Looking to play Squash, but not sure where to start? We break it down to five basic rules so you can get right to playing!

Squash’s Basic Rules

It’s an exciting day for you. A good friend has invited you to play squash with him at his club. You two have always been competitive at work, in life, and especially in sports. You beat him in tennis but he restores your humility on the racquetball court. You are dead even at pickleball. So squash is going to be the tiebreaker and post match drinks are on the line.

The problem is, even though he’s going to spot you some points, you’ve never stepped on a squash court. You don’t know the rules. What is the tin? What do you mean I can’t use the entire wall? Thanks to your friends at TennisRacquets.com we’ve got your back. Here are the most important rules for you to know.


#1 - Scoring

There are two different scoring systems used in squash. Most players play to 11 with a point being won by whoever wins the rally. If tied at 10 all, it usually is win by two. Some places use a 9 point system where you only win a point on your serve. You win the serve by winning a rally. At 8 all in this format, the receiver decides if the game ends at 9 points or 10. With either method, a match is won by winning best out of five games.

#2 - Serving

The server has the option of beginning from either service box where they must have at least one foot in. If they win the rally they alternate service boxes until losing. The next server can also choose where to start.

The server has only one chance to hit the front wall between the service line and the out line. The ball must then land in the receiver’s half of the court (opposite the service box used by the server) but is allowed to hit back or side walls before landing in the receiver’s box. At no time is the ball allowed to hit the out or service lines.

#3 - Returning

A return is in play if the player hits it after no more than one bounce which means it can be hit out of the air before it bounces. If the receiver hits the ball on the second bounce or later, the server wins the point. The shot must then hit the front wall above the tin and below the out line. It is allowed to hit the side walls before hitting the front wall but it must not touch the court in between the side wall and the front wall.

#4 - Obstructions

Since the court limits space available to players, either a player’s ability to hit the ball or the path of the ball will be obstructed by the other player at some point. The hitter has the obligation to get out of the way of the receiver’s line to the ball and the receiver’s shot.

Almost every match will have obstructions called. But unlike hinders in racquetball, there are two different results of obstructions. A let ball is called and the point replayed if the hitter does everything possible to avoid the other player and to stay out of the way of their shot. The let must be called as soon as it occurs and play stopped. A let is also called if it is unclear whether a shot is in or out.

If, however, the hitter is within the arc of the swing of the receiver and does not get out of the way and the receiver is likely to have won the point, a stroke ball is called and the receiver is awarded a point. The receiver must stop play before hitting the other player with either her racquet or the ball. However, if the receiver hits the other player with his racquet or ball the stroke ball is called and the other player is awarded the point.

#5 - Doubles

Technically, doubles should be played on a regulation squash doubles court which is four feet wider than a singles court. As a practical matter, many doubles matches are played on singles courts. Most doubles games are to 15 with the winner of each rally winning the point. A match can be either best of three or five games decided in advance.

The server continues to serve until they lose a rally. Then their partner serves until they lose. They always alternate service boxes. The exception is the team serving first. They can only lose one rally before turning the serve over to the other team. This happens only at the beginning of the game.

Anytime a player hits their partner with the ball, they lose the rally. In doubles, if a player hits a member of the other team with the ball, it is a let ball, not a stroke ball.

Fortunately, you have friends in the squash business. It’s TennisRacquets.com. Whether you are shopping for a new racquet or accessories or shoes, we are here to help you have fun and play your best. Call us with any questions about squash or any other racquet sport you are playing.


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