Understanding the Rules of Squash

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated November 22, 2011

Understanding the rules of squash will require understanding the markings on the court as well as the rules of play. Squash can be played as an individual sport or with two players. The game is fast paced and fun to watch as there is no delay between each rally.

The Court

A squash court is very interesting because the ball can legally bounce off any wall or the floor. The back wall usually has the entrance onto the court and the front wall is directly opposite. The front wall is divided into three horizontal sections. The lowest section on the front wall is the smallest and is called the tin. There is a horizontal line dividing the upper portion into two unequal halves. This line is called the cut line. The side walls only have one line towards the top to indicate out of bounds.

The floor of the court has multiple lines. There are two rectangles toward the back of the court that are called service boxes. This is where individuals stand to serve the ball. There is also a short line drawn horizontally across the court at the front of the service boxes. Finally, a line from the back wall to the short line divides the court into two halves and is called the half court line. Understanding these terms is vital to understanding how the game is played and scored.

Rules of the Game

A match consists of several games played to a score of 11 points. A point is earned at the end of a rally or exchange of shots. A rally ends if the ball bounces twice on the floor, hits the tin, hits the out of bounds area on the side walls or if there is some kind of interference with the stroke.

Play begins with one player choosing a service box and serving the ball. The ball is hit by the other player before it bounces twice on the floor. Play continues until the rally ends as previously described or if a player refuses to hit the ball because there is a danger of injuring the other player. In this case, the referee may call what is known as a let. This is a rally that is not scored and replayed for the point.

The individual who earns the point for a rally serves the next rally. If a player earns consecutive points they must switch from one service box to another at each consecutive point earned. Play continues until one player reaches a score of 11, but if both players reach 10, the game continues until a player has a 2-point lead.

Squash is an extremely active game played in a confined space with a hard ball that moves very fast. Each player is entitled to be able to swing their racket without fear of interference and the other player should do their best to stand out of the way. Watching the players move around the court quickly is part of the fun for spectators. Understanding these basic rules of squash will make the game easier to play for beginners.

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