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How to Play

Squash is a racket sport played by two (singles) or four players (doubles) in an indoor four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. The aim of the game is to take turns hitting the ball to the front wall, making the ball impossible to play, or forcing an error, from your opposition. The ball can only bounce once on the floor but can hit any of the other walls. After each shot you must try to get out of the way of both the ball and your opposition. 11 points are needed to win a game, with the best of three or five declared the winner of the match.

How to Play


Understand the jargon

  • Serve – a serve starts the game by hitting the ball against the front wall.
  • Let – a let is called if your swing is impeded by your opponent and neither player wins a point.
  • Stroke – a stroke is called if your swing is prevented by your opponent and you win the point.
  • Out line – the out line runs around the top of the court and if the ball hit this or goes above it then it is out.
  • Service line – the service line is on the front wall in between the tin and the out line.
  • Tin – the tin is the area below the lowest line on the front wall and if the ball hits this then it is out.
  • The T – the T is the area in the middle of the court where the lines meets.

Learn the basics

Squash is a technical game and players starting out are encouraged to seek support from an appropriate coach. Taking individual or small group sessions in a SquashStart programme at a local club is also a great way to learn the basics before hitting the courts for more competitive squash.

Technique videos

  • Drive - a shot that is projected straight from the front wall towards the back wall.
  • Drop - a shot that is tapped lightly against the front wall to allow a silent and dead shot on the ground.
  • Volley - a shot that is played without having the ball touch the ground.
  • Lob - a shot that is struck softly, high on the front wall, with a high arc, the object being the placement of the ball into the back corners of the court.
  • Boast - a shot that is first played off the side or back walls.
  • Cross court - a shot that allows the ball to travel from one side of the court to the other.
  • Kill - a shot that is hit firmly and travels no further than half court.
  • Nick shot - where the ball is played from the front wall into the angle between side wall and floor at the front of the court so that it rolls across the floor and cannot be returned.

Want to know more?

  • From serving to scoring, get to grips with the rules here.
  • From rackets to balls, find what equipment you need to get on court here.
  • From playing socially to competing against others, learn more about the Grading List here.
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