8 rules of squash
Squash is a racquet sport that has become increasingly popular lately, so if you’re thinking of playing it, we’ve prepared a short explanation of its basic rules and requirements. Understanding how the game works will make sound simpler than you thought and give you the confidence you need.
The game is played on a rectangular court with four walls. Three of the walls are plastered while the one in the back is a glass wall. You’ll notice the wall in front has three horizontal lines.
The upper line, closer to the ceiling, is the ‘out line’ and it is the limit for playing the ball. The out line is also present on the side walls.
The second line is 70 inches above the court surface, and it represents the service line. Squash players must serve the ball above that line during the play.
The third line defines the area beneath the service line that is out of play. It’s called the ‘tin’ as it’s made of metal and it makes a loud sound when the ball hits it.
The rest of the markings are on the floor, defining the two serving boxes and the two sides of the court.
Although it looks like playing tennis with a wall, racquets and balls are different from those used in tennis. Both the racquet and the ball are about half the size and weight.
Choosing the right ball for squash is really important. The ball has a dot indicating the degree of bounce and the speed it reaches. Competition balls are marked double yellow for extra super slow. Yellow means super slow, green or white are used for slow balls, red is medium and blue is fast. Beginners use bouncier, faster balls, investing less effort and resulting in a longer play with fewer abilities.
Bouncing balls can be pretty dangerous, so you need goggles. You also have to pick the right shoes. Squash is a high impact sport that’s why shock absorbing soles and ankle protection are necessary.
Before starting the match, regulation specifies a 5 minutes warm-up. It’s not only good for the players, but it’s also necessary for warming up the squash balls. Otherwise, they may lack bounce.
Each of the players should have a 2 and a half minutes warming time in each of the courts. In other words, they must switch courts.
Service in squash
To begin the match players spin the racket or toss a coin to determine who starts the first rally. The server will continue to serve until the opponent wins a point. That’s when the opponent becomes the server.
Squash players can start their service from either one of the service boxes when the game or rally starts. The server has to alternate service boxes after each point scored.
To serve correctly, the player has to keep one foot in the service box and direct the ball to the front wall, between the service and ‘out’ line. The first bounce must land in the back quarter opposite to the server’s box. The rest of the rally must be played with balls sent to the same area (above the tin and below the out line).
Squash game play
The play is quite simple, and it consists of alternate strokes of the players. It goes on until one of the players is unable to return the serve, or the ball is out of play. The play is expected to be continuous, so there shouldn’t be a delay between the end of a rally and the beginning of another. The intervals between the games last for 90 seconds.
To have the ball in play, they shouldn’t let it bounce more than once on the court surface or hit the walls above the service line.
Other than that, the ball can hit as many walls as the player wants. As the ball can bounce in all directions in a quick succession, it’s important to note that the players must keep out of the way of their opponent, avoid interference and allow him to see the ball.
Scoring in squash
Squash matches can be played as ‘the best out of 3’ or ‘the best out of 5’. The games are played up to 11 points, and if the score reaches 10-10, a 2 points difference is required. In
Faults are important for the scoring system because a fault in service means one point for the opponent. So if the server doesn’t keep a foot in the service box or the ball is out, their opponent wins the stroke.
Like in most racket sports, the failure to return service gives the opponent another point. If the ball touches one player or his clothes on the way to the front wall, the opponent wins a stroke.
In a squash game, some of the strokes are undetermined or undecided, and these are ‘lets.’ In such cases, the service or rally doesn’t count, and the serve has to be repeated from the same service box.
It’s considered that safety is in the interest of the game, so in case you risk hitting your opponent with the racquet or the ball, it’s better to avoid the situation and ask for a let.
Let, no let and stroke are difficult to understand without experience in the game and coming across various situations that can lead to a call change.
It’s important to stay out of the way when the other player has to hit the ball, or you find yourself on the ball’s trajectory.
Still, interferences will occur, and they result in either a ‘let’ or a ‘stroke.’ If you feel that it is about to happen, you should say ‘Let please.’
When an interference occurs at more than one meter from the ball and the other player is in a position from which they could have played the ball, it is a let. If the ball couldn’t have been played, there’s no replay (no let).
When an interference is close to the ball, and it obstructs the hit, it’s a stroke for the obstructed player. Otherwise, it’s a let.