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Do You Have To Play Squash In Shorts Or Skirts?

I was recently asked this in an email and the sender had been told by somebody at their courts that they had to wear shorts – no tracksuit bottoms.

07 November 2022 / 3-Min Read

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There used to be a time when squash players were forced to wear all white clothing, including the shoes. I played and coached through this era, but now it is considered old-fashioned. The reason given was that if the ball passed across the body of a player wearing dark colours their opponent would lose sight of the ball and be at a disadvantage. They also wanted to keep the “image” of the sport as formal. Nowadays, players wear any colour or design they want. But what about the style of clothing?

Do You Have To Play Squash In Shorts Or Skirts?

Skirts or shorts - you decide.

Did you know that back sometime in the 1930s and 1940s, ladies were asked not to wear skirts during play? The reason given was the same as for the white clothing: a “flowing” skirt may cover the ball. So back to the title question. No, you don’t have to wear shorts or skirts when playing squash. But, I do want to mention three points for your consideration.

Distraction

I looked through the current rules but couldn’t see anything about the clothing you wear when playing squash. So, does that mean you can wear ANYTHING you want? Yes, and no. If your opponent believes your clothing is a distraction then they can ask the ref for a let. Now this is tricky because I don’t believe that can say that the colour or design itself is a distraction, just during the rally. It would be ridiculous for a player to keep saying the pattern or design distracts them. Although, if the design has particularly rude wording or is what most people would consider acceptable, then maybe the ref could rule to change it. More on that later.

Do You Have To Play Squash In Shorts Or Skirts?

Knocking up in a tracksuit

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The more important point about distraction regarding your clothing would be something that is not tight, but very loose and flaps about a lot. I know this is a silly example, but it’s a perfect illustration of the point: but if you were to wear a superhero costume which had a cape, then yes, your opponent could easily claim that the cape was a distraction.

To summarise distraction: anybody can claim anything is a distraction, but you just have to be sensible and use common sense!

Hinders You

So, let’s assume that your opponent has not contested your clothing choice and you decide to wear M.C Hammer trousers, is that actually a good idea? While they, the trousers, may feel great walking and dancing, or even playing squash, they would in fact be a liability. Remember, if the ball hits any part of your body, racket or clothing, then your opponent wins the point.

Do You Have To Play Squash In Shorts Or Skirts?

Can't Touch This by MC Hammer

Having very loose clothing doesn’t help your squash movement or your squash swing. You would make more noise swing the squash racket than you would hitting the ball!

tBy all means wear what you want when you play squash, but please consider the sporting ramifications. Oh, before I forget, it might be worth remembering that originally squash players used to wear long trousers.

Club Court Rules

The final point is different from the previous two which have some connection to the official rules of squash. This point is related to the facility where you play. Each private club can have any rule they want; it’s a private club after all. So, if they say you can only wear white when playing squash, then you can only wear white when playing squash. It’s that simple. I have coached at clubs that had that rule. It seems old-fashioned, but it’s their club.

Do You Have To Play Squash In Shorts Or Skirts?

Aren't they beautifully dressed?

The same goes for other types of clothing, so back to the question about tracksuit bottoms, if the club has a rule, then you have to follow it. if you don’t like the rule, join the club and try to change it!

However, if the courts are in a public facility, then their rules apply and in general those rules are much less restrictive than some private clubs. Honestly, I’ve never seen ANY rules regarding clothing in a municipal centre except non-marking shoes.

Final Thoughts

The email sender rightly stood their ground and refused to change. Partly because they don’t like being bullied and partly because they didn’t have any other clothing. I fully support this decision. I should mention that it wasn't the club's rules, just something the other player said becasue he didn't think it looked good.'

Nobody should be forced to expose their body if they don’t want to. There are many considerations with this idea: modesty, religion, embarrassment, and all are valid in my eyes. One of my closest friends always wears tracksuit bottoms when he plays.

Anyway, I hope those three points have given you a better idea about shorts and skirts when playing squash.

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