Copyright
Richard C. Squires.

Squash Tennis online

. (page 2 of 3)
Online LibraryRichard C. SquiresSquash Tennis → online text (page 2 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


it is both required and desirable to come around as frequently as
possible. The Squash Tennis ball is so lively and the angles so wide
that trying to back up usually results in the ball chasing you and at
best, a defensive, awkward shot will be all you can hit. Turning,
however, and moving constantly after or toward the ball will "open up the
court" as well as place you in a solid, firm position to stroke the ball
freely and comfortably. (See figures 21 [Don't back up and take ball on
backhand.] and 22 [Usually best to turn and take ball on forehand.]
showing a player backing up versus a player who is properly turning.)

Learning to "come around" is another one of those frustrations you will
not find easy to master at first. The ball, being so fast, will seem to
run away from you. Just remember two things: 1) hustle after the ball
with short, speedy steps, keeping in mind that the angle is much greater
than in Squash Racquets (see figs. 23 [Usual Squash Racquets angle and
final bounce position.] & 24 [Note wider, longer angle of Squash Tennis
ball's final bounce position.]) and 2) your racquet must be back and
cocked, ready to swing through when the ball arrives at the proper
hitting position, which is preferably out in front of you.

Finally, another aspect of the game of Squash Tennis that a beginner or a
converted Squash Racquets player will find "unnatural" is the necessity
of immediately moving forward when you see or sense your opponent going
for a sharply hit up-and-down shot, either cross court or "rail," that
does not hit any of the side walls. The Squash Racquets black ball is so
much "deader" that the player usually has to go back first and then
forward somewhat in order to be in the proper position to hit the ball as
it rebounds off the back wall.

The tremendous speed of the Squash Tennis ball, however, does not require
that you go toward the back wall first. To the contrary, you must charge
forward instantly (even when your opponent's shot is heading toward the
back wall) or else you will never be able to catch up to it as it comes
rebounding off the back wall. Many a shot off the back wall is played
from a position closer to the front wall than to the back.



HISTORY OF SQUASH TENNIS


Squash Tennis is one of the few racquet and ball indoor sports that can
be termed honestly and strictly "American" in origin, whereas Squash
Racquets has its roots in England going as far back as the 1850s. The
game spread to America in the 1880s and the first real organized Squash
Racquets play was in 1882 at St. Paul's Prep School, in Concord, New
Hampshire.

Eventually some of the boys there experimented with a Lawn Tennis ball
and liked the fast rallies and liveliness of the action. Consequently an
exciting offspring was born, Squash Tennis.

Toward the turn of the century, Stephan J. Feron, of New York became
fascinated with the possibility of the speeded up version of Squash and
has been given the credit for creating the lighter Squash Tennis racquet
and the famous (or infamous) inflated ball with the knitted webbing
surrounding the regular cover.

The last decade of the 1800s saw, therefore, two Squash games being
played. Very quickly, however, Squash Tennis became more popular and
widely played than Squash Racquets because of the more exciting pace and
action of the play. Private courts were built on estates owned by such
millionaires as William C. Whitney and J. P. Morgan. The famous Tuxedo
Club, Tuxedo Park, New York, installed the first formal Club court in
1898. By 1905, the Racquet and Tennis Club, Harvard, Princeton, and
Columbia Clubs in Manhattan had courts, as did Brooklyn's Crescent A. C.
and the Heights Casino.

In 1911 the National Squash Tennis Association was founded and organized
by the banker, John W. Prentiss, Harvard Club of New York. The following
year inter-club league competition was started in New York City - 56 years
ago! The sport also gained popularity and some limited play in other
cities such as Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, but the real
nucleus of activity was pretty much confined to "The Big City."

The halcyon days of Squash Tennis were the 1920s and 1930s. Such names
as Fillmore Van S. Hyde, Rowland B. Haines, Thomas R. Coward, William
Rand, Jr., and R. Earl Fink dominated the amateur ranks during the Golden
Twenties. New York Athletic Club's Harry F. Wolf reigned alone and
supreme as the amateur champion during the ensuing decade.

The professionals, however, "owned" the best of the amateurs. Walter
Kinsella, Robert L. Cahill, Tommy Iannicelli, Johnny Jacobs, Frank
Lafforgue, Rowland Dufton, were the outstanding "play for pay"
performers. And, the unquestioned king of the Squash Tennis courts was
the legendary Frank Ward, who never lost a match in tournament
competition.

Because of the desire by the expert Squash Tennis players for more and
more speed and a higher pressurized ball, a novice quickly became
discouraged with his initial efforts at playing the game. For many
crucial years, therefore, the game was not adopted by new players and
there was no broad base of tyros. Plainly and simply the avid duffers,
which every sport must have if it is to survive and retain its
popularity, took up a less frustrating, easier to master sport for their
exercise.

World War II saw the demise of this lightning fast webbed ball because of
the shortage of rubber and the game all but died. Simultaneously Squash
Racquets thrived during the War. Organized play and competition were
established at service bases, colleges, schools and YMCAs. A new breed
of young, active Americans became enamored with Squash Racquets and the
pendulum swung away from Squash Tennis. After all, what is a racquet
game without an appropriate ball? The now aging professionals saw the
wave of interest in Squash Racquets and climbed aboard.

After the war Frank Lafforgue, of the Yale Club, attempted to renew
interest in Squash Tennis by utilizing a standard Lawn Tennis ball.
While it was a far easier game for the novice to learn and a marvelous
form of indoor exercise for the otherwise sedentary businessman, the "old
timers," remembering the Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s, became
completely disenchanted with the slow, heavy, "make shift" orb. They
left their love and were contented to talk wistfully about the "good old
days."

Competition, though comparatively limited, continued. Some of the
outstanding players who competed right after the War in a dwindling
number of tourneys were eight times national champion H. Robert Reeve,
Barry Ryan, Frank Hanson, Joseph Sullivan, Howard Rose, (still very
active in his sixties) J. Lennox Porter, and John Powers.

Norman F. Torrance, Harvard Club, Secretary of the Association in
1919-1934 and the NSTA's President up until 1954, despite his love for
the game and his efforts to rejuvenate it during the 1950s, was a voice
in the wilderness.

(The following was extracted from an article written by Robert H. Lehman,
Editor of the 1966-7 edition of the NSTA Yearbook.)

"The present starts its story less than two years ago. For many years,
well known, long known figures had tried to revive the game, revamp the
ball, attract new players. Still active in administration and
competition were Willard Rice, Howard Rose, Larry Pratt, Rodney Fiske,
Frank Wadelton, Dave Smith and others.

"Suddenly after protracted doldrums dominated mostly by conversation, a
spark was fired. Back to his old Eastern haunts came volatile,
enthusiastic Dick Squires, a National Junior Davis Cupper while at school
in Bronxville, a nationally ranked Squash Racquets player 10 years ago,
now in mid-thirties and still a 'natural.' Exposed to our game at the
Rye Squash Barn in early 1965, he went whole hog for his new love, roamed
around crying, 'How long has this been going on?' Mr. Torrance must have
known something when, way back in 1951, he said the game would come back.

"The ebullient red-head lit a fire under everyone. He talked a
'Rejuvenation Committee' into existence, headed it, and started the ball
rocketing. Fund-raising letters to Patrons, membership solicitations to
clubs and individuals, colorful posters broadcasting the game's delights
on squash bulletin boards all over, letters to pros outlining advantages
and opportunities, revision and updating of Official Rules and
Association By-Laws, publicity releases to papers and magazines - all were
dreamed up and implemented by Squires and his now famous 'NSTA-RC,' a
dedicated, hard working bunch.

"One of the most imaginative programs, instigated during the winter of
1965-6, was the running of exhibitions (over 22!), which dramatically
exposed the game to the uninitiated, attracted sizable galleries and
converts. Dick's buddy, Bill Moncrieff, conducted running commentaries,
stopping play to explain fine points, while such as Dick, John Powers,
Gavin Murphy, Dave Smith, Jim Prigoff and Henry Stanton roamed the East
to such spots as Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Washington and Rochester to
spread the word.

"Mindful of the age-old cry, 'What about the ball?' a committee was
formed to pursue all possibilities with determination and with primary
view to drastic reduction of breakage - a long-time bugaboo. If the
action could be improved, so much the better. . . .

"Great strides were made, and recently Norman Forster, after carrying on
lengthy, exploratory discussions with the loyal Spalding outfit (which
had been keeping the game going with the best they had been able to
produce for this specialized and heretofore limited field, developed an
excellent ball - one that can withstand the tremendous beating a Squash
Tennis ball takes as it rebounds about the walls."

In 1966 as evidence that Squash Tennis was, indeed, on the "comeback
trail" the august governing body of the National Squash Tennis
Association elected five-time national champion, Jim Prigoff, as their
new President. They pledged their support both verbally and financially.
The most active season in over 25 years was instigated and many new faces
were seen chasing the fast green covered ball about the court.
Innumerable converts came over from Squash Racquets and new life and
vitality was breathed into the "grand old game."

Momentum continues. A "new look" was adopted in 1967 with the complete
reorganization of the Association. Functioning committees were formed to
create and implement workable plans in the various important areas of
activity as Tournament and Ranking, Exhibitions and Clinics, Promotions
and Publicity, Finance, National Development, Membership, Referees and
Rules, etc. A broad base of energetic lovers of the game, with due
respect for tradition, began to think in the present what could be done
now to enhance the popularity of the sport, and to plan for the future.
The day of the "one man show," the one athlete-dominated sport was over.
Squash Tennis can and should be played and enjoyed by everyone. And we,
of the revitalized National Squash Tennis Association plan to do
everything necessary to provide you, the present or potential player, the
"hacker" or expert, with the kind of organized programs that will
encourage you to play Squash Tennis as long as you physically can. Keep
in mind that the venerable Mr. Torrance won a tournament match at the age
of 82!



COURT SPECIFICATIONS AND EQUIPMENT


Court - Basically the Squash Tennis court is identical in specifications
to Squash Racquets; namely 18 1/2 feet wide, 32 feet long, and 16 feet
high at the front wall: The ceiling should be at least 18 feet 6 inches
high in order to allow for lights. Running along the front wall, 17
inches in height, is the "telltale" made of sheet metal. Hitting the
"telltale" is tantamount to hitting a Lawn Tennis ball into the net. The
front wall also has the front service line, which is 6 1/2 feet above the
floor. On the floor, 10 feet from the backwall, is the floor service
line extending parallel to the backwall and across the entire width of
the court. A line drawn from the floor service line to the backwall
divides the back court into two equal halves. Ideally (but not an
absolute necessity) the service line should also extend all the way up to
the front wall in order to divide the forecourt in two for service
placement. In other words, the service must land in the opponent's half
of the court in front of the floor service line and divided by the
extension of the center line to the front wall. The service court in
Squash Tennis, therefore, is actually 22 feet long, and bounded by the
center line, floor service line, side wall and front wall (rather than
back wall).

The backwall "out" line is 4 feet 6 inches above the floor, or 2 feet
below the present Squash Racquets' backwall out line.

Otherwise the rules in scoring are identical to Squash Racquets, even
though the style of play is, as you have noted, quite different. (For a
schematic drawing of a Squash Tennis court, see Figure 25 [Dimensional
drawing of a Squash Tennis court.].)

Equipment - The green felt covered ball is approximately 2 3/8 inches in
diameter, slightly smaller than a standard Lawn Tennis ball but
containing higher pressure. It is, therefore, lighter and faster. These
Squash Tennis balls are manufactured for the Association by A. G.
Spalding & Bros. They can be bought from any Squash Professional or
directly from the National Squash Tennis Association for $1.25 each.
Recent manufacturing improvements have extended the length of time you
can play with a ball without it wearing out or breaking.

The racquet has the identical size head to a regulation Lawn Tennis
frame, but the length, including the handle, should not exceed 26 inches,
which is 1 inch shorter and, therefore, somewhat lighter and more
wieldable than a standard Tennis racquet. Regular gut or nylon is used
for the string. A strong Squash Tennis racquet sells at a competitive
price to a Squash Racquet bat.



OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES


1. COURTS
The court dimensions, lines, telltale, material, construction, and
lights shall be in accordance with the specifications approved by the
Executive Committee of the National Squash Tennis Association. Existing
[American (hardball)] Squash Racquets courts are recognized by the
National Squash Tennis Association, but a court boundary line across the
back wall, 4'6" [1372mm] from the floor, is essential, and a line from
the center of the service line forward to the front wall is highly
desirable.

2. RACQUET AND BALL
The racquet or bat shall have a frame similar in shape to that of a
lawn tennis racquet, the length including the handle not to exceed 27
inches [686mm]. The stringing shall be of gut, nylon or other kindred
substance, but neither the frame nor the stringing may be of metal.
The ball shall be in accordance with the specification approved by
the Executive Committee of the National Squash Tennis Association.

3. GAME
A game shall be fifteen points; that is, the player scoring fifteen
points will win the game, except in the event both players tie (a) at
"thirteen all," the player who has first reached the score of thirteen
will elect one of the following before proceeding with the game:
1) "set five" - making the game eighteen points, 2) "set three" - making
the game sixteen points, 3) "no set" - making the game fifteen points - or
b) at "fourteen all," providing the score has not been "thirteen all,"
the player who has first reached fourteen points will elect one of the
following before proceeding with the game: 1) "set three" - making the
game seventeen points, 2) "no set" - making the game fifteen points.

4. MATCH
Matches shall be the best three out of five games.

5. SERVER
Before a match begins, it shall be decided by a spin of a racquet by
the players as to which player shall serve first. Thereafter, when the
server loses a point, his opponent becomes the server. The winner of a
game shall serve first at the beginning of the following game.

6. SERVICE
The server shall stand behind the service line with both feet on the
floor and not touching or straddling the line, and serve the ball
against the front wall above the front-wall service line and below the
16-ft. [4877mm] line before it touches any other part of the court, so
that it shall drop directly, or off the side wall, into his opponent's
court in front of the floor service line without either touching the
floor service line or the center line.
If the server does not so serve, it is a fault, and if it be the
first fault, the server shall serve again from the same side. If the
server makes two consecutive faults, he loses that point.
The server has the option of electing the side from which he shall
commence serving and thereafter, until he loses the service, he shall
alternate between both sides of the court in serving. If the server
serves from the wrong side of court, there shall be no penalty and if
the receiver makes no attempt to return the ball the point shall be
replayed from the proper court.
When one service fault has been called and play for any reason
whatsoever has stopped, when play is resumed the first fault does not
stand and the server is entitled to two services.

7. RETURN OF SERVICE AND SUBSEQUENT PLAY
(a) To make a valid return of service the ball must be struck after
the first bounce and before the second bounce, and reach the front wall
on the fly above the telltale and below the 16-ft. line; in so doing it
may touch any wall or walls within the court before or after reaching
the front wall, except as in (e), below. A service fault may not be
played. If a fair service is not so returned, it shall count as a point
for the server and he shall then serve from the other side of the court.
(b) After a valid return of service, each player alternately
thereafter shall strike the ball in the same manner as on the return of
service, except that it may be volleyed. The player failing to so
return the ball shall lose the point.
(c) A ball striking the ceiling or lights or on or above any court
boundary line on the fly shall be ruled out of court; if a ball should
strike the back wall on or above the 4'6" line after having bounced, it
shall continue to be in play. If a ball having bounced should go into
the gallery or strike any construction which alters its course, a let
shall be called.
(d) If a ball before the second bounce hits the front wall above
the telltale for the second time it is still in play.
(e) In an effort to return the ball to the front wall by first
hitting to the back wall, the ball may not be played to the back wall
unless it has first struck the back wall, and must be so struck as to
hit the back wall below the 4'6" line.
(f) A player may not hit a ball twice during a stroke, but, while
the ball is still in play, it may be struck at any number of times.

8. LET
A "let" is the stopping of play and the playing over of the point.
(a) In all cases, a player requesting a let must make his request
before or in the act of hitting the ball. If a let is requested after
the ball has been hit, it shall not be granted.
(b) If a player endeavoring to make his play in proper turn is
interfered with so as to prevent him from making such play as he would
without such interference, or if the striker refrains from striking at
the ball because of fear of hitting his opponent, there shall be a let
whether the ball has been hit by him or not.
(c) A player shall not be entitled to a let because his opponent
prevents him from seeing the ball, provided his stroke is not interfered
with.
(d) If the ball breaks in the course of a point, there shall be a
let. If a player thinks the ball has broken while play is in progress,
he must nevertheless complete the point and then request a let. The
referee shall grant the let only if the ball proves in fact to be
broken.
(e) If in the course of a point either player should be interfered
with by elements outside their control, there shall be a let.
(f) It shall be the duty of the referee to call a let if, in his
opinion, the play warrants it. If a match be played without a referee,
the question of a let shall be left to the sportsmanship of the players.
(g) A player hit by a ball still in play loses the point, except
that if he be hit by a ball played by his opponent before the ball
strikes the front wall above the telltale, then it is a let. If
however, a player is hit by a ball off his opponent's racquet that is
clearly not going to reach the front wall above the telltale, a let will
not be allowed and the point shall be given to the player who was hit by
the ball. However, a player hit by a ball still in play will not lose
the point if because of interference a let is called.

9. PLAYER INTERFERENCE
Each player must stay out of his opponent's way after he has struck
the ball and (a) give his opponent a fair opportunity to get to and/or
strike at the ball and (b) allow his opponent to play the ball from any
part of the court to any part of the front wall or to either side wall.

10. LET POINT
(a) A "let point" may be called by the referee if after adequate
warning there is no attempt or evidence of intent on the part of a
player to avoid unnecessary interference or unnecessary crowding during
his opponent's playing of a point. Even though the player is not
actually striking at it, the referee may call a let point. The player
interfered with wins the point.
(b) If in the opinion of a player he is entitled to a let point, he
should at once appeal to the referee whose decision shall be final,
except when judges are present, as described in Rule 11(b).
(c) A let point decision can only be made when a referee is
officiating.

11. REFEREE AND JUDGES
(a) If available a referee shall control the game in any scheduled
match. His decision is final, except when there are judges present as
described in Rule 11(b).
(b) Two judges may be appointed by the referee or tournament
committee to act on any appeal by a player to the referee's decision.
When such judges are on hand, a player may appeal any decision of the
referee directly to the judges. Only if both judges disagree with the
referee will the referee's decision be reversed. The judges shall not
make any ruling unless a player makes an appeal. The decision of the
judges shall be announced promptly by the referee.
(c) All referees must be familiar with these playing rules when
officiating in sanctioned matches.

12. GENERAL
(a) At any time between points, at the discretion of the referee a
new ball may be put in play at the request of either player.
(b) Play shall be continuous. Between the third and fourth games
there may be, at either player's request, a rest period not to exceed
five minutes. Between any other games there may be, at either player's
request, a rest period not to exceed one minute.
(c) If play is suspended by the referee due to an injury to one of
the players, such player must resume play within one hour or otherwise
default the match.
(d) The referee shall be the sole judge of any intentional delay,
and after giving due warning he may disqualify the offender.
(e) If play is suspended by the referee for some problem beyond the
control of both players, play shall be resumed immediately after such
problem has been eliminated. If cause of the delay cannot be corrected
within one hour, the tournament committee and/or the referee will
determine when play will be resumed. Play shall commence from the point
and game score existing at the time the match was halted.

January 1968



NATIONAL CHAMPIONS


Transcriber's Note: For reference purposes, the reader may appreciate
this list of Squash Tennis National Champions. The championship
tournament may not have been held every year in the early 1990s. And
although (as of early 2004) the most recent tournament was held around
1995, the National Squash Tennis Association considered Gary Squires to
be the reigning champion when it reported to the New York Times through
2000 for the paper's annual comprehensive list of national sports
champions. Gary Squires happens to be the son of the author of this
booklet.


1911-1912 Alfred Stillman
1913 George Whitney
1914 Alfred Stillman
1915-1917 Eric S. Winston
1918 Fillmore Van S. Hyde
1919 John W. Appel, Jr.


2

Online LibraryRichard C. SquiresSquash Tennis → online text (page 2 of 3)