Squash is a racket sport played by two (singles) or four players (doubles) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. The players must alternate in striking the ball with their racket and hit the ball onto the playable surfaces of the four walls of the court.
The game was formerly called squash rackets, a reference to the "squashable" soft ball used in the game (compared with the harder ball used in its sister game rackets).
Squash supporters are lobbying for its incorporation in a future Olympic program.
The use of stringed rackets is shared with tennis, which dates from the late sixteenth century, though is more directly descended from the game of rackets from England. In "rackets", instead of hitting over a net as in sports such as tennis, players hit a squeezable ball against walls.
Squash was invented in Harrow School out of the older game rackets around 1830 before the game spread to other schools, eventually becoming an international sport. The first courts built at this school were rather dangerous because they were near water pipes, buttresses, chimneys, and ledges.
The school soon built four outside courts. Natural rubber was the material of choice for the ball. Students modified their rackets to have a smaller reach to play in these cramped conditions.
The rackets have changed in a similar way to those used in tennis. Squash rackets used to be made out of laminated timber.
In the 1980s, construction shifted to lighter materials (such as aluminium and graphite) with small additions of components like Kevlar, boron and titanium. Natural "gut" strings were also replaced with synthetic strings.