by Ferez S. Nallaseth

When I first received Ferez first draft, I basically replied "WTF". As I'm blond, female and French, his article was pure gibberish I must admit. After a few back and forth mails, we eventually got to a point where I had a vague idea the man's message was.

So, I asked him what he thought Squash Problems are, and what the solutions would be. It's the simplest I managed to get! Still, good luck everybody...

1. So Ferez, in your opinion, why is squash not that popular?

Ferez: We do not see squash on TV, and so it’s not appreciated as a sport, very simply because of the problems the game has being seen let alone being effectively televised!

Even for many active Squash Players, the images both on court and on TV, both the OBVIOUS images, as well as the equally important rally and game DEFINING images are hard to see!

Obvious images are of players, balls, racquets and moves e.g. drives and cross-courts, and rally ending trickle boasts. The equally important, rally and game defining, but non terminal (rally ending) - like Held Strokes (see Peter Nicol's video) are a BLUR on court and barely perceptible on the TV screen.

With the result that the image, that is remembered, especially in non-Playing minds, is that of Squash as a monotonous, repetitive, fitness intensive but Racquet skills depleted sport! All the way from the small moves, spins and close-ups to the panoramic most views are poor or non-existent on the court and the screen!

How to solve this?
To correct this we need to improve automated capturing, recall, analysis and commentating off/on all images on/from the Squash Court? Why? So non playing audiences can see the game and Squash Commentators like Joey Barrington can comment more effectively on it so the viewer’s get it!

This includes using tools to outline defining as well as standard easily viewed strokes and moves (pencilled in on the image on the screen). With replay images, of manually overridden automated images if that’s what it takes to illustrate a point.

2. Can you give us an practical example of Obvious/Defining Images?

OK. Let's compare it with the high frequency beating of the wings of the hovering Humming Bird drawing nectar. It's invisible to the unassisted human eye, but captured by time lapse photography... It's about the same for visualizing the hard to see DEFINING images on the Squash Court.

One sees the bird but not the wings of the hovering Humming Bird which are beating too quickly (50 - 200 times per second) to be seen by the unassisted human eye! The technical or scientific solution is to speed up the filming of the bird by increasing the numbers of frames per second with time lapse photography. As the wings are beating slower than the numbers of frames of film one now captures the whole picture, including the bird, the wings, and the beak inserted into the flower!

 Something similar to this analogy has to be applied to enable visualization of the whole picture on the squash court! By using modern biological, optical and computational methods this is readily doable in televising Squash.

The body of the Humming Bird is the equivalent of the OBVIOUS images while its wings are the equivalent of the DEFINING images on the Squash Court. The equivalent of time lapse photography are many new ways of capturing and analyzing the most fleeting of images at the highest levels of resolution.

3. How do you adapt it to squash then?

Ferez: Let’s compare the problem of capturing the whole image of the Humming Bird to capturing the whole image on the Squash Court.

The whole image on the Squash Court is much denser and more complicated. And so capturing it is technically more difficult. The whole image consists of a huge range, repertoire and diversity of strokes, moves, gets, spatial and court sense. It includes:
  • long rallies, drives, cross-courts terminated with drops, boasts, trickle boasts, power used as a sting and not a club, [i.e. the 1-2's of Fencing rather than the knockouts of Boxing and the serve/volleys of Tennis]!
    Unlike the delays/distances in the thrust and parries of fencing, in Squash every stroke that is made within a rally requires a direct an immediate response - recovering the ball, i.e. making the 'get'!
  • Of most importance the almost imperceptible but defining 'holds' of the racquet that precede interconversion of all these strokes
  • The Squash ball has as many as 13 surfaces to spin off - the 4 walls, the 3 nicks, the 4 corners, the court floor and the racquet complicating image capture. Compare this with the two surfaces (Racquet and court floor) of most net Racquet Sports.
  •  The players themselves are making strokes in 3D - in front, behind and besides their opponents. They can stand within the field of vision and cover the ball - intentionally or accidentally.
  • Additionally, the Player's ambling (basal) steps from the service box to the T and vice versa often explodes into the drive/sprint to recover the drop, etc…and this range adds another complication to televising the image.
  • They also rotate out of each other’s way with the most balletic of footwork, gymnastics and court sense. Add all this up (and this is nowhere near complete!) and you get a huge density, range and diversity of images that have to be tracked, captured, resolved, recalled, selected and analyzed. Sounds like job for a Supercomputer?

Some of this is even lost to the pros on court, who consequently can be wrong footed. So casual uninformed viewers of squash let alone TV audiences do not have a chance to get the whole picture - contrarily to what they may think and say!

How to solve this?
To catch the image of the whole court from close-ups of the smallest moves and strokes, all the way up to the panoramic views of the court, we have to have the functional equivalent of time lapse photography. Actually the new research and equipment coming out of top Biological, Imaging and Computational labs have produced this in spades (think, Saturn V Rocket Science versus taking the Model T for its tune ups!).

If you want more infos

4. So, we need a specific camera equipment...?

Ferez: Absolutely. It must be capable of, capturing extremely small images (high resolution), that are very sharp and clear (high definition), that are very quickly processed (high speed), at very high number of images captured with a high density of cameras from all angles on the court (high content and panoramic), which are rapidly analyzed and recalled in real time (stored in supercomputers and recalled with specific programs).

This is called imaging, optics, high content analysis and Supercomputation. In addition the 'pencils' , statistics, etc.. for highlighting specific strokes and moves on the court are the ancillary equipment which will improve the communication of televised images.

Why would you want all this imaging and computing capacity? Is it not unnecessary? Short answer – No!

But only the Technical and Scientific (Neuroscientists, Imaging and Computational Experts) will know by how much. Why? Because everybody from Pros, {players, the IOC other Sports figures}, can miss the details of this huge range of strokes, moves, gets, Squash.

It is indispensable to capture the whole picture and all its little dynamics on the Squash Court. It is not the luxury that some Players with incorrect and insufficient information mistakenly think that it is! The exact range of capabilities for televising Squash will of necessity have to be worked out by Professionals in Imaging, Optics, Engineering, Neurosciences, Computation, etc...

If you want more infos

5. Show me the money, Ferez??? How do we pay for all that?

Ferez: The advantage is that they have already been developed with public monies e.g. NIH/NSF (USA), MRC (UK), CNRS/EMBO (France/Europe) and others. All we have to do, which will not be simple, is to convince the right combination of Scientists, e.g. Neuroscientists that Squash is one perfect place to apply their experimental power to address the specific questions in the scientific and public interest.

In fact e.g. the analysis of Squash would fit well into the $10 billion dollar fund that President Obama has committed to 'Mapping the Brain'!

6. What argument can we give them to get involved?

Ferez: Again, because Squash in many instances would help promote their studies better than any experimental system they are using. They would of course need to modify their analytical methods for the Squash Court but this is a far cry from developing them. Squash is one of the perfect vehicles for this enterprise

The game is an excellent research laboratory for the kinds of questions that they are interested in and routinely address! These questions are the Evolutionary acquisition of Motor skills, Sensory and Spatial perceptions, Cognitive and Strategic processes and mental toughness. Their acquisition in the controlled crucible of the court can be established more scientifically.

If you want more infos

7. What do we gain at the end of the day?

Ferez: In my opinion, it will get Squash on network TV as a regular fixture! And so increasing revenue, viewers, players and finally clout! This is one of the most important ways that (eventually…). That should allow Squash to break down resistance from the International Olympic Committee and encourage it to meet the aims of its mission statements. Which is what will get it into the Olympics – eventually!

Although all the other remarkable social and administrative efforts and programs e.g. ‘to push the right buttons’ by the World Squash Federation and its President N. Ramachandran are very important, if the game does not have an audience, revenue and clout from network TV it will continue going the way it has for the last 60 years.

And no one would be more delighted if I turned out to be dead wrong!

If you want to know more about Question 3

Some Numbers From Squash - And More Reasons For Knowing Them!

If you want to know more about Question 4

Capture of images like balls, players, their extremely small movements, Racquet work and Footwork, Moves, from Peter Nicol's emphasis and description of 'holding the stroke' (Daily Squash Report, 4.2.14) all the way up the power scale to the blasted drive.

Developments in modern Biology have produced Optics and Imaging processes, capable not just of resolving (1) the beating wings of hovering Humming Birds but also (2) single cells, and single molecules in living animals, called Tomography, (3) Optogenetics to look at a functioning Neuron or Clusters of Neurons in the Brain of a living animal, and (4) protein molecules changing shape when they execute their functions as caught by laser pulses of 50 - 120 fsec {(1 fsec = 1,000,000,000,000,000 x 10e-1 second and it is the time taken for a single electron to orbit an atom)}!!

Along with the Supercomputers and gaming programs that are already available in Computer Banks like those of Google and in the Cloud, this Imaging technology would easily raise the communication of Squash to the necessary and indispensable levels needed for it to be broadcast on network TV. Having Glass Show Courts without having the technical capacity to resolve and show (communicate) the whole image of the court, only perpetuates the problem.

This communication will require multiple (1000?) cameras saturating the field of view of the court, with each image that they capture being fed into and stored in a Supercomputer. How is this going to help? By storing Images in supercomputers, recalling and analyzing them with appropriate software, all this is facilitated in real time (at warp speed?). Furthermore by Supercomputing there is an automatic selection of the best image from the court that is display on the TV screen, with the additional option of manual override and choice of image for emphasis and communication of specific tactics, moves, muscles, balls in making a point. It will free up the Joey Barrington’s of Squash to analyze, comment on and replay images, illustrate them on TV screens with ‘Magic Marker’ type tracer pencils (like McEnroe and Madden do)! Now we have the equipment to have the subtlest most nuanced moves and strokes dawning on the non-Squash playing audience!).

For these and other selected references, click here or these links or copy and paste their URLs into your browser:
(1) How Brains see. Nature. YouTube. 8/16/2013
(2) Some Numbers From Squash - And More Reasons For Knowing Them! Ferez S. Nallaseth, Ph.D.,1.5.2013.pdf Ferez'nSquashDocs.
(3) Reflecting on Mirror Neurons, Mo Costandi,
(4) Switching Between Habitual And Goal Directed Actions - a '2 in 1' System In Our Brain, Champlinaud
(5) Molecule Produced During Exercise Boosts Brain Health. (6) Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t, ScienceDaily, 11/13/2013, Jay Sanguinetti, University of Arizona, posted on LinkedIn by Lorenzo Pia, Assistant Professor at the Universita degli studi di Torino
(7) Researcher controls colleague's motions in first human brain-to-brain interface, Doree Armstrong and Michelle Ma, 08/27/2013
(8) Your Brain Sees Things You Dont, ScienceDaily, 11/13/2013, Jay Sanguinetti, University of Arizona, posted on LinkedIn by Lorenzo Pia, Assistant Professor at the Universita degli studi di Torino
(9) How Unconscious Thought and Perception Affect Our Every Waking Moment [Preview], Unconscious impulses and desires impel what we think and do in ways Freud never dreamed of, By John A. Bargh, Scientific American (!)
(10) The Science behind the perfect squash kill shot\
(11) Computational Neuroscience: Thinking an object into movement (
(12) Our Brains Have a Map for Numbers - It is as if there is a number line in our heads, Emilie Reas, Scientific American, 01.14.2014
(13) Cortical activity in the null space: permitting preparation without movement : Nature Neuroscience : Nature Publishing Group The mechanism underpinning the way two brain regions communicates when they need to cooperate, yet avoiding interference with one another when they must work alone, has been discovered. Via. Lorenzo Pia Assistant Professor on LinkedIn. ('Closed Loop? - 'Making a Stroke/Reading-Responding to make the 'Get' on the Court)
(14) Confidence - Making & Breaking It! LI Thread.LI .2.24.2014.pdf
(15) Blind Athletes Provide Clues About the Nature of Our Emotions, By Melanie Tannenbaum, Scientific American, 2.17.2014
(16) Vision Brain Region Responds to Human Forms When Images Converted to Soundscapes, By Lisa Weiner, Apply sci, 3.9.2014
(17) Racquet Masters Tournament (World Racquet Championships) - Squash Develops the most complete Racquet Athlete - Sharif Khan Winner (in 3 of 4 years) over Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Guillermo Vilas, Marty Hogan, Danny Seemiller and Fleming Delfs among others
(18) Exercise Physiologists, Physicians, Coaches and Players conclude that of 10 sports tested Squash has the best balance between injury and health returns - Forbes Magazine Article, 2003
(19).....and again 10 years later, communicated by Nathan Engle in the, (2/13/2013)
(20) Decoding protein structure one femtosecond at a time, Jeffrey M. Perkel, Ph.D. ttp://
(22) Applying new imaging techniques to your research htttp://
(23) Deciphering the cell: Applying Super Resolution Imaging and High Content Analysis To Reveal Cellular Processes,
(24) Leica: Webinar: New Dimensions In Super-Resolution Microscopy
(25) Perkin Elmer Webinars Archive> In vivo Imaging Agents In Oncology And Inflammation, 9.26.2012, Register & Playback htttp://
(26) Cell Press Webinars Archive> Imaging In Embryogenesis, 12/09/2013,

Are Scientists missing a rich resource in the 'Closed Loops of Clutch Games' and do such things exist?
[Appendix to Ans 6].
For example the Squash Court is a Darwinian crucible for understanding and recreating the controlled Evolutionary acquisition of fundamental Cognitive, Motor Skills, Spatial and Sensory perceptions, etc...under even less than a fraction of a second (0.14 second), at the interface of the Subconscious and the Conscious and up to the limits of Neurophysiological and Neuromuscular extremes!
Neuroscientists are addressing these questions with tools that can be far less effective and representative experimentally than Squash. For example the fairly static facial responses elicited by a collage of pictures representing various emotions coupled with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRIs). Contrast this with the highly dynamic reading of the making (postures, racquet angles, footwork, spacing, etc...) of a Stroke by a Stroke maker all over the court, and even with the receiver BEHIND him/her when coupled with fMRI on a court.
What is the flip side of this experimental power? In Neuropathological conditions such as, Strokes and Neurodegenerative diseases e.g. Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s diseases these very Cognitive and Motor Skills, Sensory and Spatial Perceptions degenerate and are destroyed. Understanding their development on the Squash Court could yield therapies.

Additionally there are many Nurture/Nature questions that deeply interest Neuroscientists! These are the thoughts in the Resting Brain (seeing things that you are unaware of, images corresponding to soundscapes, stimulation of the will to persevere) and the Active Brain (the courage that comes from anxiety, the Subconscious ability of one person's Brain to read another's Brain and Facial expressions) which can all be compromised in Neurodegeneration! All of these questions could be could be analyzed from the completely unique perspective of the Squash Court. Because Squash often would help promote their studies better than any experimental system they are currently using they would modify their analytical methods for the Squash Court. In limited ways this is already being done e.g. the doctoral student and his advisor in France who are studying the Physical Properties and Dynamics of a Squash Ball catching the nick (see Ferez'nSquashDocs website - Page 5 of Professor Dhanjoo Ghista, Ph.D.).

If you want to know more about questions 5 & 6

Finally the unconscious mind, memory, defines nurture/nature dimensions of being human (nebulous, amorphous and contradictory traits such as persistence, ruthlessness, focus, precision versus adaptability, flexibility, improvisation, character, warmth) are of interest to neuroscientists and are all a basic part of Squash!

For all these points in the Appendix to FSN’s Ans 6 see the Appendix to FSN’s Ans 3 - Selected reference numbers 2 to 16 as well as:
Are Scientists missing a rich resource in the 'Closed Loops of Clutch Games' and do such things exist?