One of squash’s problems is that many courts are never seen by potential players. They are often in private clubs, that are either very expensive or in not well-maintained. In the public sector, i.e. sports centres, squash courts are nearly always in the corner of the building you never walk past them to get somewhere else. It means people don’t see them.
Just think about tennis for a moment. When Lawn Tennis was first created, it was because a King of France wanted to play Real Tennis outside. At least that’s how the story goes! The point is that once something is visible to more people, more people want to try it. At least that’s how the theory goes! Not only that, but many outdoor tennis courts are free to use. So if those two principles could be used in squash, that would help, right? yeah, probably.
Squash+ is a company that was specifically created with the intention of building and promoting outdoor squash courts. They are focusing on two approaches. The first is almost an “off-the-shelf” solution. The image above comes from a padel club in Cáceres, Spain. Where they are continually developing new materials and construction techniques to ensure that this type of court is as effective as possible. That includes cost, maintenance and the ability to even move it.
The second approach is for custom designed courts and surroundings. The image above is a render of a proposed facility with two courts. This type of specifically designed facility would obviously be more expensive than the other approach, but clearly has advantages. What’s crucial is that more people get to see squash in locations that they wouldn’t normally.
Professional tournaments have been erecting squash courts in all sorts of unusual locations; train stations, airports, tops of skyscrapers and possibly the most icon, near the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt.
I am sure we all wish Squash+ success and can recognize that if squash were able to make the transition to outdoors it would definitely help its image as well as bringing in new players.