Monday, October 2, 2023

Why squash will not recover from this spiral of decline that has been accelerated by pickleball and Covid

‘Squash has taken so many wrong turns during the 50-year cycle of life I have observed here in North America, one of them being to deliberately exclude the masses’  By BOB KINGSLEY (Squash Mad Correspondent, USA) Like any useful analysis, only the passage of time can fully illuminate the entirety of history that defines the […]

Continue reading...

To read our premium content, we're asking you to make a small monthly contribution of just £1.99

Already a subscriber to our website? Login

Related articles


  1. This is a fantastic piece. It really captures the state of our sport and the history of it. It is elitist in its history. As a consultant in the health club industry, I would echo this and suggest that our sport not underestimate the amount of venture capital being poured into pickleball and padel. Courts will soon be like Starbucks; on every corner. Meanwhile, affordable, commercial squash courts are closing almost as quickly, with a year-over-year reported 14% decline.

  2. Meh – Squash is the fastest, most dynamic, and most fun sport I’ve ever played. I’m just one person but as you said in the article, discovering squash made for the most profound moments in your life, this is a common experience across the sport and shouldn’t be discounted. Maybe the squash world just hasn’t tapped into this effectively but that’s not to say it couldn’t.

  3. “Although I am USA-based, I think this analysis, in general, is accurate on both side of the Atlantic and around the squash world.” It may or may not be an accurate analysis of the USA, but it certainly doesn’t apply to the UK, the country with the most courts, where few would characterize the sport as elitist. Spending 5 minutes browsing the UK contingent’s contributions to Facebook squash forums should be enough to clear that up!

    I also disagree with the claim that squash is difficult, though beginners should use the right ball.

  4. I’m based in the UK (England) and play all the sports mentioned to some extent, plus badminton and table tennis. The article is correct – Pickleball is the easiest technically and although it may be played outdoors in the US, or other places where the weather allows, in the UK it is mostly played indoors on badminton courts. The court dimensions are the same as the doubles court, just the no volley kitchen line is about 2 inches different from the net and is usually just left as it is for recreational play. Then there’s the cost of the squash court building and maintenance, which is most likely the most expensive, even more so than a padel court or for maintenance of tennis courts. Badminton courts, while played in expensive sports halls, are so abundantly available whether in local government public sports facilities or hired out to the public by educational providers, benefit by the fact that being multiuse surfaces, many different sports can be accommodated in these facilities (5-7 a side soccer, basketball, netball, handball, volleyball, yoga, pilates etc) thus creating a quicker breakeven point after build and higher profit margins longer term. As there is at least usually 4 courts per hall, that is potentially 16 players paying per hour. This also applies to Pickleball when using badminton courts. Then there’s the cost to the player. In the UK a squash court may be around £10-£15 ($13-$20) in peak time for only a 40 minute session. This is split between just 2 players. A badminton court, whether playing badminton or pickleball, is about the same cost for 60 minutes and possibly split between 4 players. Which is the better value for money on the face of it? Then there’s tennis. My membership of 2 two clubs is £160 and £95 per annum (about $215 and $130). Both clubs have 3 ‘social’ sessions per week for members and the more costly is also a local league club so reasonable players can also represent the club against other local clubs. While tennis play dwindles in the winter (unless a club has an indoor facility at extra cost), if the weather permits enough play during spring, summer and autumn, then it’s easy to see each 90-120 minute social session costing less than £2 ($2.7). This makes tennis the clear winner on cost per session and per minute played.

  5. Squash is difficult !!!!! It’s the same point system and rules of nearly all other racquet sports. Beginners learn Squash very fast and at ease in a matter of 3 days they already reach a competitive level to play a match 1on1 !!! What are you talking about!

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest articles