Squash is an intensive, technical and above all a very exciting sport to play! In most cases you would play with 2 players on the court, however there is a possibility to play doubles which would mean there are 4 players on the court. Because there is a limited space to play in with squash, safety rules are very important. Luckily there aren’t that many of them.
In this part of the website we will give a brief explanation about the game and the rules.
How do you play squash?
Squash is a challenging and variating racketsport which is normally played with 2 players. You play the ball alternately with your opponent with the option to use the side and back walls to reach the front wall. The rally starts with a serve from the servicebox (the yellow square in the picture) to the receiving box of the other half of the court (the green part of the picture). If you lose a point your opponent may serve next, but if you win the point you have to hit your next serve from the other side.
Squash has been selected as one of the most healty sports in the world!
Out of bounds
Not all balls you hit will be in the right place. There is a difference in when the ball is out of bounds between a serve and a regular shot. When serving it is important to hit the ball against the front wall above the middle line (“serveerlijn” in the picture) and below the highest line (“uitlijn”) into the receiving part (“ontvangstvak”).
On the contrary all others shots can ignore the “serveerlijn” and have to be above the tin and below the out of bounds lines (“uitlijn”). The regular shots can be played to anywhere on the court and all the walls may be used.
When the ball is on or touches one of the out of bounds lines it is counted as out of bounds. This can be recognized by a wood or metal sound and the ball often will bounce differently (the lines are made like this so it is easier to recognize).
How do you score points?
You score a point if the ball bounces twice on the floor before the opponent hits it back to the wall. If the opponent hits the ball out of bounds you will also receive a point. A game consists of 11 points however you also need at least a 2 point difference to win, so 12-10, 18-16, 11-7 are all possible scores. Most of the times a full match or a set is best out of 3 or best out of 5.
Did you know you can play doubles with squash with four player in one court!
If due to safety reasons a player can’t take a shot he can call a let or a stroke. A stroke will result in a definite point for the obstructed player. A let means players have to replay the point.
If the player is in front of the front wall and in the way of your shot it is a stroke, the rule of thumb for this is if the opponent is in the triangle from the ball to the 2 frontcorners (see the left picture).
If you have doubts that your opponent is in this triangle or you think you will hit him either way you can call a let and will replay the point. However if in retrospect or if there is a referee to call it there was no sign of hindrance of the opponent then it is no let and the point will go to the opponent.
If your opponent is really close to you when you want to hit the ball, please stop the rally. It might lead to dangerous situations.
If he/she is in your swing (picture to the right) you get a stroke, and you win the rally.
If you are afraid to hit or might hit your opponent, but your opponent gives you enough space to swing, you can call a let.
If there is no hinderance at all, but ask for a stroke or let then you will get a no let.
How to improve your play?
Many players start playing squash as a good and fun exercise, but soon they realise it is much more than just some simple hit and run. Actually much more comes into play when you play a real match which can even last for 2 hours.
The first thing people try when they start playing squash is hitting the ball to the front wall directly. After a while you can notice that your opponent can hit all balls back really easy. What can you do about this?
Use the right tecknique to control the ball
Always try to imagine where your ball will go if you hit it and even before you hit it. In this way it is possible to “predict” the line of your ball perfectly. If you locate your opponent at the right side of the court you want to get the ball to the left side of the court, to make it your opponent as hard as possible. The same goes for the front and back of the court. If you see your opponent in the front of the court, you can be clever and try to hit it all the way to the back, so your opponent has to run like a maniac to get the ball in time.
Hitting the ball is all very well, but before the ball does what is in your mind you have to pay attention to your technique. The technique is of a tremendous importance if you want to hit all balls as intended. First things first: your stance. It is important to have your left leg in front on the right side of the court (if you are right handed) and the other way around on the other side of the court when you hit your backhand. In this case you have more free space to swing your racket at the ball. Furthermore, your racket has to be open at all times, so it is easier to hit the ball without using much strength at all.
Tactics are a major part of squash. If you can outsmart your opponent, you don’t even have to be the strongest or fastest squash player. One tip is to always return to the T after you have hit the ball. Next to this always keep your eyes on the ball, in this manner you can predict where the ball might go after your opponent hits it. This can give you a significant advantage during matches.
A big mistake some squashers make is to play solely with their strength. Sure it is easy and intimidating, but in the end your opponent knows all your tricks. Instead try to have variation in your play. For instance alternate between short drops (1) and long drives. Start playing boasts(2) and maybe some lobs as well. This might help to make it your opponent more difficult during the match.
Try to always be one step ahead of your opponent. This might help you to win the match. If you want to practice come to Olympos every Thursday evening of the week from 20:00 and we can help you to improve your skills.
Like to read more?
Click here to read more about the rules of squash
In this video the #3 of the world Nick Matthew briefly explains the rules: