Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aging and Squash

One of the arguments lobbed against softball squash has been that it is physically more demanding than hardball, and so older players, often starting in the 50s, gradually get shunted aside as their body's aches and pains can no longer deal with the sport.

Since hardball singles is now largely dead, most of the old codgers out for a squash game have gravitated towards hardball doubles, a great game in which an older player can still hold his own, particularly if teamed up with a younger player who can go fetch the drops up front.

But what about those older athletes among us who don't want to play doubles, or, more likely, don't have access to a doubles court?

For them I propose racketball and squashitball. 
  • Racketball, a game played in England, involves using racquetball rackets and balls on an international squash court. The tin stays where it is, and the ceiling is off limits. Everything else is pretty much like the American game of racquetball. Because the ball bounces more there is less running, and since the tin stays where it is, there is no front-wall nick as you would find in racquetball. Players have good long rallies, get to exercise their love of court sports, and get a good, but not paralyzing, workout. For some reason this option has not been popularized in the US, but I think it should be, as it is a nice game for players who want to get out there but want to spare their knees for another day.
  • Another option is squashitball. I'm not sure if anyone ever plays this or not -- I just made it up -- but it might also be a good option. Instead of using a shorter racquetball racket, the player uses the longer squash racket, thereby avoiding bending down if at all possible. The players play with a racquetball ball, so the bounciness allows them to avoid too much running and lunging. 
I see the progression as singles squash, racketball, and then squashitball. And then table tennis....  And then arthroplasty....


  1. I don't think squashitball will work well. Racketball balls are bouncier than squash balls, which means on impact a racketball ball will generate much more torque than a squash ball. Using a racketball ball with a squash racket will generate too much torque for the wrist, and it will be potentially dangerous. This is partially why a racketball racket is shorter than a squash racket!

  2. Racquetball has gotten so fast that mediocre players like me routinely hit high shots that come all the way to the back wall, and sometimes all the way to the front wall again without bouncing. On a squash court it would be crazy.
    An alternative is long ball -- the first or second bounce must be beyond the service line. The younger player can play long ball rules and the older player "all shots."

  3. I 2nd the long ball idea.

    Alternatively, how about switching to a blue dot soft ball?


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....