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OUTDOOR SQUASH

WHAT WE DO...

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The shapes and sizes of outdoor squash

Outdoor squash is not a one size fits all movement. Outdoor squash symbolises accessibility and opportunity to enjoy the game at a grassroots level and have fun playing a fast paced and social game. Each court may not look the same and will adapt to its environment. See below the adaptations you can see around the world today.

This page is…

  • A thinktank for outdoor squash
  • A source for networking with experienced individuals behind the movement of outdoor squash
  • A place for people to join the outdoor court movement and get involved


The goal of the PSA Foundation and this page is to be a source of knowledge and inspiration, highlighting all the different projects related to outdoor and mini squash in different parts of the world. We are looking to connect with those considering an outdoor squash project of their own and the supporters of the movement to make outdoor squash a reality. 

PSA Foundation Outdoor Squash Court Committee 

The Outdoor Squash Court Committee is formed of a selection of PSA Foundation trustees and other key individuals experienced in outdoor community squash. The committee’s role is to facilitate pilot courts and innovative models that different communities can adapt and replicate according to their own resources and needs. We believe this process for innovation is a key component of the future for squash and is now a core focus to our mission moving forward.

Current Adaptations Around The World:

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp rise in interest for outdoor squash courts, after a difficult period of restrictions on indoor sports. Squash is internationally known as an indoor sport. Yet, fundamentally there is little reason for it not being played outside as well. Squash is the only racket sport to have not yet taken the game to the outdoors at community level. A wide number of benefits come with taking squash courts outside, such as improved visibility, accessibility and awareness for the sport. There is no singular model that represents outdoor squash. The movement for outdoor squash seeks to break away from a court needing to abide by 1 set of dimensions. It seeks to introduce a little flexibility on what makes a squash court to increase opportunity to play and get involved. 

This is why at the PSA Foundation we have introduced the use of mini courts, Project Beacon and the Outdoor Squash Committee to make strides towards improving and growing the outdoor squash landscape.

 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a spike in adaptations for mini squash courts. While it would be great to see full sized outdoor squash courts in public spaces world wide, this represents a much more affordable and accessible means of participation, especially for younger age groups. These can be made out of a variety of materials and have taken many forms so far:

Perspex Mini Squash Court by Melior Sports

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New to 2021 and made of a Perspex material, these courts were launched at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games roadshow events, showcasing all the sports involved throughout the Midlands communities, England. They are great for catching the eye of passer-by’s and very easy to play on with the right junior ball and racket. Find out more about these courts here: https://www.meliorsports.com/mini-courts 


Independent Adaptations

 

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Mini squash courts represent the entry level facility for the sport. Any successful mass-participation sport has accessible and affordable entry points to play. In football it’s a cheap ball and ‘jumpers for goalposts’. In baseball its 2 people with a bat and ball. In England there are 1,946 free to use public tennis courts. In the vast majority of communities the entry point for squash resides in high spec facilities on a court with perfect dimensions and high booking fees. The current infrastructure for squash leaves the game significantly disadvantaged at capturing new faces who could much more easily try other sports.  

In theme with the mini squash courts, these types of adaptations of available spaces are great at improving the accessibility and opportunities to make that first leap into squash. Mass participation sports at a grass roots level can easily make use of multi-purpose facilities and spaces. The more squash can blend and work other sports, the more accessible and integrated it becomes alongside other mainstream sports. 

In badminton you can cheaply buy a pop-up outdoor net to stick in the ground, table tennis has nets that attach to dining tables and official playing tables are relatively affordable, and public tennis courts can frequently be seen in parks. These are all great entry levels to their respective sports, so what is the point of entry for grass roots squash?

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PSA Foundation Pilot Initiative in Chicago

Inspired by the steel court in NYC (truesquash.com) our idea evolved into funding the development and management of two outdoor Corten steel courts in Maggie Daley Park along Chicago’s downtown lakefront, subject to the input and approval of the Chicago Park District. These would be unique because the side walls and the front wall would display rotating art exhibits supplied by the School of the Art Institute, After School Matters, MetroSquash and other groups, adding to the Park District’s Artwork and Monuments initiative. This is “Project Beacon”; an inspiration for more outdoor court projects all over the world. Find out more here: https://psafoundation.com/beacon/

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A regulation-size singles squash court with three steel walls, a glass back wall, and a wood panel floor suspended on a steel framework, set in an industrial company backyard. 

The True Squash steel-walled outdoor squash court in Maspeth, Queens was conceived in 2019 and built in 2020. It was originally created as an art project that Jeff Anschlowar, President of Maspeth Welding, and Robert Gibralter, co-creator, could play on themselves. From their very first strokes, Jeff and Robert knew the court’s performance and experience were proof of concept: that steel-walled courts have the potential to transform squash from an indoors-only, exclusive sport. Maspeth Squash was created to develop beautiful outdoor courts never before imagined. Now Jeff and Robert, together with Sari Chang of Jacobschang Architecture, provide strategic and creative thinking for siting courts, produce schematics that inspire and galvanize support, and integrate with local resources to build sustainable outdoor squash courts. Maspeth Squash/Jacobschang is the team working on The PSA Foundation’s Beacon Project. Find out more here: https://www.truesquash.com/

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Short Wall Squash

A very simple design, made entirely out of concrete, 4 courts back to back to minimise cost and maximise space.  A common barrier to courts in public spaces is the risk of a hidden space being used for anti-social behaviour.  In this instance, the side and back walls are only 1.2 metres high. Research suggested that few balls hit above this height on the side and back walls and so was a worthy sacrifice for allowing constant coaching and surveillance of inside the court. For younger ages and beginners, the lower side walls are even less of an issue.

Squash Para Todos are a registered charity from El Salvador that seek to use the vehicles of squash and education to improve quality of life for local underserved children. These 4 courts are used as the entry point for an introduction to squash. After a year or two as the more committed and talented juniors emerge, they are graduated to the Squash Para Todos indoor facility and ASB made courts. Find out more about them here: http://www.squashparatodos.org/growing-backwards/

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Among the first of the more recent movement of outdoor courts, the Public Squash court in New York City’s Hamilton Fish Park was opened in April 2018. The court produced was a high spec ASB court that played as well as any indoor court. Very few, if any, public squash courts like it existed at the time. As a first of it’s kind, there were lessons learnt around the expensive materials used. But it was a significant first step for the outdoor court movement. Find out more about Public Squash here: https://www.publicsquash.org/

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp rise in interest for outdoor squash courts, after a difficult period of restrictions on indoor sports. Squash is internationally known as an indoor sport. Yet, fundamentally there is little reason for it not being played outside as well. Squash is the only racket sport to have not yet taken the game to the outdoors at community level. A wide number of benefits come with taking squash courts outside, such as improved visibility, accessibility and awareness for the sport. There is no singular model that represents outdoor squash. The movement for outdoor squash seeks to break away from a court needing to abide by 1 set of dimensions. It seeks to introduce flexibility on what makes a squash court to increase opportunity to play and get involved. 

This is why at the PSA Foundation we have introduced the use of mini courts, Project Beacon and the Outdoor Squash Committee to make strides towards improving and growing the outdoor squash landscape.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a spike in adaptations for mini squash courts. While it would be great to see full sized outdoor squash courts in public spaces world wide, this represents a much more affordable and accessible means of participation, especially for younger age groups. These can be made out of a variety of materials and have taken many forms so far:

Perspex Mini Squash Court by Melior Sports

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New to 2021 and made of a Perspex material, these courts were launched at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games roadshow events, showcasing all the sports involved throughout the Midlands communities, England. They are great for catching the eye of passer-by’s and very easy to play on with the right junior ball and racket. Find out more about these courts here: https://www.meliorsports.com/mini-courts 


 

Independent Adaptations

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Mini squash courts represent the entry level facility for the sport. Any successful mass-participation sport has accessible and affordable entry points to play. In football it’s a cheap ball and ‘jumpers for goalposts’. In baseball its 2 people with a bat and ball. In England there are 1,946 free to use public tennis courts. In the vast majority of communities the entry point for squash resides in high spec facilities on a court with perfect dimensions and high booking fees. The current infrastructure for squash leaves the game significantly disadvantaged at capturing new faces who could much more easily try other sports.  

In theme with the mini squash courts, these types of adaptations of available spaces are great at improving the accessibility and opportunities to make that first leap into squash. Mass participation sports at a grass roots level can easily make use of multi-purpose facilities and spaces. The more squash can blend and work other sports, the more accessible and integrated it becomes alongside other mainstream sports. 

In badminton you can cheaply buy a pop-up outdoor net to stick in the ground, table tennis has nets that attach to dining tables and official playing tables are relatively affordable, and public tennis courts can frequently be seen in parks. These are all great entry levels to their respective sports, so what is the point of entry for grass roots squash?

blank blank

PSA Foundation Pilot Initiative in Chicago

Inspired by the steel court in NYC (truesquash.com) our idea evolved into funding the development and management of two outdoor Corten steel courts in Maggie Daley Park along Chicago’s downtown lakefront, subject to the input and approval of the Chicago Park District. These would be unique because the side walls and the front wall would display rotating art exhibits supplied by the School of the Art Institute, After School Matters, MetroSquash and other groups, adding to the Park District’s Artwork and Monuments initiative. This is “Project Beacon”; an inspiration for more outdoor court projects all over the world. Find out more here: https://psafoundation.com/beacon/

blank blank

A regulation-size singles squash court with three steel walls, a glass back wall, and a wood panel floor suspended on a steel framework, set in an industrial company backyard. 

The True Squash steel-walled outdoor squash court in Maspeth, Queens was conceived in 2019 and built in 2020. It was originally created as an art project that Jeff Anschlowar, President of Maspeth Welding, and Robert Gibralter, co-creator, could play on themselves. From their very first strokes, Jeff and Robert knew the court’s performance and experience were proof of concept: that steel-walled courts have the potential to transform squash from an indoors-only, exclusive sport. Maspeth Squash was created to develop beautiful outdoor courts never before imagined. Now Jeff and Robert, together with Sari Chang of Jacobschang Architecture, provide strategic and creative thinking for siting courts, produce schematics that inspire and galvanize support, and integrate with local resources to build sustainable outdoor squash courts. Maspeth Squash/Jacobschang is the team working on The PSA Foundation’s Beacon Project. Find out more here: https://www.truesquash.com/

blank blank

Short Wall Squash

A very simple design, made entirely out of concrete, 4 courts back to back to minimise cost and maximise space.  A common barrier to courts in public spaces is the risk of a hidden space being used for anti-social behaviour.  In this instance, the side and back walls are only 1.2 metres high. Research suggested that few balls hit above this height on the side and back walls and so was a worthy sacrifice for allowing constant coaching and surveillance of inside the court. For younger ages and beginners, the lower side walls are even less of an issue.

Squash Para Todos are a registered charity from El Salvador that seek to use the vehicles of squash and education to improve quality of life for local underserved children. These 4 courts are used as the entry point for an introduction to squash. After a year or two as the more committed and talented juniors emerge, they are graduated to the Squash Para Todos indoor facility and ASB made courts. Find out more about them here: http://www.squashparatodos.org/growing-backwards/

blank blank

Among the first of the more recent movement of outdoor courts, the Public Squash court in New York City’s Hamilton Fish Park was opened in April 2018. The court produced was a high spec ASB court that played as well as any indoor court. Very few, if any, public squash courts like it existed at the time. As a first of it’s kind, there were lessons learnt around the expensive materials used. But it was a significant first step for the outdoor court movement. Find out more about Public Squash here: https://www.publicsquash.org/

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A Key Learning

A squash facility in a public setting, whether it’s in a local park or school playground is not likely to sustain participation on its own, but coupled with using local clubs and coaches to drive engagement, we can further create a sustainable outdoor squash model to help grow the sport we all love from the grassroots up.

Get invovled with the outdoor squash movement