The hardest part to playing squash is getting started. When do you know if you are ready for the squash court? What kind of racket and ball do you need? How should I stand? Is there a certain way I should swing the racket? How do you practice? The list of questions goes on. Let’s start at the beginning…
Finding a Court
It’s a good idea to find a squash club if you want to play squash. There are plenty of squash courts around the place that allow you to chase that little black ball around the box whilst working up a sweat. The easiest way to find one that suits you is to jump online and search. Another alternative is to ask someone else because there is a good chance they’ll know where to go.
Get some Advice
Simply being shown how to hold the racket correctly can not only give you some much needed confidence, but it can make all the difference between connecting with the ball and hitting air. Whilst a fellow SquashBuddy might have some good tips for you, it is better to seek out help and get guidance from a qualified coach since they are the ones trained to teach the game to someone like you. They will tell you what you’re doing right as well as what you’re doing wrong. Doing this in a group programme is an even better way to get advice while socialising with friends.
It’s good to be able to serve, know a few basic shots and have a decent rally with your playing partner. You also need to be able to keep your cool when things don’t work. You will hit the tin lots of times so practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more. If you are limited in the time you can spend practicing, concentrate on shorter games and nail the basic shots. Jump online and watch the technique videos or check out the stylish posters on the club wall. If you can develop reasonable accuracy and control at shorter lengths, you will enjoy your game and be able to hold a rally much better than someone who cannot keep the ball in play.
Rackets and Balls
At some point you’ll be wanting to get your own racket and balls. Different types of ball have different coloured dots on them - denoting different levels of bounciness and hang time. If beginning stick to a single blue or red dot. As for your racket, pick one up and have a swing. Find one that feels comfortable to hold that isn’t too heavy. Your pro shop will be able to help you find one that suits. If you’re strapped for cash and depending on your level of squash and how often you will commit to playing, you could buy a second hand racket to start, or borrow one from a fellow club mate.
Learning how to play may be the most important part of becoming a squashie, but not to be overlooked is knowing what to wear. Who doesn’t want to look sharp while working up a sweat and burning those nasty calories? All you really need is a comfortable tee shirt and a pair of shorts that fit you well and allow free range of motion. The right footwear is essential, but you can hold off on purchasing squash shoes until you become more serious about the game. Stick with solid cross-training shoes that you can use on and off the court and which give you good protection.
When you're just starting out it is good to set yourself some goals. We suggest making a commitment and setting a reasonable timeframe. Don’t be too hard on yourself though - remember, you’re just starting out. As you reach each of your goals you can reevaluate how much time you are playing squash and what you are trying to achieve.
There are a lot of ways you can play squash. Studies show strong social connections can have a positive impact on health and well-being which leads to a positive club experience. This means that people who play together are far more likely to keep playing than those who go alone. So grab some mates and hit the courts. The support of others works wonders!
Make sure you have everything you need beforehand, your racket and balls, a water bottle, a towel, something to snack on and of course remember to put your game face on. If you forget anything, your fellow club mates should be your first port of call. If no-one is around, chances are they are already on court!
This is where the magic happens. Remember to take a couple of big deep breaths and look around at the beautiful four white walls. It certainly beats sitting in the office or doing some other awful job…
- The club is delighted you are there, but less so if you injure yourself or someone else, so learn to warm yourself and the ball up first.
- Try to not get in your playing partner’s way when it is their shot. It is always pretty important to remember where they are.
- Squashies are understanding of first time players and will help you along, you can help too by asking lots of questions - of and course practice.
- When you’re starting out, don’t worry too much about the rules. After each game, review the various situations you found yourself in and determine how the rules applied, so next time, you’ll know what to do.
The great thing about squash is even if your game wasn’t that great, you will have burned off plenty of calories and hit some amazing shots that will have you coming back for more. After your match be sure to shake your playing partners’ hand. Then it’s time to talk with your friends about your best shots and your worst, have a great laugh and organise when and where you’re next going to play again.