Volume 11, Number 17
8 February 2005

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Get Fit to Play Squash; Don't Play Squash to Get Fit!

The Squash Course Program is offered by the Physical Education and Sports Center every semester for those who want to learn the rules and techniques of the game. Since squash is played on relatively narrow courts, the racket or the fast-moving ball may cause injuries if the proper technique is not used. This introductory course aims to reduce the risk of injury and ensure safety by acquainting class members with the basic rules of the game as well as with the proper gear, such as eye-guards and appropriate shoes.
Bilkent News interviewed Dr. Alper Ura, Assistant Director, Physical Education and Sports Center, about the game. He first gave some background about the squash facilities at Bilkent. As in so many areas, Bilkent is first here, too: it was the first university in Turkey to build squash courts and offer squash courses to its students. There are three squash courts at the Student Dormitories Sports Hall. The courts provide a year-round environmentally controlled atmosphere for players.
When asked about the difference between squash and other racket sports, Dr. Ura answered: Squash is a fast and exciting game, played in a confined area, so some physical contact is inevitable. Therefore, the game has strict rules to ensure safe and fair competition. These even include regulations on swinging your racket. However, the most important factors in making squash safe are consideration and common sense.

You will learn more, and have more fun, if you plan your squash game in advance. You can start by finding a partner--one way to do this is through the Sports Ad column in Bilkent News. Another part of the preparation is making sure you have the proper squash shoes, clothing, racket and balls. Also, it's better if you are already on a regular fitness program before you start playing. There's an old squash saying that's worth remembering: Get fit to play squash; don't play squash to get fit. Finally, be sure to study the rules of the game so that you have a basic understanding of how squash is played before you even set foot on the court.
Here are some basic tips for a healthy game:
Find a racket that feels just right for you--neither too heavy nor too light. Make sure the grip is comfortable. Buy a selection of fast and slow balls, so that you can determine which is best suited to your style of play.
Go through a number of exercises on the court to thoroughly warm your muscles. This will help you to avoid muscle injuries and soreness.
In order to sign up for the squash course, stop by the Student Dormitories Sports Hall. The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday: 5 - 7 p.m. / 7 - 9 p.m.
Wednesday: 3 - 5 p.m.

Reservations are required for use of the courts. Squash gear (ball and racket only) may be checked out at the desk by non-beginners from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please call the Physical Education and Sports Center at ext. 1993 or 1651.

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