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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As a kid in Yorkshire, England, Mike Ruttledge played tennis and racquetball, but he had a couple things to work out. He didn't like to run after his errant shots on the tennis courts, and racquetball, he said, "is like running around like a headless chicken."


When he was introduced to squash at the age of 14, it was a perfect match, and he has been playing for the past 25 years.

Meanwhile, another Englishman, Richard Tucker, was being introduced to the sport by his father, and he, too, found it an ideal sport.

The two hooked up in Phoenix years later, and today they are two of the main squash proponents in Arizona. Tucker is an accomplished instructor and world-traveled referee, and Ruttledge has become one of the top amateurs in the West. Both have seen the sport grow in the Valley, which has a few hundred active players.

The Village, with five courts in two locations, is the largest squash venue in the Valley.

Tucker, the pro for the Village Racquet and Fitness centers, said several hundred others would relish the chance to play if they knew facilities were available. Since he was recruited by general manager Rick Erdenberger last summer, he has kick-started the sport in the Valley and says a big challenge lies in getting youngsters involved.

"It's a great game for kids because they always feel like they've succeeded when they can get the ball to go to the front wall," Tucker said. "With squash, unlike racquetball, you always have the front wall, and the ball pretty much comes back, so there's always a good chance at having a rally."

Squash, played with a long-handled racquet and a soft ball, involves constant bending and stretching, trying to hit a ball that isn't constructed for bouncing. As a result, Tucker said squash has proven be a good cross-training device.

Sharon White of Paradise Valley, a lifelong tennis player, took up squash when Tucker began the program. She said a half-hour on the squash court is equivalent to two hours of playing tennis from a cardiovascular standpoint.

"The game is so fast," she said. "I have a tennis court at home, but I haven't been using it since I've started coming here. I'd compare walking and running to tennis and squash. Tennis is much slower, and squash is very physically demanding."

Since more players have started playing in the Valley, the skill levels have increased, but there are very few top amateurs here compared with pockets of the country where the sport has been popular for a much longer time.

Erdenberger, who has played squash for 10 years, has seen the sport grow rapidly in other metro areas, such as Atlanta, Chicago, in California and on the East Coast.

"I think it's going to start to grow substantially in the Southwest," he said. "We're considering attempting to build a junior program, which will proliferate the sport a little more, especially in some of the schools where kids are looking to get into the Ivy League schools, and squash would be a great game to pick up."

Tucker said the abundance of people in Phoenix from various countries who are familiar with squash is a plus.

"There are a lot of foreigners in Phoenix and a lot of people would be squash players, but I don't think they know that in Phoenix, we're trying to grow the sport," he said. "I think it's already caught on, but we need to get more people involved, and we need more courts. The potential in Phoenix is very good."

As proof of the increasing popularity, Tucker brought in the No. 8 player in the world, Englishman Mark Chalomer, for an exhibition, and more than 100 people crowded around the glass.

"You don't get the full grasp of the athleticism involved just by watching on TV," Tucker said. "The top squash players are some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world."

Getting others interested enough is the tough first step that the squash enthusiasts in the Valley have taken. What they're saying, Tucker said, is that squash is a lifelong sport that becomes addictive, "and the more you play, the more fun it becomes."

"Everyone is unique and has different skills," he said. "Some people pick it up very fast, and some start really slowly and have a lot of things to overcome. And some just don't care (about their skill level). They just do it because they enjoy it so much, and it's so much fun.

"Nobody should be intimidated. It's fun and easy to get started."

Do you think Tennis is less enjoyable ????

http://www.wtafans.com
 

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ask Roshan/iluvjelena , hes the squash player of the board....
 

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I thought he was a badminton player? :confused:
 

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I play a lot of squash what do you want to know?
 

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Likewise , I play a lot more squash than tennis (been playing squash since I was 15 ... I'm now mid 30's) but sadly tennis is by far more popular and asscessible inthe part of the U.S where I live.
 
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