Squash or Tennis: Which One is the Harder Sport?

Are you wondering which sport is harder, squash or tennis? This is a question that has been debated by players and fans of both sports for years. While both sports require skill and athleticism, the answer to this question is multifaceted and depends on the specific aspects being evaluated.

When it comes to physical fitness, both squash and tennis demand a high level of endurance, strength, and agility. However, some argue that squash is the more physically demanding sport due to its shorter rallies and the need for quick, explosive movements. On the other hand, tennis requires players to cover a larger court area, making it more demanding in terms of endurance.

Hand-eye coordination is another important aspect of both sports, but it may be more essential in squash due to the smaller size of the ball and the faster pace of the game. Tennis players also need to have excellent hand-eye coordination, but the larger ball size and slower pace of the game may make it slightly easier to track the ball. Overall, the answer to whether squash or tennis is the harder sport is subjective and depends on the individual’s skills and preferences.

Physical Exertion

When it comes to physical exertion, both squash and tennis require a high level of fitness and athleticism. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the cardiovascular intensity and muscular demands of both sports.

Cardiovascular Intensity

Both squash and tennis are high-intensity sports that require a lot of cardiovascular endurance. In squash, the rallies are shorter and more intense, which means you have to be able to recover quickly between points. This constant stop-start nature of the game can be very demanding on your cardiovascular system.

In tennis, the rallies can be longer, but there are more breaks between points. This means you have more time to recover, but you still need to be able to cover a lot of ground and maintain a high level of intensity throughout the match.

Muscular Demands

Both squash and tennis require a lot of muscular strength and endurance. In squash, you need to be able to change direction quickly and explosively, which requires a lot of leg and core strength. You also need to be able to generate a lot of power with your shots, which requires strong arm and shoulder muscles.

In tennis, you need to be able to cover a lot of ground and maintain a low center of gravity, which requires strong leg and core muscles. You also need to be able to generate a lot of power with your shots, which requires strong arm and shoulder muscles.

Technique and the Challenge of Mastery

Stroke Complexity

Both tennis and squash require a high level of skill when it comes to executing strokes. Tennis players need to master a variety of shots such as forehands, backhands, volleys, and serves. Squash players also need to develop a range of shots, including drives, drops, and boasts. However, the complexity of the strokes in squash is higher due to the smaller size of the court and the faster pace of the game. Squash players need to be able to hit the ball accurately and with power while constantly adjusting their position to cover the court.

When it comes to racquets, tennis racquets are generally larger and heavier than squash racquets. This means that tennis players need to develop more strength and power in their swings to generate the necessary force to hit the ball. Squash racquets, on the other hand, are lighter and more maneuverable, which requires players to have greater control and precision in their shots.

Tactical Thinking

In addition to mastering the strokes, both tennis and squash require players to think tactically about their next shot. Tennis players need to be able to anticipate their opponent’s shots and respond with the appropriate shot themselves. Squash players need to be able to read their opponent’s position and hit the ball to a location that will make it difficult for them to return.

The cardiovascular intensity of squash is higher than tennis due to the constant movement and short rallies. Squash players need to be able to maintain a high heart rate and sprint fitness throughout the game. Tennis can involve longer rallies and rest between points, but still requires endurance.

Squash also places greater demands on muscular flexibility and agility due to the lunges, quick direction changes, and contortionist shots required. Tennis, on the other hand, emphasizes power in specific muscle groups such as the shoulders and arms for serves and groundstrokes.

The Mental Game


When it comes to focus, both squash and tennis require a high level of concentration. Squash, being played in an enclosed environment with intense proximity to the opponent, demands laser-focus. On the other hand, tennis is played on an open court, which can be physically taxing, and handling external factors such as wind and sun is a skill that requires focus.

In both sports, hand-eye coordination plays a crucial role in maintaining focus. The ability to track the ball and anticipate its movement is essential for success in both squash and tennis.

Frustration Tolerance

Close matches, ‘lets’ and ‘strokes’ can be mentally draining in squash. The momentum swings with longer points and breaks can create unique mental pressure in tennis.

In both sports, it is crucial to have a high frustration tolerance. Squash and tennis players alike must learn to handle the stress and pressure of competitive play. Frustration can lead to mistakes and poor decision-making, which can ultimately cost the game.

The X-Factor: Defining ‘Harder’


When it comes to the accessibility of squash and tennis, both sports have their own unique challenges. Tennis is generally considered easier to pick up, as the basics of the game are relatively simple to learn. However, reaching a high skill level in tennis requires a great deal of practice and dedication.

Squash, on the other hand, has a steeper learning curve. The rules of the game are more complex, and the smaller court size requires a higher level of precision and control. But once you have mastered the basics, the game becomes more intuitive and fluid.

Personal Predisposition

Your natural athleticism and personal preferences can have a significant impact on your experience with each sport. If you are naturally quick and agile, you may find that squash comes more easily to you. On the other hand, if you have a strong serve and enjoy the challenge of longer rallies, tennis may be the better choice.

Another factor to consider is your personality. If you thrive on competition and enjoy the mental challenge of strategy and tactics, tennis may be the more rewarding sport for you. But if you prefer a more fast-paced, high-energy game, squash may be the better choice.


The search for the ‘harder’ sport between squash and tennis often misses the key point: every athlete finds their own unique struggle. A lanky tennis player might find the cramped squash court suffocating, while a quick-footed squash master might feel lost on the expansive tennis court. Ultimately, the greatest challenge lies in pushing your own limits, regardless of the racket in your hand.


Q1: Is squash harder than tennis for beginners?

A: Many find squash initially more challenging than tennis due to the smaller court, faster ball speed, and the added dimension of walls. However, both sports have their learning curves, and tennis basics like groundstrokes can also be tricky to master.

Q2: Does squash require more fitness than tennis?

A: Squash is often considered more aerobically demanding due to its constant movement and short rallies. Tennis can also be extremely taxing, especially in long matches. Ultimately, fitness demands depend on your playing style and the intensity of the match in both sports.

Q3: Mentally, is squash or tennis tougher?

A: Both sports pose mental challenges. Squash, with its enclosed space and potential for controversial calls (‘lets’ and ‘strokes’), requires intense focus and composure. Tennis tests mental resilience during momentum swings and long matches with breaks in the action.

Q4: Why do some people say squash is harder than tennis?

A: Those favoring squash often cite its relentless pace, need for split-second reactions, and the agility required for those tough-to-reach shots. However, tennis advocates point to the complexity of strokes, tactical depth, and the wider range of playing styles in their sport.

Q5: I want to improve at both squash and tennis. Will this help me decide which is harder?

A: Absolutely! Cross-training between the two can highlight the unique demands of each. You might improve your tennis footwork through squash drills, and the variety of tennis shots could enhance your creativity on the squash court.

What’s your Reaction?

Author Information

Leave a Comment