Safety on Court and some Basic Rules
The bear-pit nature of the squash court means that it is one of the most intense arenas that you will find in sport. Although not a contact sport, there is a real risk of players running into each other or striking an opponent with the ball or racket simply because of the intensity and small space in which two singles or four doubles players are competing.
Therefore, the safety of both yourself and your opponent should be paramount. Of course, in the heat of the moment it is all too easy to lose yourself in the cut and thrust of the game, but there are some basic rules, which, if followed, should ensure that the only bruising suffered by the end of the game is to the ego of the defeated competitor.
First and, most obviously, the eyes: a squash ball is just the right size to make full and penetrating contact with the eye socket. That’s the extreme end of the injury scale, but with a ball travelling that fast, it is better to be safe than sorry. So never step out on court without a pair of protective glasses specifically designed for the purpose, incorporating lenses able to withstand the impact of a squash ball travelling at full speed. Ordinary prescription lenses and frames are definitely out: the lenses will not be designed for high impact, and the frames are unlikely to offer perfect peripheral vision.
Don’t Look RoundIn match play, always exercise caution. So, for example, when an opponent is playing a shot from behind you, don’t look round as you will have no time to react should a wayward stroke mean that the flight of the ball is directly at you.
Your racket, too, is capable of inflicting significant damage. Think of how fast it will be travelling when you attempt a deep forehand and you’ll begin to get the picture. So familiarise yourself with the basic skills and follow them. Remember that if there is any danger of making contact with the opponent during stroke play, ask for a let. Again, better to be safe not sorry.
The same is true of your footwear. Ensure that it will afford good grip on the court surface, otherwise both muscles strains, as well as possible impact injury due to a fall, could result. If you find the grip pattern on the soles is wearing down, change them. Do not make false economies when it comes to your well being.
Importance of HydrationAs well as specific equipment precautions, always prepare yourself physically for a game. So take your pre-match meal no less than two hours before play, and never step on court if you are feeling unwell. Don’t forget the importance of hydration both before and after the match as well as during it. However high your level of concentration, include regular fluid breaks in your routine.
Finally, build plenty of time into your match schedule in order that you can complete a full warm-up and warm-down circuit. Not only will this prevent unnecessary stresses and strains but it will leave you nice and supple for the next time you are ready to step out on court.
Safety advice should always be followed. It is not meant to suggest that the squash court is some sort of war zone in which only the toughest survive. The game is there to be enjoyed. Just use your commonsense, and nobody will get hurt.