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How to Play Squash - A Beginners Guide


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A beginner's guide on playing squash, the tactics, the technique , the rules and how to play squash safely

  • Squash is played between two individuals (singles) or two teams of two (doubles) on a Squash Court.
  • One player serves to start a rally which proceeds until one player hits the ball out or down or fails to hit the ball before it has bounced twice.
  • Squash can be played using  a couple of scoring options, traditional (International) scoring and point a rally scoring (PARS).
  • Squash Players having a social game can modify the rules to their own requirements.

Squash Doubles Rules can be found at this link.

More detail on how to play Squash can be found at Strokes and Movementand Squash Tactics.

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PSA Squash TV - CIMB Malaysian Open 2012

Squash Safety and Fitness

Get fit to play squash
  • If your fitness is poor or you haven’t played Squash for some time, don’t overdo it.
  • Remember, Squash is a fast game.  If you have a rally which requires a lot of short sharp movement, it may take your body a moment or two before it realises that a lot of oxygen is needed for recovery.
  • This can result in a sudden increase in heart rate.
  • This is not a good thing for those who lack fitness.
  •  More about Squash Player Safety

More Pics...

Check the grip before play
Warmup & Stretch before play
Give the opponent freedom to play the ball

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About the Squash Serve

Correct stance assists accuracy when serving
  • The server, with at least one foot in the service box, starts play by hitting the ball directly onto the front wall between the cut line and the outline to rebound so that, if allowed, it bounces for the first time in the opposite half of the court and behind the short line.
  • See Squash Court Markings.
  • It may hit another wall after hitting the front wall, providing the ball lands within the correct half court.
  • The receiver may hit the ball on the full. If the server wins the rally they serve from the alternate service box.
  • If the receiver wins the rally they choose which box to start serving from. 
  • More on the Squash Serve

Squashgame Gold: Advanced Text and Video Content

Backhand Serve, Right Box

Backhand serve from the right hand box is a more advanced serving technique and will require a little more ball and racket co-ordination.


Video Resources

Power Serve

A Power Serve is often referred to as a Hard Serve.
In this video you will notice:

  • The height of the ball toss.
  • The speed of the hit.
  • The aim of the hit is around the cutline.

 

Video Resources

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Return of Serve

Return of Serve Feet Positioning

While waiting to return the serve, watch the server to get an idea of:

  • The type of Serve to expect.
  • The angle of the serve.
  • The speed of the serve

all ofwhich will assist the racket preparation to return the ball.

Keep out of the back corner.

Keep away from the walls.


Squashgame Gold: Advanced Text and Video Content

Video Forehand Return of Serve

Remember of keep away from the side walls when receiving serve.

Video Resources

Video Backhand Return of Serve

When returning a serve requires some decision making, eg take the ball high in the air, let the ball drop, let the ball hit the side wall before volleying, or maybe volley boast.

Video Resources

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Rally between two players

Squash Court Markings
  • The 2(or 4 for doubles) Squash players, each with a racket, take it in turns (for doubles, each team takes turns)  to hit the ball onto the front wall within the large area defined by the outline at the top and the line marking the top of the tin at the bottom (the striker may play the ball onto the side or back walls first before it hits the front wall).
  • The ball must stay within the court. The ball must be hit on the first bounce or volleyed.
  • Play continues until the ball goes out or down or is hit after the first bounce.

Squashgame Gold: Advanced Text and Video Content

Video Forehand recovery from the Back Corner

Retrieving Tight Shots from the Back Corner

Learning to "dig" shots out of the corners can be puzzling for beginners.
This video shows you how to approach the ball, and how important it is to keep away from the walls when playing shots close to the wall and corner.
 

Video Resources

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Scoring

PARS Score Sheet

International (Traditional)

  • A point is scored only when the server wins a rally.
  • When the server loses a rally he or she loses the right to serve and the opponent becomes the server.
  • When a point has been scored durng play, the server must serve from the opposite service box.
  • The first player to nine points wins a game.
  • A match usually consists of the best of five games; that is, the first player to win three games wins the match.
  • If, in any game, the score reaches eight-all, then the player who reaches 8 first, decides whether that game is to be played to nine (Set 1) or ten points (Set 2).
  • The first player to reach the chosen number of points wins the game.

Point-a-Rally(PARS)

  • A point is scored for each rally won.
  • Usually matches are played to the best of 5 games with each game being played to 15 points.
  • In the event of the scores being 14 all, the first player to 14 can select whether the game will be played to 15 (Set 1) or 17 points (Set 3)
  • This method of scoring usually results in shorter playing time for a match.

Other options

  • Play a time limit game of between 25 to 45 minutes with two or three breaks of 1 minute duration.
  • PARS is very flexible - players can create their own game play format.

To view print friendly score sheets click the image/link (right or below).

More Pics...

International Score Sheet

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How to Record the Score

The procedure for marking a game:

  •  The Marker calls the Score. 
  • The Score Sheet is divided into two sides, one side for each player.  
  • Each side has an "L" and "R" marked in a box, which stands for Left and Right Service Box. 
  • As the Server serves from the Right Box, the Scorer's pencil points to Box "R".  The pencil stays in the box until the point is won or lost.  The Server's score is always called first, eg 5:3 Smith serving or 3.5 Brown if Brown had won the point and was to serve.
  • The pencil would point to the appropriate service box. 

Note: There are two ways of scoring:

1. Traditional Method - The Server can only score points, and the first to 9 points wins. 

2. PARS (Point a Rally) - The winner of the rally wins the point, first to 11 points wins.

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Basic Squash Skills

The correct grip helps develop the swing
  • Hold the grip firmly at all times during the swing. Keep a firm wrist during the swing.
  • Approach the ball from one side (usually from the side closest to the centre of the court). Right handed Squash players should try to play "forehands" on the right hand side of the court and play  "backhands" on the left hand side of the court. (Reversed for left handers).
  • Read more about Basic Squash Skills in Strokes & Movement

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Spreading the fingers helps to control the racket head

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Basic Squash Tactics

Approach the ball side on
  • Hit the ball away from your opponent, making them run.
  • Hit backhand shots on the backhand side of the court and forehands on the forehand side.
  • Hit the ball to the corners and close to the side walls.
  • Volley during play whenever possible. Return to the centre of the court quickly each time you make a return whilst watching the ball.
  • More information on Tactics
  • Read about playing lefthanded players Squash Players.

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Basic Squash Rules

  • Once the ball has been struck, it is the responsibility of the striker to clear the way for the opponent to make a return.
  •  If there is interference in the opponent reaching the ball, the players should play the point again (this is called playing a LET).
  • If your opponent is in the way of you making a return or is in danger of being hit in the process, a “LET” should be played.
  • Both the striker and the opponent should make every effort to clear the ball or to get to it if a “LET” is to be played.
  • If the player hits the ball back to themselves and hits them or goes very close to them, a “STROKE” is awarded to the opponent, winning the rally for them.
  • More information on the Rules

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Squash Balls

  • There are a range of balls available for all standards.
  • The court temperature also plays a big part in Squash ball selection (In colder temperatures, you may need to use a bouncier ball).
  • The following Squash balls should be available in your area:
    • Super Slow
    • Yellow Dot -  Slow
    • White or Green Dot - Medium
    • Red Dot -  Fast
    • Blue Dot - Fast
  • There is also an Extra Super Slow Double Yellow Dot ball used by professionals or by accomplished players in hotter countries.
  • A blue beginners ball may also be available.

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Modified Equipment

ModifiedRacket & Balls
  • Because squash is a very fast game and requires quick co-ordinated reflexes the use of modified equipment (a shorter racket and larger ball) can help novices gain confidence, and have more enjoyment.
  • Racket Ball and Mini Squash are games played on a squash court that might suit some players who are having difficulty managing the full size equipment.
  • More on Modified Games

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