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How to Start Squash Without Looking Like an Idiot

Twenty years ago, Forbes rated squash as the world’s best sport for fitness, ahead of rowing, rock climbing, cross-country skiing and swimming. It rated squash for endurance, muscle strength, flexibility and a low risk of injury.

Since then, other fitness magazines have given squash the thumbs up – so, during the pandemic, I decided to give the game a try.

My Experience with Squash

I’m a very average tennis player and, when I say average, I mean really average. Squash, I thought, must be easier. It’s a smaller court. There’s less running about chasing lost balls, and it’s inside, so you don’t need to worry about the weather.

Well, two years on and I can definitely say that squash has got my vote over tennis for all the reasons above, plus more.

I find it’s more fun than tennis. It’s faster, and – in just 30 minutes – you get a great workout and you’re done.

I’m not sure it’s an easier game than tennis, but I think it’s a game with longevity. There are male squash champions over 80 but very few women still playing over the age of 70. So, if you’ve never won a sports competition, this could be your chance.

My Top Tips for Starting Squash

Having just made the beginner’s journey, here are my top ten tips for starting squash without looking like an idiot.

Buddy Up

Like most things in life, it’s easier to start something new with a friend or partner.

Warm Up

Although there is less risk of injury on a squash court than in other sports, it’s important to warm up your muscles before you start running around. Jog up and down a few lengths of the court and stretch those hamstrings.

Take a Few Lessons

Although squash looks like tennis, it’s a different racquet action. It’s less about power and more about placement. A coach will show you how.

Watch How the Pros Do It

Good players can read the court and figure out where the ball is likely to go next. It’s a little bit like chess, but with a ball.

Join a Club, Ideally with a Women’s Group

Squash is traditionally a man’s game, but more and more clubs are investing in women’s groups. It’s a much gentler start if you play with other women, and not all about thrashing your opponent from the get go.

Invest in a Squash Racket and Shoes

Although you don’t need much kit, you do need shoes that won’t mark the court and a squash racket. It’s smaller than a tennis racquet.

Watch Your Opponent on Court

In tennis, it’s eyes to the front to watch the ball coming over the net. In squash, part of the magic is in reading where your opponent is going next.

Find Your Local Court

US Squash has a helpful court locator state by state.

Give Yourself a Break

You don’t have to be a natural to get better. Like most things, your skills will improve over time.

You Can Practice on Your Own

A lot of squash players will book a court and just practice different shots on their own.

Don’t be put off if your local club just has a lot of men playing. There will be a club that is developing squash at the community level for everyone through US Squash’s Community Initiative.

I’ve written before about 101 ideas to live a longer and healthier life, and regular exercise is at the top of the list. So, even if squash is not for you, it’s worth the experiment to find a sport that suits you.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Where’s your closest squash court? Do you know someone willing to start the game with you? What’s the best time of the day for you to play? Can you borrow a racquet and a pair of shoes to give squash a try?

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The Author

Jules’ 50-word bio: Jules is passionate about improving human health, particularly for women over 60. She is a science writer by background, after studying the science of DNA at King's College London. She has spent decades translating complex subjects into actionable insights, most recently in the field of longevity.

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