Exploring the World of Squash: Unpacking the Myth of a ‘Rich Person’ Sport

Squash, a sport often played by the elite, has long been labeled as a “rich person’s sport.” But why is this the case? In this article, we will delve into the world of squash and explore the reasons behind this perception. We will examine the cost of playing squash, the availability of courts, and the cultural associations of the sport. Is squash truly inaccessible to those who are not wealthy, or is this simply a myth? Join us as we unpack the myth of squash as a rich person’s sport and discover the truth behind this popular sport.

The Origins of Squash: A Brief History

The Evolution of Squash as a Sport

Squash, as we know it today, has its roots in the ancient game of squash racquets, which was first played in North America in the late 19th century. However, the sport’s origins can be traced back even further to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece, where similar games were played using a small, hard ball and a curved racket.

Over time, the game evolved and became more organized, with the first official rules being established in 1889 by the Harvard University squash team. The rules were simple, with the aim of the game being to hit the ball in such a way that the opponent was unable to return it. The first courts were also built during this time, with the first squash-specific court being constructed at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire in 1890.

As the popularity of the sport grew, so did the level of competition, with the first national championship being held in 1901. The first international tournament was held in 1922, with the first World Championship taking place in 1923.

In the years that followed, the sport continued to evolve, with the introduction of new technologies and equipment leading to a higher level of play. Today, squash is a popular sport around the world, with over 20 million people playing the game in over 190 countries.

The Growth of Squash in Japan

While squash may have originated in North America, it has since become a popular sport worldwide, with significant growth in countries like Japan.

Japan’s fascination with squash can be traced back to the 1960s, when the first squash court was built in Tokyo. Since then, the sport has gained significant popularity, with the number of courts and players steadily increasing.

Today, Japan boasts over 200 squash courts, many of which are located in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. In addition, the Japan Squash Federation was established in 1981 to promote and develop the sport in the country.

The growth of squash in Japan can be attributed to several factors, including the country’s passion for sports and physical activity, as well as the rise of squash-specific training facilities and tournaments.

Furthermore, the sport’s accessibility and versatility have played a significant role in its growth. Unlike traditional sports like baseball or soccer, squash can be played indoors, making it a popular choice for those looking to play year-round. Additionally, squash is an individual sport that requires minimal equipment, making it an affordable option for those who may not have access to expensive sports gear.

Overall, the growth of squash in Japan is a testament to the sport’s versatility and appeal, as well as the country’s dedication to promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

Squash vs. Tennis: A Comparison of Costs

Key takeaway: Squash is a versatile and accessible sport that can be enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and financial means. While it may have a reputation as a sport for the wealthy, the growth of squash in countries like Japan challenges this notion. Grassroots development, public facilities, and inclusivity initiatives are helping to break down socioeconomic barriers and create a more diverse community of players.

Equipment Costs

Squash and tennis are both popular racket sports, but they differ significantly in terms of equipment costs. While tennis requires a racket, balls, and shoes, squash only requires a racket and balls. However, the cost of a squash racket is comparable to that of a tennis racket, ranging from $50 to $200. Squash balls, on the other hand, are significantly cheaper than tennis balls, costing between $10 to $20 per tin of three.

In addition to the initial cost of equipment, it is important to consider the ongoing maintenance and replacement costs. Squash balls, for example, are prone to damage and may need to be replaced frequently, while tennis balls are more durable and can be used for longer periods of time. Furthermore, the stringing of tennis rackets is a recurring cost that is not required for squash rackets.

Overall, while the initial cost of equipment for squash may be higher than some other sports, the ongoing costs are relatively low compared to tennis. This makes squash an accessible and affordable sport for individuals of all backgrounds and financial means.

Court Costs

Squash and tennis are both popular racket sports that require a court to play. While the initial cost of purchasing the necessary equipment is similar for both sports, the costs associated with court fees can vary significantly.

  • Squash Court Costs: Squash courts are typically less expensive than tennis courts, with hourly rates ranging from $5 to $20. The cost of playing squash can also be offset by the fact that many clubs offer membership options, which provide discounted rates for court time. Additionally, some cities and towns have public squash courts that are available at a lower cost or even free of charge.
  • Tennis Court Costs: Tennis court fees can range from $20 to $50 per hour, with many private clubs charging premium rates for court time. However, some public courts may offer more affordable rates, especially during off-peak hours. It’s also worth noting that the cost of playing tennis can be impacted by the need for a partner, as courts are typically designed for two players.

While the initial cost of purchasing equipment may be similar for both sports, the ongoing cost of court fees can make a significant difference in the overall cost of playing each sport. Squash courts are generally less expensive than tennis courts, making it a more accessible option for those on a budget.

Membership Fees

Squash and tennis are both popular racquet sports that require membership fees for court access. While both sports may seem similar in this regard, there are key differences in the costs associated with each.

In tennis, club memberships can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the location and amenities offered. Some private clubs have initiation fees that can reach tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to annual dues. Furthermore, tennis players often need to purchase their own equipment, such as racquets and balls, which can add to the overall cost.

On the other hand, squash membership fees are generally more affordable. While some clubs may have higher membership fees, many community centers and public courts offer lower rates. Additionally, squash players typically do not need to purchase their own equipment, as the clubs often provide rackets and balls for use on the court.

Overall, the cost of membership fees is an important factor to consider when comparing squash and tennis. While tennis may be more expensive at private clubs, squash offers more affordable options for those looking to play the sport.

Squash as a Niche Sport: Fact or Myth?

The Perception of Squash as a Rich Person Sport

While squash may not be as well-known as other sports, it has gained a reputation as a sport for the wealthy. This perception is often attributed to the fact that squash is typically played in private clubs, which are associated with affluence. In addition, the cost of equipment and court fees can be seen as barriers to entry for those who are not financially well-off.

However, it is important to note that this perception is not necessarily accurate. While it is true that private clubs and expensive equipment can be associated with squash, the sport is also played in public facilities and can be accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, many squash players around the world come from middle-class backgrounds and have been drawn to the sport because of its accessibility and affordability.

Moreover, it is worth noting that many professional squash players have come from modest backgrounds and have achieved success through hard work and dedication. This highlights the fact that squash is not just a sport for the wealthy, but rather a sport that can be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to put in the effort to learn and play.

Overall, while the perception of squash as a rich person sport may persist, it is important to recognize that this is not necessarily accurate. Squash is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and financial situations, and its popularity continues to grow around the world.

The Reality of Squash Participation in Japan

While squash is often perceived as a sport played primarily by the wealthy elite, the reality of squash participation in Japan challenges this notion. In fact, squash has gained a significant following in the country, with a diverse range of participants from various socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Grassroots Development: Squash in Japan has experienced a grassroots development, with numerous community-based initiatives aimed at promoting the sport among the general population. This has led to a significant increase in the number of squash players in the country, with many participants coming from non-affluent backgrounds.
  • Public Facilities: Japan boasts a wide network of public squash courts, which are accessible and affordable for individuals from all walks of life. These facilities have played a crucial role in fostering the growth of the sport and making it more inclusive.
  • Squash as a Popular High School Sport: Squash is widely played in Japanese high schools, with numerous schools offering squash as part of their physical education curriculum. This has helped in nurturing the sport’s future generations and created a strong base of amateur players.
  • Tournaments and Events: Squash tournaments and events in Japan are well-organized and cater to players of all skill levels. From local club tournaments to national championships, the sport provides opportunities for participants to showcase their abilities and connect with fellow enthusiasts.
  • Squash as a Pathway to Higher Education: Squash scholarships are available in Japanese universities, providing talented players with an opportunity to pursue higher education while continuing to excel in the sport. This further highlights the accessibility and inclusivity of squash in Japan.

In conclusion, the reality of squash participation in Japan contradicts the perception of the sport as exclusive to the wealthy elite. Grassroots development, public facilities, popularity in high schools, diverse tournaments, and scholarship opportunities demonstrate the sport’s accessibility and appeal to individuals from all backgrounds.

The Socioeconomic Divide in Squash

The Role of Elite Squash Clubs

The elite squash clubs have traditionally been the hub of the sport, offering state-of-the-art facilities and a sense of exclusivity that comes with a membership. These clubs have often been seen as a symbol of status and wealth, with their high membership fees and strict entry requirements.

However, while it is true that these clubs cater to a wealthier demographic, they also play a crucial role in the development of the sport. Many of these clubs have junior programs and offer coaching and training to aspiring players of all ages and backgrounds. They also host tournaments and events that bring together players from different parts of the world, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among the squash-playing population.

Moreover, these clubs are often located in urban areas, providing a much-needed space for people to engage in physical activity and socialize in a busy city environment. While they may not be accessible to everyone, they do contribute to the overall growth and popularity of the sport.

In recent years, there has been a push towards making squash more inclusive and accessible to people from all walks of life. Initiatives such as the Squash for Schools program, which provides squash coaching and mentoring to children in underprivileged areas, are helping to break down the socioeconomic barriers that have long plagued the sport.

By acknowledging the role of elite squash clubs in the development of the sport and working to make it more accessible to all, we can begin to unpack the myth of squash as a “rich person” sport and create a more equitable and diverse community of players.

The Future of Squash in Japan

Squash is a sport that has traditionally been associated with wealth and privilege, but recent developments suggest that this perception may be changing. In Japan, for example, squash is experiencing a surge in popularity among young people, particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

One reason for this trend is the growing availability of affordable squash facilities in urban areas. Many local governments are investing in the construction of public squash courts, recognizing the sport’s potential to promote physical activity and social engagement among diverse communities. These efforts are being complemented by initiatives from private sector organizations, which are partnering with schools and community centers to provide access to squash programming for underprivileged youth.

In addition to increasing accessibility, there are also efforts underway to promote diversity and inclusion within the sport. The Japan Squash Federation, for instance, has established a mentorship program that pairs aspiring squash players from disadvantaged backgrounds with experienced coaches and players. This program aims to not only teach technical skills, but also to instill values such as discipline, perseverance, and teamwork.

Overall, the future of squash in Japan appears to be bright, with a growing base of enthusiastic players and a renewed focus on inclusivity and accessibility. As the sport continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these trends translate to other countries and regions around the world.

Squash as a Pathway to Elite Athletic Performance

The Training Regimen of Squash Players

The sport of squash is often stereotyped as a “rich person’s sport,” but in reality, it is a sport that requires a great deal of dedication, hard work, and physical prowess. Squash players must undergo a rigorous training regimen to achieve elite athletic performance. This section will explore the various aspects of the training regimen of squash players.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular endurance is a crucial aspect of squash training. Squash players need to be able to run, jump, and move quickly around the court for extended periods. They must also have the endurance to sustain high-intensity activities such as sprinting and lunging. Therefore, a significant portion of their training regimen involves cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming.

Strength and Power

Squash players need to be physically strong and powerful to hit the ball with force and accuracy. They must have strong legs, core, and upper body to generate power and maintain balance during play. To achieve this, squash players engage in strength training exercises such as weightlifting, resistance band training, and bodyweight exercises.

Agility and Flexibility

Agility and flexibility are also essential components of squash training. Squash players need to be able to move quickly and change direction rapidly. They must also have the flexibility to reach for the ball and move in different directions. Therefore, squash players incorporate agility drills and stretching exercises into their training regimen.

Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is a critical aspect of squash training. Squash players must be able to handle the pressure of high-stakes matches and maintain their focus and concentration throughout the game. They must also be able to bounce back from losses and use them as learning experiences. Therefore, mental conditioning is an essential part of the training regimen of squash players.

In conclusion, the training regimen of squash players is intense and demanding. It requires a combination of cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, agility, flexibility, and mental toughness. By incorporating these aspects into their training, squash players can achieve elite athletic performance and excel in the sport.

Success Stories of Squash Players in Japan

  • Japan has a thriving squash community with numerous success stories of players who have achieved elite athletic performance through squash.
  • These success stories demonstrate that squash is not just a sport for the wealthy, but rather a sport that can provide opportunities for athletic excellence regardless of socioeconomic background.
  • One notable success story is that of Yosuke Kameyama, who won the Japanese National Squash Championships at the age of 18 and went on to represent Japan in the World Junior Squash Championships.
  • Another example is Ena Shibahara, who grew up playing squash at a community center in Tokyo and went on to become the first Japanese player to win a Wimbledon title in 2021.
  • These success stories highlight the potential for squash to provide a pathway to elite athletic performance for individuals from diverse backgrounds and with varying levels of resources.
  • By showcasing these success stories, it becomes clear that squash is not just a sport for the wealthy, but rather a sport that can provide opportunities for athletic excellence for anyone who is dedicated and passionate about the game.

The Importance of Accessibility in Squash

Initiatives to Make Squash More Accessible

Squash Smashing Barriers

  • Community Squash Programs
    • Offering free or low-cost lessons to children and adults from underprivileged backgrounds
    • Partnering with local community centers and schools to provide access to squash courts
  • Inclusive Squash Events
    • Hosting events specifically designed for individuals with disabilities, such as wheelchair squash tournaments
    • Encouraging participation from diverse communities, including people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals
  • Scholarship Programs
    • Providing financial assistance to talented players from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
    • Offering academic support and mentorship to help recipients achieve their full potential

Building Squash Courts in Underserved Areas

  • Partnerships with Local Governments
    • Collaborating with city officials to build new squash courts in low-income neighborhoods
    • Securing funding for court construction and maintenance through public-private partnerships
  • Squash Courts in Public Parks
    • Converting underutilized park spaces into multipurpose squash courts
    • Creating safe and accessible recreational facilities for local residents
  • Refurbishing Abandoned Squash Courts
    • Revitalizing old squash courts that have fallen into disrepair
    • Restoring these facilities to their former glory and making them accessible to the community

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Squash

  • Training Programs for Coaches and Officials
    • Offering diversity and inclusion training to coaches and officials
    • Encouraging a more diverse and representative workforce within the sport
  • Promoting Role Models and Mentors
    • Identifying and celebrating successful players from diverse backgrounds
    • Providing mentorship and guidance to aspiring players from similar communities
  • Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Initiatives
    • Educating players, coaches, and officials about the importance of diversity and inclusion
    • Establishing a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination in squash

By implementing these initiatives, the squash community can work towards making the sport more accessible and inclusive for people from all walks of life.

The Impact of Accessibility on Diversity in Squash

  • Squash’s reputation as a sport for the elite has limited its diversity and inclusivity.
  • By increasing accessibility, squash can attract a more diverse range of players and foster a more inclusive community.
  • The impact of accessibility on diversity in squash is multifaceted and far-reaching.
    • Economic barriers: Cost of equipment, court fees, and travel expenses can deter potential players from lower-income backgrounds.
      • Providing subsidized equipment, court memberships, and transportation options can help break down these barriers and make the sport more accessible to a wider range of individuals.
    • Geographical barriers: Lack of access to squash facilities in certain areas can limit opportunities for individuals living in those regions.
      • Building more courts in underserved areas or providing mobile squash facilities can help overcome this challenge and make the sport more accessible to people in these regions.
    • Cultural barriers: Perceptions and stereotypes about squash as a sport for the wealthy or elite can discourage individuals from different backgrounds from trying the sport.
      • Promoting the sport’s accessibility and inclusivity through outreach programs, community events, and diverse representation in squash can help change these perceptions and make the sport more welcoming to people from different backgrounds.
    • Disability barriers: Physical and sensory impairments can present significant challenges for individuals who want to play squash.
      • Providing adaptive equipment, training, and resources can help make the sport more accessible to individuals with disabilities and create a more inclusive environment for all players.

Overall, by addressing these various barriers to accessibility, squash can become a more diverse and inclusive sport, attracting players from a wider range of backgrounds and creating a more vibrant and dynamic community.

The True Spirit of Squash

The true spirit of squash lies in its inclusivity and accessibility. It is a sport that transcends socioeconomic barriers and welcomes players from all walks of life.

One of the reasons why squash is such an inclusive sport is because it is relatively inexpensive to play. Unlike other sports that require specialized equipment or facilities, all you need to play squash is a racquet and a ball. Additionally, many squash clubs offer affordable membership options, making it accessible to people who may not have the financial means to participate in other sports.

Another aspect of the true spirit of squash is its focus on community and camaraderie. Squash clubs often have a strong sense of community, with players of all ages and skill levels coming together to enjoy the sport. This sense of community is what makes squash so special, as it provides a space for people to connect and build relationships.

Furthermore, the true spirit of squash is embodied in its emphasis on sportsmanship and fair play. Players are expected to exhibit good sportsmanship, regardless of their skill level or the outcome of the game. This emphasis on fair play and respect for one’s opponent is what sets squash apart from other sports and helps to create a positive and supportive environment for all players.

In conclusion, the true spirit of squash lies in its inclusivity, accessibility, community, and emphasis on sportsmanship and fair play. These are the values that make squash a unique and special sport, and they are what draw people to the game time and time again.

The Opportunities for All in Squash

Squash is often perceived as an exclusive sport for the wealthy, but this perception is far from the truth. In reality, squash offers opportunities for people from all walks of life to participate in the sport. Here are some of the reasons why squash is accessible to all:

  • Affordable: Compared to other sports, squash is relatively affordable. The cost of playing squash is much lower than other sports like golf or tennis. Many clubs offer affordable membership fees and court rentals, making it accessible to people with different budgets.
  • Community-based: Squash clubs are often community-based, providing a welcoming environment for people to play and learn the sport. Many clubs offer free trials and introductory classes, making it easy for people to try the sport without any commitment.
  • Accessible: Squash courts are often located in easily accessible areas, such as sports centers, leisure centers, and community centers. This makes it easy for people to play squash regardless of their location or mobility.
  • Inclusive: Squash is an inclusive sport that welcomes people of all ages, genders, and abilities. Many clubs offer adaptive squash programs for people with disabilities, making it possible for everyone to participate in the sport.

Overall, squash is a sport that is accessible to all, regardless of one’s background or financial situation. With its affordability, community-based approach, accessibility, and inclusivity, squash is a sport that anyone can enjoy.


1. Why is squash often perceived as a sport for rich people?

Although squash may have a reputation for being a sport played by wealthy individuals, this perception is largely a result of the sport’s history and the types of facilities it is typically played in. Squash was originally developed in elite private schools in the United Kingdom and quickly gained popularity among the wealthy class. Additionally, many squash courts are located in exclusive clubs or upscale fitness centers, which can create the impression that the sport is only accessible to those with high levels of wealth.

2. Is it true that squash is too expensive for most people to play?

While it is true that some squash facilities can be expensive, there are many ways to access the sport at a lower cost. Many community centers, YMCA’s, and public parks offer squash courts at a more affordable rate. Additionally, many colleges and universities have squash courts that are open to the public for a lower fee. There are also many initiatives aimed at making squash more accessible to people of all income levels, such as discounted memberships and free trials.

3. Are there any professional squash players who come from working-class backgrounds?

Yes, there have been many successful professional squash players who have come from working-class backgrounds. Some notable examples include players like Jonny Smith and Sarah-Jane Perry, who have risen to the top of the professional ranks despite coming from modest backgrounds. These players demonstrate that squash is a sport that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life, regardless of their financial status.

4. How can I get involved in squash if I can’t afford to play at a private club?

There are many ways to get involved in squash without having to play at a private club. Community centers, public parks, and YMCA’s often have squash courts that are open to the public at a lower cost. Additionally, many colleges and universities have squash courts that are open to the public for a lower fee. There are also many initiatives aimed at making squash more accessible to people of all income levels, such as discounted memberships and free trials.

5. What are some of the benefits of playing squash?

Squash is a great way to stay active and improve your physical fitness. It is a high-intensity sport that requires quick reflexes, agility, and endurance. Additionally, squash is a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination and reaction time. The sport can also be a great way to relieve stress and improve your mental well-being. Additionally, playing squash can be a great way to meet new people and make friends.

The Rise, Fall and Future of Squash

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