What is Squash?
Welcome to the world of squash! You’ll quickly become enthralled by this exciting, challenging, athletic, and fun sport which has attracted more than 25 million fanatical players from every corner of the world. Squash is a game played between two players on an enclosed court with four walls. Each player holds a racquet, which is used to strike a hollow rubber ball against a wall. The players take turns hitting the ball and need to move around each other to retrieve the ball after it strikes the front wall but before it bounces on the floor twice. This continuous sequence of the players taking turns hitting the ball to the front wall is called a “rally.” The player who wins a rally earns a point, and the objective is to earn more points than your opponent.
In order to make a “fair” return during a rally, a player must hit the ball to the front wall on the fly. The ball may strike the side or back walls at any time in the course of a shot, as long as the ball hits the front wall on the fly without touching any area outside the boundary of the court. Squash is a fun and challenging contest of agility, strategy, talent and mental and physical strength. It is an incredibly beneficial game for health and fitness, and has been voted the number one healthiest sport by Forbes Magazine. Along with its health benefits, squash has the ability to be played year-round, in all kinds of weather, by players of any skill level – making it a sport for everyone to love!
How to Play
Squash is a racquet sport played by two players (or four players for doubles) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. Once the ball is served, players take turns hitting the ball against the front wall, above the tin and below the out line. The ball may strike the side or back walls at any time, as long as it hits below the out line and above the tin. The ball may only bounce once on the floor, and players may move anywhere around the court.
A match is the best of 3 or 5 games. Each game is played to 11 points. The player who scores 11 points first wins the game. If the score reaches 10-all, the game continues until one player wins by two points. Either player may score points (PAR – point–a–rally). The server, on winning a rally, scores a point and retains the service; the receiver, on winning a rally, scores a point and becomes the server.
Court Lines The squash court features an out of bounds line, which is the topmost line on the front wall, which also runs along the two side walls. Any ball that strikes the walls on or above these out of bounds lines is considered to be out. The lowest line on the front wall is called the “tin.” The ball cannot hit on or below this line. Therefore, during the course of a point, the ball must remain above the tin, but below the upper out of bounds line at all times. Finally, the line across the middle of the front wall is called the “service line.” All serves need to strike the front wall above this line and below the out of bounds line. On the floor, there is a left box, a right box, and a half court line, which separates the back half of the court into two halves. The two service boxes and half court line come into play during the serve.
To begin a rally, one of the players needs to serve the ball to his or her opponent. When a player is serving, he or she must have part of one foot touching the floor within the service box. No part of that foot should touch the line surrounding the service box. For a service to be good the ball must hit the front wall between the middle line (service line) and the upper line (out line). After striking the front wall, the ball’s first bounce must be within the back quarter on the opposite side of the court (your opponent’s quarter). However, the ball does not need to bounce because your opponent may choose to volley the serve. If, in the course of a serve, the ball touches any part of the court outside of the described areas, the serve is a fault and your opponent wins the point.
Once a successful serve has been delivered, the rally has officially started. The players take turns hitting the ball and need to move around each other to retrieve the ball after it strikes the front wall but before it bounces on the floor twice. In order to make a “fair” return during a rally, a player must hit the ball to the front wall on the fly. The ball may strike the side or back walls at any time in the course of a shot, as long as the ball hits the front wall on the fly without touching any area outside the boundary of the court.
When it is his or her turn to play the ball, a player is entitled to freedom from interference by the opponent. To avoid interference, the opponent must try to provide the player with unobstructed, direct access to the ball, a fair view of the ball, space to complete a swing at the ball and freedom to play the ball directly to any part of the front wall. If a player finds their opponent interfering with the play, they can accept the interference and play on, or stop play. It is preferable to stop play and call out ‘Let’ if there is a possibility of colliding with the opponent, or of hitting him or her with racquet or ball. In this situation, the point is then either replayed as a ‘Let’ if the opponent was making every effort to avoid the interference, or if the interference is substantial and the player could not have played the ball then a ‘Stroke’ is awarded where the player wins the point. The basis for a ‘Let’, ‘Stroke’ or ‘No Let’ can be complicated, particularly for new squash players, and it is highly recommended that the Rules of Squash are read to fully understand the distinction between each.