Rules

The simplest description of the rules is: in turn, play the ball to the front wall before it bounces on the floor twice. If the ball bounces twice or the ball is out of court, the point is over and someone scored. Continue scoring points until someone has reached 11 points, with 2 points difference to the amount his opponent has. Then, the person with 11 points wins a ‘game’. Have you won the agreed amount of games (for instance 2 games to win or 3 games to win), ou win the match.

Naturally, there are a few extra rules. First, an overview of the squashcourt:

Squash-Court-layout

Serving

You start every point with a service. To hit a correct service, you must do the following:

  1. If this is your first time serving (the previous service was hit by your opponent), choose to serve from the right side or left side. If this is a consecutive serve (you hit the previous serve), move to the opposite side to serve.
  2. Place one foot in the appropriate service box.
  3. Hit the ball towards the front wall in such a fashion that it hits the front wall above the service line and beneath the out line, so basically, the large 2/3rd upper portion of the front wall.
  4. After the ball has hit the front wall, the ball has to bounce behind the short line and on the appropriate side of the half court line: when serving from the right, it has to bounce behind the short line and left of the half court line. When serving from the left, it has to bounce behind the short line and right of the half court line.

Have you done this? Then you have hit a correct serve. Forget all the lines on the floor and the service line. Continu, in turn, to hit the front wall, Always above the tin and still always below the out line.

Playing a point

The point ends when the player whose turn it is to strike the ball doesn’t manage to strike it before the ball has hit the floor twice, or when the person who has just struck the ball, has struck it in such a fashion that the ball is out.

When is the ball actually out?

  1. When the ball hits the front wall on or above the out line.
  2. When the ball hits the front wall on or below the tin
  3. When the left or right side wall is hit, on or above the out line.
  4. When the back wall is hit on or above the out line.
  5. When the ceiling is hit
  6. When on an open court, the ball flies completely out of court.

So, a ball striking the line is considerd out? Yes, when the ball hits a line relevant to play (for instance the service line when hitting the serve or the out line in any case), the ball is considered out.

Point scoring

Okay, so the point has ended, now what? To begin with, someone has scored a point. Did the ball bounce twice on the floor before the current striker managed to hit it towards the front wall? Then the previous striker scores a point. Did the previous striker hit the ball out, then the current striker scores a point.

Now, there are two options. The person who served won the point, or the person receiving the serve won the point. If the person who served won the point, he/she gets to serve again. He must now serve from the other side of the court. So, if he/she served from the right and scored the point, he/she must now server from the left of the court.

Did the person receiving the serve score the point? Then he/she gets to start serving and for his/her first service can choose to serve from the right or left.

The point scoring is quite simple: regardless if you were serving or receiving, if you score a point, add one to your total tally. So, scoring would be, for consequtive points, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 etc. You win a ‘game’ (which is similar to a ‘set’ in tennis) if you are first to score 11 points, with 2 points difference to your opponents amount of points. So 11-9 would win you a game, 11-10 would mean you have to continue to 12-10 or possibly 13-11 and beyond. At the start of a match, you agree upon how many games are required to win a match. Most common is 3 games to win (best of 5) or 2 games to win (best of 3).

Hitting your opponent

Help, I just hit my opponent with the ball, now what?

Of course, it is possible you accidentally hit your oppontent. You can even have done it on purpose but this is not very sportsman like and very painful (and dangerous! for your opponent), so at least apologise!

The following rules of thumb apply:

  • Did you hit your opponent directly and would the ball have reached the front wall (without going out), then the point is awarded to you (‘stroke’). This might sound cruel, but you get the point and your opponent the pain. However, in an official match, repeat occurence of this will get you disqualified!
  • Did you hit your opponent indirectly (the ball first struck the rear or side wall) and would the ball have reached the front wall (without going out), the you replay the point (let’).
  • Did you hit your opponent but the ball wouldn’t have reached the front wall, or would have gone out, then the point is for your opponent. So, hitting your opponent with the ball on his heels will most likely serve you no purpose.

Interference

So how does interference work in general?

In general, the current striker should have the freedom to:

  • have a clear view from the ball coming off the front wall
  • have a free path towards the ball
  • have a unopposed swing at the ball, providing it is a reasonable swing
  • have a free trajectory towards the entire fron wall when hitting the ball

Is the current striker limited in one of these freedoms, then this is considered interference. Depending on the situation, the player who suffered interference can be awarded the point (‘stroke’), the point can be replayed (‘let’) or his appeal can be denied (‘no let’). Amongst others, determining factors are whether or not there is actual interference, if the player causing the interference made every effort to avoid causing it and if the current striker was at all able to strike the ball. There is always room for interpretation, but the following scheme gives a good indication:

Did interference occur

No→

No let

Yes↓

Was the interference minimal?

Yes→

No let

No↓

Could the obstructed player have got to the ball and made a good return and was that player making every effort to do so?

No→

No let

Yes↓

Did the obstructed player move past the point of interference and play on?

Yes→

No let

No↓

Did the obstructed player create the interference in moving to the ball?

Yes→

No let

No↓

Did the opponent make every effort to avoid interference?

No→

Stroke

yes↓

Did the interference prevent the player’s resonable swing?

Yes→

Stroke

No↓

Could the obstructed player have made a winning return?

Yes→

Stroke

No↓

Would the obstructed player have struck the opponent with the ball going directly to the front wall or if going to a side wall would it have been a winning return?

Yes→

Stroke

No→

Let

Frequently asked questions

Is a ball on the line in or out?
A ball on the tin or out line is always out. A ball on the service line, half court line or short line is only out when the serve is involved.

Can I hit the ball before the first bounce on the floor?
Yes, you can hit the ball before the first bounce on the floor, this is called a volley.

Do I have to hit a overhead serve or a underhand serve?
Either technique is allowed, as long as you follow the general rules for serving.

Is there a second serve in squash?
No, there is no second serve in squash.

If the ball hits the rear wall and then interference occurs, is this always a let?
No, a ball returning from the rear wall resulting in interference can also cause a stroke or a simple no let.

For more frequently asked questions go to : Squash faq

For a full description of the rules go to: Squash rules