SQUASH: Burn Your Calories


One hour of squash can burn 600 to 1000 calories. In fact, Forbes Magazine voted squash as the healthiest sports based on muscular strength, endurance, calories burnt, cardio respiratory endurance, flexibility and risk of injury.

Squash is a ball sport played in single in twos and doubles with four players in a four walled court. The players must alternate in striking a ball with their racket and hit the ball on playable surface of four walls of the court. It was invented in Harrow school around 1830 and later became an international sport. The ball is a made of natural rubber. Earlier the squash rackets were made of laminated timber. Then construction shifted to lighter material and now synthetic strings are used to make a racket. The structure of court surface is front line separating the front and the back of the court and half court line separating the left and right hand sides of the back portion of court creating three boxes, front half, the back left quarter and the back right quarter.

The back two contain smaller service boxes. Floor markings are relevant during serve. The front wall on which three parallel lines are marked has largest playing surface the rear contains entrance to the court and are small. The outline runs along the top of front wall, shots above or touching the outline on any wall are out. After the serve players take turn hitting the ball against the front wall below the outline. It must not hit the floor after hitting the rackets and before hitting front wall. After ball hits the front wall it is allowed to bounce on the floor once before a player should return it. While moving around the court, accidental or deliberate obstruction of another player’s movement is forbidden. Players move to center of the court after taking the shot. As a beginner you must focus on deliberate practice with any squash drill. You need to stimulate your brain with challenging task to learn way of doing things not just practicing your favorite shot again and again. The scoring consists of set of 11 points. On a tie break of 10-10 game is continued until there is 10 point difference between them. The first player to reach 9 points wins the game.

Some of the names of shots in SQUASH are:

  • Straight drive: Ball is hit parallel and close to a side wall to travel deep to back of the court. Known as “good length shot” or “basic squash shot).
  • Volley: The ball is hit on the full, usually directed to front wall before it touches the floor.
  • Drop shot: Ball is gently hit against a front wall, to fall softly on the floor in the front corner.
  • Fake: The player swings at the ball and intentionally misses and then quickly swings again hitting the ball in the opposite direction of the original swing in order to deceive his or her opponent. The result is the player’s opponent begins to move in the opposite direction and is unable to recover to the correct direction of the ball.
  • Lob: The ball is hit softly and high on the front wall and with a high arc, so that it falls in a back corner of the court.
  • Cross Court: The ball is hit against the front wall at an angle such that the ball lands on the opposite side of the court to the striker.
  • Kill: The ball is hit hard and low on the front wall so that it travels no farther than half court.
  • Nick: The ball is hit such that after striking the front wall the ball connects with the junction between the side wall and the floor. The result is the ball either bouncing minimally or rolling” out of the nick, ending the rally.
  • Swayze: The ball is hit hard against the front wall to place the ball in the back corner of the court trapping the opposing player in the corner.
  • Philadelphia (or corkscrew): A shot played diagonally upwards into the front corner hitting the front wall first and then the side wall. The ball then lobs over the court with significant spin. Ideally it hits the opposite side wall at the back and travels parallel to the rear wall making a return very difficult. This shot is susceptible to being volleyed.
  • Taxi: which can also be referred to as a “huge” or “massive” taxi, is when a player is caught “completely wrong footed” by his opponent.
  • Skid boast: A shot played from the back corners of the court where the ball is hit high along the sidewall with a small angle so that it hits the sidewall first, then hits high in the middle of the front wall continuing to cross the court while high in the air ideally hitting the opposite sidewall and landing close to the back wall to go past the opponent.
  • Mizuki: This shot is hit as a volley. Unlike a normal volley, the Mizuki shot is hit with the other side of the racket by turning the wrist which deceives the direction of the ball. The skilled player always dominates the T line where is in position to retrieve the opponent’s next shot with a minimum movement. If a player’s shot hit their opponent prior to hitting front wall means interference has occurred.

In Nepal, Mr. Hira Bahadur Thapa is the man which holds undisputed squash championship since 1994. Nepal Squash Racket Association send him to Peshawar to train for a month under guidance of Fakkar Jaman., He won the Mercantile cup, The Crown prince cup. In Nepal, professional training for this indoor game and Squash Tournaments brings out the best from the players.

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