Squash sport is quite a unique and aesthetic experience!
Here following is the detailed Players Guide on Squash rules that include equipment, court dimension, match duration, playing format, Scoring system, hindrances, fouls, Penalties, Strategies etc.
The following extensive guide is quite handy for beginners to advanced level squash sport playing.
Squash Rules | Scoring System, Serving, Returning & Hindrance Rules, Faults, Squash Shots, Strategies | How to Players Guide 2021
Squash is a light racket and pneumatic ball sport like racquetball. It is played on an enclosed court surrounded by 4 walls and a ceiling. The measurement of its court is 32 feet long, 21 feet wide and 18.6 inches high for singles.
While the doubles court is of the same size except width that is 25 feet. In Squash, the purpose of players is to hit the ball to the front wall with the help of the racket.
Squash is a globally famous game with enormous fan following and engaged players. Almost 180 countries have adapted this game. It is equally popular among professionals and amateur players.
As for as the origin of Squash is talked of, this game, as per some prevailing historical records, emerged from England,with its first court that was constructed in 1865.
This game underwent different variations and also adapted various rules of different racket games throughout its evolution, and has finally achieved this modern status.
There is no denying the fact that this game holds a significant position among other games of our beautiful planet, but it has not been able to make a place in Olympic games. However, it is likely that this game will be the part of 2024 Olympics.
The game of Squash has its own governing body WSF: World Squash Federation (1992), formerly known as International Squash Rackets Federation (1967). The major competitive events of Squash are Squash World Championship and British Open.
Object of the Game
The prime object of the game is to reach 11 points and win at least 3 out of 5 sets of the match. To meet this objective, players hit the ball to the front wall with the help of stringed rackets, until one of the players fails to properly return the ball.Whenever a player fails to return the ball in a legal manner, his opponent gets a point.
Equipment of Sport
Squash requires an approximately 26 inches long, 22 mm wide and 500 sq.cm headed stringed racket, that is not as big as that of tennis and a pneumatic rubber ball with less bounce as compared to racquetball ball or tennis ball. Its ball has 2.5 inches diameter and approximately 24 grams weight.
According to the level of players, Squash balls have variety of different speeds. Some balls are slow, some are super slow and some are too fast.
These balls contains some colored marks that determine their speed and bounce. However, a ball with low bounce and less speed is recommended for professional players.
Rules of Squash; How to Play Squash Sport?
Squash game has certain rules to follow. Its rules make this game different from other racket sports such as; tennis and racquetball. Squash has different manner of playing, scoring, court dimension, fouls and serving rules.
However, Squash and other racket sports have some similarities such as; the court of Squash and Racquetball are similar in shape, rackets of Tennis, Squash and Racquetball have similarities, the ball is different in size, bounce and weight but made from rubber, and the format of the game is singles and doubles.
1. Court Dimension
The court of Squash measures 32 feet in length, 21 feet for singles and 25 feet for doubles in width and 18.6 feet in height. Its court is portioned by different lines that lie on the surface and walls of the court.
To begin with the surface lines, there are two service boxes, one T-shaped line that runs between the service boxes and one line lies to the front wall side, adjacent to both the service boxes and that runs, in terms of width of the court, from one corner of the court to the other corner.
One the other hand, there are different lines on the walls. Three lines on the front wall and only one line on rest of the walls.
To start with the front wall, there is a bottom line that lies just above the surface and guards an area that is known as “The Tin”.
Secondly, there is the “Serve Line” that lies between the top and bottom lines. The service area starts from this line and ends at the out line.
Thirdly, there is the top line that is known as “Out Line”. This outermost line is the boundary of the court and that is also marked on rest of the walls. Other three walls only have out lines.
The ball must remain within the bounds of these out lines, otherwise it will be out of the play.
2. Formats of Playing
It is similar to other racket sports in terms of its format. You can play it singles and doubles. For singles, one player plays against one player.
While in doubles, a team of two players competes another team of two players.
3. Game Duration
There is no specific time period for all the levels of Squash. The duration of Squash matches ranges from as short as 20 minutes for beginners, 40 minutes for the players who play at club level and is can last as long as 90 minutes for the professional players, who represent their countries and compete at international level.
A complete Squash match comprises 5 sets. To win a set, one has to score 11 points before his opponent. Whereas, to win a match one has to win at least 3 sets out of 5.
In case, a player or team wins all the first three sets, the match ends there and thus it reduces its duration.
4. Starting The Match
The game gets started with either the flip of the coin or the spinning of the racket to determine the first server. The winner of the toss may choose to serve the ball or receive it.
He also need to choose one of the two service boxes available on the surface of the court.
5. How to Play the Game? Scoring in Squash
Let’s learn the basics of the game.
Step 1: First of all players have to go for the toss to decide that who serves first.
Step 2:After the toss, the winner has to choose either to serve or to receive it.
Step 3:Now both the players enter the court and take their respective positions.
Step 4: The server has to stand in the service box. It is necessary for him to put at least one foot in the service box. He can put his other foot out of the service box towards the T-shaped center line. The position of he receiver is exactly the same as that of the server.
Step 5: Now the server has to hit the ball to the front wall aiming at the service line area. The ball must not touch the “The Tin” or go out of the “Out Line” that lies at the top of the front wall.
The server has to hit the ball so that the ball, after colliding with the front wall, lands on the opposite side of the court, precisely in the opponent’s service box or beyond it towards the back wall.
Step 6: The receiver has to respond the shot of the server as soon as the ball comes to his area. The receiver has to either volley the ball or he can let the ball bounce only once. In case the receiver fails to reply the shot of the server appropriately, he loses a point.
Step 7: As soon as the serve ends, all the four walls become part of the playing area. However, the “Out Lines” and “the Tin” will remain danger zones throughout the game.
Step 8: The players keep on playing the shots until one of them loses a rally. A rally is lost in a number of ways such as;
a. When a player misses to respond his opponents shot.
b. When he mistakenly hits the ball out of the playing areas; the tin or out lines.
c. When he lets the ball bounce more than once on the surface.
d. When he deliberately obstructs the way of his opponent, who is to hit the ball to the front wall.
Step 9: Each time a player loses rally, his opponent gets a point.
Step 10: The game goes on until one of the players reaches 11 points before his opponent. In case both the players have scored 10-10, the player who scores 2 more points, wins the set.
Step 11: This game has best of 5 sets. The player, who wins at least 3 sets out of 5 sets, is the winner.
6. Scoring System in Squash
There are basically two scoring methods in Squash. Firstly, there is a traditional “Hand out scoring system” orthe English scoring system. Secondly, there is a modern“Par scoring system”.
A). Hand out Scoring System
This system of scoring is though old but still in use. Here a set has 9 maximum points and a game is played either best of 3 or 5 games.
In case both the players or teams have scored 8-8, they can decide the winning target to either 9 points or 10 points.There is no concept of winning with 2 clear points.
In this system, only the server can score a point while the receiver cannot. In case the receiver wins a rally, he can only avail the chance to serve but not get a point.
B. Par Scoring System: (Point a Rally or PAR)
This system of scoring is modern and quick one. Here a set has maximum 11 points and the game is played to the best of 5 sets.
If both the players or teams have scored 10-10 points, the winner has to score 2 more points to win. Thus, the score can go like:12-10, 13-11, 15-13 etc.
In this system, any player can score points. No matter whether you are the server or the receiver. You only need to win a rally and it will earn you a point.
7. Serving Rules
To serve the ball, the server needs to observe following rules:
- He has to choose either of the two service boxes, and stand in a way that his one foot must be inside the service box and other outside of it.
- He has to aim at the front wall’s service line area.
- His ball must not hit “The Tin” or go out of the “Out Line”.
- The ball, after it strikes the designated area of the front wall, must land in the opposite quarter.
- If the server is standing in the right service box, the ball, after being hit, land in the back of the left quarter and vice versa.
- The serve is legal when it observes all the above mentioned rules.
- Unlike tennis, the server has only one serve. Thus, he has to play in with utter care.
8. Returning Rules
To return the ball, the receiver has to keep following rules in mind:
- He has to stand in his service box as the server.
- He has to hit the ball back to the wall as soon as possible.
- He can hit a volley or wait for the ball to bounce once on the surface.
- He should not let the ball bounce more than once.
- He has to hit the ball back to the wall keeping in mind the “Tin” and “Out Lines”.
- After the serve, he as well as the server can use entre court except “Out Lines” and “Tin”.
9. Obstructions or Hindrance Rules
In Squash game, players are bound to obstruct each other’s ways while attempting to hit the ball back to the wall.
Players may hinder the ways of opponents, who might otherwise have scored a clear point, had their opponent not obstructed them.
Therefore, for maintaining the fair play and avoiding any injustice to the players, following rules have been implemented.
A). Rules for a let ball
- A let ball is called by the referee when there is minimal obstruction in your way by your opponent.
- Your opponent does not clearly stop you from scoring a clear point.
- When you opponent is not in ready position to reply your shot.
- When the referee is unable to declare a ball either out of not.
- The player simply replies the let ball.
B). Rules for no let ball
- A no let is called when the referee deems there was no interference and you could have safely played the ball.
- When a let call is over rolled, it becomes a no let.
- A no let does not effect the proceedings of the match.
- A no let neither earns a point, nor a point replay.
C). Rules for Strokes
- A stroke is declared by the referee when there is a clear opportunity for you to score a point but your opponent obstructs your way completely.
- When you do not have any space to hit the ball to the front wall and beat your opponent since your opponent is hindering your way.
- When you have no way that you could have safely played the ball, as your opponent has not cleared your way properly.
- A stroke earns a point to the player whose shot is hindered by the opponent.
10. Fouls and Penalties in Squash
Players have to keep following things in mind while playing Squash. If any player goes against these rules, he will have to cost points.
Let’s find out some common fouls and consequent penalties.
- The server has to follow the above mentioned serving rules properly. If he violates any of he rules, he will be penalized.
- If the server makes foot fault when playing the serve.Having both the feet outside of the service box during the serve is a foul. The opponent will get a point.
- When the serve goes out of the playing areas or hits the tin.Your opponent will get a point.
- When the serve does not land in the back quarter of your opponent.
- When the serve is not properly executed and it fails to even touch the front wall. The opponent will get a point.
- When the receiver misses to hit the ball back to the server. The server will get a point.
- When the receiver lets the ball bounce more than once on the floor. The server gets a point.
- When the ball crosses the out lines. The opponent gets a point.
- When any player deliberately obstructs the way of his opponent.
11. Various Shots & Strategies in Squash
To play Squash effectively and beat your opponent easily, you might need to command some shots and adapt smart strategies.
Shots in Squash
To begin with shots, there are four basic shots you must learn to play well.
a. Straight drive
The aim of straight drive is to hit the front wall and come straight back down the sideboard towards the back of the court.Straight drives are the most basic and common shot in Squash but they are quite important in keeping your opponent behind you.
b. Drive shot
A drop shot is quite an attacking shot and a great way to finish a point. You can play it to just move your opponent from the back to the front of the court.
c. Boast shot
A boast shot comes into play when you hit the ball into the side wall and an angle, before it hits the front wall.This shot can be quite a defensive shot from the back of the court. This shot can also be an attacking shot when played perfectly.
d. Cross court Shot
This shot is played when you hit the ball towards the middle of the front wall with the aim that it lands on the other side of the court. This shot is needed for every serve to be legal.
Every player has to master this shot because it is the most used shot in Squash. This shot is excellent for moving your opponents around the entire court.
Strategies in Squash
You must apply following tactics to outperform your rivals:
- You have to move in a way that lets you make a drive and eventually force your opponent to miss your shots.
- When moving on court, you have to stay in the center, relative to the side walls, and move to the side only if it is required.
- Keeping in mind, how you make the shot, you must stay away from the side wall otherwise it will make it harder for you to hit the ball.
- To stay in the center and throw the ball in the side is even better if you aim for the corners.
- Always try to hit a shot that makes it difficult for your opponent to respond properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a hand out in squash?
This is scoring system in Squash. When the receiver wins the rally, he only get the chance to serve but a point. In this pattern of the game, only the server can score point. Therefore, to win the serve is worth a point.
2. What is not up in Squash?
This term is used when a player has hit the ball after it has bounced twice or he has hit the ball to he tin.
3. What is considered an out ball?
The ball that goes out of bounds of playing areas is declared and out ball. Those areas are OUT LINES and TIN.
4. Can I hit the ball to ceiling in squash?
No, you cannot hit the ball to the ceiling. You have to play within the lines of the court.
5. Can I let the ball bounce before hitting it?
Yes, you can let the ball bounce but only once. If you let it bounce more than once, it will be treated as a foul.
6. Can I hit a volley in squash?
Yes, you can hit a volley in squash.
7. Can a squash ball hit the back wall?
Yes, it can hit the back wall on the full.
8. Where is the tin area in squash court?
The tin area lies beneath the service line on the front wall. It’s a narrow strip that is considered out of the playing area. The serve must not hit this area, otherwise it will be a foul.
9. Can I block my opponent’s way while playing?
It is not permissible to deliberately block or obstruct the way of your opponent, when he is to hit the ball. If referee found you willfully hindering the way of your opponent, he may award a point to your opponent as result of penalty.
10. What happens if the ball hits a player?
If a player hits the ball to the front wall but the ball, instead of hitting the front wall, collides with his opponent, it is considered a let. He simply replays the shot from the previous position.
11. Can I avail second serve in squash?
No, in squash there is no such provision. You have only one serve and hence you should play in with utter precision.
12. Is it necessary to hit the front wall during the serve?
Yes, you have to aim at the front wall while serving. As soon as the serve is complete, all four walls turn into playing area.
Squash game has evolved from racket games, probably in the 19th century, in England. Now this game has around 20 million active players all around the world.
Though this game has not acquired a place in Olympics by 2020, it has other some other platforms to maintain its glory globally. World Squash Championship and British Open are the two biggest events of this game.
It needs racket, a rubber ball, a racket and a walled court for playing. This game entails energy, stamina and valor to stand against your opponent for a period of about 90 minutes until the game ends.
We hope, this article will suffice your needs to know about Squash game and its exhaustive rules.