Analysis of Technical Level of Romanian Squash Players


Squash is a popular sport practiced around the world by millions of people. In the last few years, this sport started being played more and more in Romania. Squash is perceived as a very dynamic sport activity challenging at the same time the physical capacities and the technical skills of the players. In racquet sports, technical skills are revealed by the ability to hit a shot accurately toward a targeted area. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current technical level of the Romanian players using the Hunt Squash Accuracy Test (HSAT). Eleven male and female squash players, from 2 clubs, performed HSAT which consists of 375 shots across 13 different types of squash strokes on both the forehand (FH) and backhand (BH) side. The Romanian players (32.4 ±12.5 yo; 76.4 ±18.6 kg; 172.8 ±10.5 cm) have an experience of 9.6 (± 8.3) months and practice on average 2 times per week for about 90 (± 30) min, with a “friend”. The HSAT score for Romanian players was 29.3% overall with 29.5% for FH and 24.0% for BH. The relative high percentage of shot errors (70%) indicates that Squash players in Romania are not doing specific and structured training with a specialized coach. These findings strengthen the belief that Squash is played in Romania just at amateur/leisure level.

Keywords: Performance, testing, accuracy


Millions of players are currently enjoying the squash around the world. Internationally, in countries

like Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Squash is practiced both at recreational and elite

level. It was included in most “continental games” as Pan-American Games, Asian Games,

Commonwealth Games, World Games and All Africa Games (WSF, 2015), but unfortunately was not

accepted as an Olympic sport for the 2020 edition, Japan. In Romania squash was played for the first

time at “Le Club” sports club, part of the French Village (Bucharest), in 1994, where the first squash

court was built. Five years later, in 1999 when JW Marriott- World Class Health Club has been opened,

3 more Squash courts were built. In the following years, other Squash courts were opened in other

cities as Timisoara, Brasov, Oradea and Arad. Today, this sport can be practiced in 15 cities from

Romania, within 24 centres specialized in Squash (Horobeanu & Rosca, 2014: 5). In 2012, it was

founded the first organization dedicated to players and lovers of Squash, “The Squash Association”

(Federația Română de Squash, 2014), which aimed to promote Squash in Romania and bring it to a

higher level of professionalism.

Since April 2014, the Romanian Federation took over the duties of Squash Association of Romania

and developed and implemented the Squash officially, as part of International Squash Federation

(Horobeanu & Rosca, 2014: 5).

Squash is a complete sport where player’s physical capacity and technical skills are challenged on

any aspect.

Squash is a part of racket sports family together with table tennis, badminton and tennis . It is

played by 2 (singles) or 4 players (doubles) in a relatively closed area. The court consists of four walls

and floor, being bounded by different markings. A deformable rubber ball must be hit by opponents

alternately with a racquet. Players’ movements are specific and repeated during each point: stops,

direction changes, turns, jumps, lunges and/or side steps (Vuckovic, Struijk, & Rijkhoff, 2005). All

these movements aim to position the body in a better place allowing the player to hit the ball decisively

to a court area in which the opponent will have difficulty to return (Vuckovic & James, 2010).

As any other racket sport, the shot accurately it’s a fundamental skills which is achieved by

continuous practice during a long period of time. (Ariff, Osman, & Usman, 2012).

Winning a squash rally is achieved by placing the ball in an incommode position for the opponent.

(Lees, 2003). Doing this constantly will assist in winning games and matches.

Squash is lacking in scientific literature in evaluating the shots characteristics accurately competing

with other racket sport like tennis (Strecker, Foster, & Pascoe, 2011) or badminton (Sakurai & Ohtsuki,


Geoffrey Hunt, a legend of this sport has developed the “Hunt Squash Accuracy Test” (HSAT) in

order to evaluate the accurately of the main strokes in squash. HSAT incorporates both, FH and BH

strokes , resulting in 13 different criteria’s . (Williams et al., 2014).

Being a fast grow sport in Romania, squash is passing from recreational level to performance,

therefore the need of objective evaluation of current technical abilities of Romanian players was

required. We consider the HSAT being the best tool to be applied for this assessment.

Materials and methods


For this project, 11 players volunteered - 3 females and 8 male, aged 27-58 years, members of

different squash clubs from Bucharest, Ploiesti and Miercurea Ciuc. All of them signed a consensus

form prior to commencing the test.


The HSAT consists of 13 different types of Squash strokes, summing 375 shots on both FH and BH.

The maximum number of allowed trials is detailed in Table 1 for each stroke type. These included:

drives, volleys, boasts and drops. Each shot had a target area where the ball had to land to be called


The utilized methodology of the assessment has been applied as per Williams et al., 2014.

Prior to commencing the test, each participant had the opportunity of trying and playing the tested

shots to get a clear feeling about the requirements.

Table 1 - The maximum number of allowed trials for each stroke type
See Full Size >


The participants used their personal racquet, which has been used in practice and tournaments. Each

individual was tested using a new Squash ball - Standard Double Yellow Dot (Competition) Ball, to

avoid the ball getting worn (getting soft spots) or lost its surface (becoming shiny), which might alter

its bouncing capacities.


All subjects were tested by the same appraiser, on the same court, in a random order. The testing

was done on the same day, over the duration of 6 hours (app. 35 min/participant). The environment

temperature was maintained constant at 24oC (±1o) using the Club’s air conditioning system. The

participants were unaware of previous performances.


The tested players (32.4 ±12.5 yo; 76.4 ±18.6 kg; 172.8 ±10.5 cm) were all right arm dominant, had

an experience of 9.6 (± 8.3) months and practiced on average 2 times per week, for about 90 (± 30)

min., with a “friend”.

The overall HSAT score for Romanian players was 29.3%, results that are detailed in Table 2. FH

shots reached their target in 30.9% of cases, while BH in only 25.2% of cases. Regarding the court

position, the shots played from front of the court were 34.5% accurate, from the middle 34.1% and

only 21.3% from back of the court. When taking into consideration if the ball touched or not the floor

prior to shots, volleys were 34.5% accurate and only 22.6% accuracy for the bouncing shots.

Table 2 - HSAT scores detailed by stroke type and shot type
See Full Size >

Discussions and conclusions

The study done by Vuckovic in 2010 has shown that rally winners cover less distance on average in

comparison to rally losers, which suggests that a player who forces an opponent to cover a greater

distance is more likely to win the game due to sending shots accurately away from opponent, put in

difficulty to return the ball (Vuckovic & James, 2010). The tested Romanian players deliver only 30%

of shots accurate enough to reach their targets. Considering the fact that all the shots were executed

without any pressure and from a balanced and stable position, the results indicated very low technical

skills for tested population.

During a rally, a player is forced to react to the pressure of the opponent and must execute defensive

shots to increase recovery time and put himself in an offensive or at least equal position. This can be

done by playing proper efficient shot and by having a proper posture during the game. This can be

achieved only by repeated practice and training on all different shots.

The BH technique is being utilized more often then FH technique during a squash game. . This

might have multiple reasons, including the fact that most of the players are right dominant and as well

that left back corner is the most used area of the court. The Romanian players showed less accurate BH

shots than FH, 25.2% vs. 30.9% (Fig. 1). One of the explanations might be that all of the tested players

practiced other racquet sports before, i.e. tennis, badminton, where the predominant shots are FH. The

BH movement in Squash has a very characteristic kinematics, it starts with the racket arm being

wrapped around the neck, the elbow flexed and pronated forearm. The hit is initiated by the lateral

extension and abduction of the shoulder simultaneously with the forearm supination (Behm, 1987: 10).

The proper technique can be learned over time, following specialized coaching instructions especially

at young ages.

Figure 1: Stroke type HSTA score
Stroke type HSTA score
See Full Size >

The court positioning was deeply studied by Vuckovic, who has shown that spending more time in

“T” area (middle of the court) offers a real advantage due to the fact that all four corners can be

reached in equal amount of time (Vuckovic et al., 2013). In our analyses, we found that the shots

executed from back of the court had the lowest accuracy, only 21.3% (Fig. 2). This means that only one

ball in five can be sent to reach a target when it is executed from behind the service box. Such shots

require coordination, spatial awareness and strength, a combination that can be achieved by consistent

and adequate training.

Figure 2: HSTA score for different court positions
HSTA score for different court positions
See Full Size >

Front shots were executed from “in front of the service line”. Middle shots were executed from the

service box area. Back shots were executed behind the service boxes.

When in the middle of the court, the players can play volley strokes, an action which will increase

the timing enabling the player to have a proper position for the next shot and as well will put the

opponent under pressure offering him less reaction and movement time. In the present study, we found

that 34.5% of volleys were accurate and just only 22.6% of the bouncing shots (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: Shot type HSTA score
Shot type HSTA score
See Full Size >

Volley - the ball was hit before touching the floor. Bounced - the ball bounced off the floor prior to

be hit.

Even though each point/rally is won as a result of a single shot, the shot is part of a combination of

shots and tactical sequence which aims to bring the ball in the most inaccessible areas of the court for

the opponent. When comparing these results with the ones of Williams, we can see that technical skills

of Romanian players are low. Williams recorded an average score of 54.25% (19% to 89%), while our

result was only 29.28% (18 to 40%). The importance of having specialized coaches to teach properly

all technical aspects from the beginning of squash is essential. Williams’ population was very different

than ours, those players practicing with a coach 15 hours/week for 1.5±0.6 years. Specialized technical

sessions should be introduced in the weekly schedule in order to increase the skill and shot accuracy.

Further research should be done to test a bigger number of Romanian players from different centres,

who might have a bigger playing experience and implicitly better technical skills. This could be

organized in collaboration with the National Championship, where all participants could be tested and

the results correlate with the final place (similar design with Williams et al., 2014).

HSAT test has been applied to amateur players, although the test is designed to be

applied to highly-trained adolescent players. We consider this action due to the trend of Squash

development in Romania. As well HSAT has not been tested on amateurs to see its reliability, and

therefore the above results might be very different with a new testing session, so they should be

carefully interpreted and not generalized.

The high strokes errors percentage (70%) shows the lack of technical abilities within

the Romanian squash players tested. This finding might highlight the lack of specific and structure

sessions given by specialized coach and as well are in close relations with their limited squash


These findings strengthen the belief that Squash in Romania is played at recreation level.


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10 June 2016

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Cite this article as:

Rosca, A., Horobeanu, C., & Grigore, V. (2016). Analysis of Technical Level of Romanian Squash Players. In V. Grigore, M. Stanescu, & M. Paunescu (Eds.), Physical Education, Sport and Kinetotherapy - ICPESK 2015, vol 11. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 496-502). Future Academy.