Squash (sport)

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Squash is a racquet sport played by two players (or four players for doubles) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. Squash is recognised by the IOC and remains in contention for incorporation in a future Olympic program.

The game was formerly called squash racquets, a reference to the "squashable" soft ball used in the game (compared with the fatter ball used in its parent game racquets (or rackets; see below).

Contents

History

Squash developed from at least five other sports involving racquets, gloves, and balls having roots in the early 16th century in France.[1] It is stated that “Squash, with its element of hitting balls against walls, was for entertainment. For example, boys and girls slapped balls in narrow alleys and streets”.[1] Religious institutions in France, such as monasteries, developed a similar game. Monks used gloves that were webbed to hit balls against a fishing net strung across the middle of the courtyards of the monasteries.[1] This developed the early “racquets” used in tennis and squash. Then in late fifteenth century, tennis was developed and spread to other European nations. The next major development of squash took place in England where the game of "racquets" was developed in Fleet Prison, a debtor’s prison.[1] Similar to tennis, it involved racquets and balls, but instead of hitting over a net as in tennis, players hit a non-squeezable ball against walls. A variation of rackets that also led to the formation of squash was called fives, similar to handball. Fives was essentially the game of racquets, without racquets. (The ball was hit with the hand.)[1] It is played against a wall or walls.

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