (a metal strip 17 in/43.2 cm high at the bottom of the front wall), or when the server sends the ball above the play line. A game ends at 15 points; if the score is tied at 13 or 14, play may be extended to 16 or 18 points. The player with the best three games out of five wins the match.
Squash began at Harrow School, England, sometime before 1850. It was introduced in the United States at Saint Paul's School in Concord, N.H., in 1882, and it soon spread to other schools, colleges, athletic clubs, and YMCAs.
Bibliography: Francis, Austin, Smart Squash--Using Your Head to Win (1977); Rowland, Jim, Squash Basics (1976); Torbet, Laura, Squash: How to Play, How to Win (1978); Truby,
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