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Other Racket Sports

These articles describe other racket sports. Many people believe that maybe 4 or 5 racket sports exist, but the reality is very different. In these articles I describe those other rackets sports.

Here is the second in my series on Other Rackets Sports. In this article, I will describe Frontenis, which is a sport where tennis and squash had a baby – more or less.


The first thing to tell you is that Frontenis is played on a Fronton1. A fronton is also known as a Basque Pelota Court. There are a variety of types of court, some with one wall, some with two and others with three walls. The three wall variety is generally the largest. In addition to the number of walls, they also have lengths and heights. As you can see, it’s pretty complicated compared to squash. Also, the fronton is used for a variety of sports, all hitting a ball against the front wall though (I’ll be exploring some of those sports in future articles). Lastly, the three-walled variety have the right hand side wall missing. The front wall also has an area, just like the squash tin, where the ball is not allowed to hit. It’s about twice the height of a squash tin. Oh, I’ve put some links at the bottom of this articles if you want to explore the topic more. Frontontenis was invented in Mexico in 19002. It changed its name to frontenis a little later. Fronton courts were built around the world and its history is not very clear in the sense that people played similar, but independent games against walls for many years. This is where the history of tennis, fives, squash, rackets and lots of other games gets a little muddled. So, back to Mexico in 1900. It seems that a few famous tennis players started playing on a fronton with their tennis rackets and a tennis ball. This became popular and more people started playing it. At the time, there were a lot of fronton because Pelota games were incredibly popular. Essentially, people used to hit the ball with their hand against the wall. Over time, more people started to use a racket instead of their hand and the sport expanded into South America and then to Europe, around the 1920s, via Spain…

It’s so easy to see other popular racket sports and almost blame them for squash’s decline. padel and pickle ball are popular at the moment and perhaps some squash players have moved across, but the chances are they weren’t happy with squash anyway.

Other Rackets Sports Are Not Squash's Enemy!

I’m using the term “racket sports” and I define a racket as something with strings. If it doesn’t have strings, then it’s a bat in my mind, but that’s not an industry standard. Many people in table tennis call their bats “rackets”, so just be aware that basically I am talking about sports where you hold something and hit a ball and then your opponent hits the ball with their something, normally on a court. Phew. So with the definition out of the way, let’s address the title. It seems to me that too many people view other rackets sports as competitors to squash and I can understand why people would think that. We have all heard of people trying squash and having fun, but then preferring tennis or badminton for example. The problem with this thinking is that the logical conclusion would be to ban all other racket sports except squash! Clearly that’s a stupid conclusion. Why would we want to stop people from enjoying other sports? In some ways, they are right. squash does compete with other rackets sports in terms of budget at local sports centres. Many places have limited budgets and need to allocate that budget to a variety of different sports and racket sports get bundled into one category, in the same way that invasion team sports do too. Do we say that rugby is the enemy of football or hockey? I don’t think so. people who play hockey, would not play rugby if hockey was not available to them. Just because they are similar in some aspects, doesn’t mean that the people who play them would switch if they couldn’t play their chosen sport. You don’t play ice hockey if hockey is not available, do you? What we need to do, and it seems to be happening more and more, is accept that people like different racket sports, but also recognize that a lot…

I am sure you have heard of Squash (duh!), tennis, racketball, and badminton, but the fact is, there are over 25 racket sports and this is the first in a monthly series exploring and introducing those sports.

Squash Tennis

When squash was first “exported” to the United States of America, they built squash courts before they had equipment! Sounds stupid nowadays, but such is how new things are created. So basically, in the 1880’s, the boys at St. Paul’s School, in Concord, New Hampshire had some squash courts but no rackets or balls to play with. So what do you do? You find the next best thing and that happened to be the recently introduced game of tennis. So those enterprising youngsters took their rackets and the tennis ball and Voila! Squash tennis was born. This is the back of postcard describing squash tennis. And just like squash rackets, which by the way used to be the official name of squash (just in case you didn’t know), the actual rules didn’t really develop or at least were codified until 30 or so years later. Nowadays we understand and expect the size of courts, rackets and balls to be strictly controlled and adhered to, but back then, and I only slightly hesitate to use the term, things were more like the Wild West. Court sizes varied between locations, as they did in early squash. The balls used in Squash Tennis have also changed over the years, from originally regular tennis balls to specialist green high-pressure ones. As I have mentioned, courts sized varied until they eventually chose a size that was close enough to a regular squash (as it was originally played on anyway) that people could use those too. Echoes On Modern Squash There a sentence in the Wikipedia page that says “A faster ball was preferred by advanced players, but it discouraged novices.” and it’s fascinating that Squash Tennis had the same issue as modern squash in the sense that advanced players wanted or required a different ball than novices and I can’t help but feel that is crucial to the development of the sport. Dead And Gone…