Eton Fives: The Perfect Urban Sport / by John Patrick Reynolds

Fives is the perfect urban sport, as it takes up very little space and is very cheap to play. 

A fives court takes up roughly half the space a squash court would - 35 square metres, as opposed to 62 square metres.

A bank of six courts takes less space than a single tennis court.

Six courts can keep 24 pupils busy (six x four) which will often represent a whole class. 

Courts can often be built in areas which would not accommodate any other playing space - as they can be built in a narrow strip too small for football, tennis, basketball or netball. 

And fives costs practically nothing to play. 

The only equipment children need is gloves, which sell for about £25 and will last many months of constant use. 

The courts do not actually diminish playground space, as they are open-backed and can even be used for shelter during rain showers or as a clean space which is out of the wind and the rain for certain kinds of exercise.

Fives is also good for keeping kids busy at break time, as just two can play a casual form of the game and it takes no time to pull gloves on or off.

And because it’s a sport that students will want to play in their own time, fives can help schools meet government targets of getting students to spend five hours in physical activity a week, three of which can be extracurricular.