Ten Reasons Why Eton Fives is Great For Schools / by John Patrick Reynolds

1 - Fives is very good exercise - both sides of the body are being used as players crouch, jump and lunge.

2 - The game’s volleying, parrying and driving develop the kind of ball skills and hand/eye coordination that children need for other games – it has been described as a "gateway sport". 

3 - Thanks to the premium placed on skill, touch and tactics, Eton fives is a game that appeals to those who don’t enjoy the blunt physicality of other sports, as well as accomplished sports players (keen players have included England cricket captains PBH May and Mike Brearley). Also for these reasons, some continue to play into their seventies. It's a game for life.

4 - You need very little equipment to play - all you need is a pair of gloves and a ball, both of which are inexpensive, which means students can play impromptu games throughout the day.

5 - It can be played by both sexes and is perfect for mixed doubles.

6 - Fives helps to develop civility, negotiating skills and an awareness of others - as a direct result of there being no referee, even at the highest level.

7 - Eton fives is great fun - bashing a ball around a court is something that children do naturally and the ledges and buttress of an Eton fives court give it the unpredictability of pinball. You can hear a lot of laughter on an Eton fives court.

8 - The footprint of an Eton fives court is tiny compared with the space needed by other sports – you could easily fit a dozen fives courts on a tennis court, for instance – so the game is perfect if space is at a premium.

9 - Fives courts represent very good value for money, especially so when compared with other sports and especially when considered over 10 years, say, as they need practically no maintenance. 

10 - It is one of Britain’s great traditional games, played in its current form since 1840, and recommended by commentators from the 19th century essayist William Hazlitt to contemporary Times journalist Giles Coren.