Squash Rules.

Rules of Squash: 5 Basic Rules to Getting Started

Squash is a pretty simple game to play. With knowledge of a few rules, you are good to go. But if you are totally new to this sport, getting started with a summary of the rules of the game is a nice way to get started quickly. As you advance, you will get to learn many other rules.  Listing the entire set of rules and their details will more time and space. So this is just a simple summary on the rules and scoring – just enough to get you started!

If planning to take part in a tournament or a league, you need to read the entire rulebook.


The rules of scoring are very simple. Basically, a match is in the “best of five” game format, which means for you to emerge the winner of any match, you are required to win at least three games. Every game has a total of 11 points. The first player that hits the 11 points mark is declared the winner. If a game has a 10-10 tie, then winning point goes up by two. The first player to outdo the opponent by 2 points is declared the winner of the game.

Squash is a Point a Rally (PAR) game, meaning that you score a point whenever you win a rally. Initially, games used to be won at 9 points where a player could win a point only when they serve (like in volleyball where points are only won when a player serves). However, at this century and stage, squash has moved to PAR completely.

Warm up

Just before the match starts, ensure that you warm the ball. Each player stands on opposite sides and hit the ball towards the opponent’s side across the court. You can mix in a couple of drop shots as well as railing on your court’s side. However, do not hog the ball for extended time beyond 2 to 3 shots. After some minutes, you will switch sides with the opponent so you can warm up on the other side.

Official squash rules provide 5 minutes for warm up, an average of 2 ½ minutes for each player. Casual matches can last longer though. Just ensure that you’ve warmed yourself up properly! Once the warm up session is over, spin the racket so as to decide the player that makes the first serve. One player will spin their racket and the other will predict an up or down. The logo found on the grip’s butt is used to determine if the racket lands on an up or down side.

The Serve

Before a point is scored, serving must start and players alternate the ball hitting process until the point is scored. When serving the ball, you should choose any serving box from where you can serve. You should also give your opponent time to get positioned properly, closer to back wall.

To start serving, toss the ball a little then hit it across the court to opponent’s side. The serve is considered valid only when:

  • Only one foot is the serve box when serving.
  • The ball crosses to the other side without touching service line.
  • The ball lands in your opponent’s back quarter side of the court, unless the opponent was the first to hit the ball.
  • You hit back wall first.
  • You keep the ball not past the boundary lines.

You have only one attempt to serve the ball. If you fail to meet the above rules, then your opponent scores a point. When just getting started, it’s good to feel relaxed and not mind much about some of these rules so the learning process can be a little more interesting.

Winning a point

Once the ball has been served, players keep alternating the shots until a point is won. Any player can win a point – it’s not a must that you were the one who served. If the opponent wins a rally, they win a point. Then they get to serve and can choose any of the serving boxes to serve from.


If it is your shot, but get blocked from reaching the ball by the opponent, you can decide to play through such an interference or alternatively stop play when you call out “let”. Three possible outcomes can arise:

  • If you didn’t have any chance of retrieving the ball, you lose a point. And this is referred to as “no let”.
  • If indeed you had a clear chance of retrieving the ball, then you are allowed to play over the point. This is referred to as “let”.
  • If you were prepared to hit the ball, but the opponent blocked the front wall, you score the point. This is referred to as “stroke”.

In a tournament or league match, the referee will determine if it’s a let, no let or stroke.  For casual matches, the players simply have to reach an agreement on the call.

With this brief on squash rules, you can get started right away and advance later as you learn more about the sport.

December 30, 2016