What is Squash, and How do you Play it?

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What is Squash?!

Squash is a fantastic sport with a rich history that has become an international sensation time and again with a vibrant multicultural community!

Squash is a racquet sport with two players, a hollow rubber ball and a four-walled court.  Players alternate hitting the ball inside the ‘out of court’ lines and above the tin.  A squash game is usually played to 11 points, best of five games, and the winner must win by 2 if a game’s points reach 10-all.

In very basic terms, to win a point, your opponent must not get to the ball before it bounces a second time, or hit the ball out of play.  There are these things called Lets and Strokes which help to keep everyone safe during a match, but if you’re an absolute beginner, don’t worry about that for now…

First things first..

  • Wear sports clothing and sports shoes, preferably white soled so they don’t mark the court.
  • Make sure you bring a water bottle and a sweat towel!
  • If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry – just ask at the courts and they will lend or hire it to you.
  • Juniors (anyone under the age of 19 years) must wear eyewear at all times while on court.  This is non-negotiable!

Let’s get started!

Don’t forget to warm up – both yourself and the ball (squash balls bounce better when warm).

Try a few stretches, then hit the ball to the front wall for 5 minutes or so to help warm up your arm and the ball.

Game Play

Two players take turns to hit the ball onto the front wall.  A point is awarded each time a player wins a rally.

How to serve

  • Stand with one foot in either service box
  • Hit the ball to the front wall landing it above the service line, below the out line
  • The ball then must travel from the front wall to the opposite back corner (behind the short line and on the other side of the half court line from where it was served)
  • The ball can rebound off other walls or be hit on the full (a volley)

During the rally

  • The ball MUST hit the front wall each shot but can hit other walls before or after
  • The opponent must hit the ball before the 2nd bounce
  • Players can hit the ball before it bounces on the floor (a volley)
  • Players can use all of the court after the serve is hit, there are no restrictions on where to run

When is the ball out?

  • When it hits the tin or out line
  • When it hits above the out of court line (on a serve or during a rally)
  • When it bounces on the floor more than once before being hit
  • When a serve lands in the incorrect area (a fault)


  • The player who wins the rally scores a point
  • A game usually goes up to 11 points, however if the score is 10 all, the game continues until a player wins by 2 points
  • A match is the best of 5 games

Lets and Strokes

If you feel your opponent is in the way of your swing, you can ask the Referee for a ‘Let’.  If the Referee believes your swing was impeded by your opponent, they will say ‘Yes Let’ and the rally is replayed.  Neither opponent gets a point in this case.  However, if the Referee believes your swing was prevented by your opponent, then they will call a ‘Stroke’ and you will be awarded that point.

Still unclear?  Got six minutes to spare?  We recommend this great introductory YouTube video created by Zoe Aust (@zoeaust7992).

Ready to start? Click HERE to find a Club near you. Click HERE to find a coach.

Happy squashing!