Squash – How to Play?

In this chapter, we will discuss about the procedures of playing Squash.

Squash − Service

Initially the players spin a racket to decide who serves first. After which the player starts the match by electing to serve from either left or right side service boxes which are present at the back half. For a legal serve, a player’s feet must touch one of these service boxes, not any part of the service box lines while striking the ball.

After striking the ball, it must hit between the outline and service line on the front wall and it must land in the opposite back quarter of the court. The receiving player can choose to volley the ball once it has hit the front wall. If the server wins the point, both players exchange their places for the following point.

Squash − After Service

After the serve, players hit the ball alternately on to the front wall, above the tin and below the outline. After hitting the ball with the racket, it must not hit the floor before hitting the front wall. A ball hitting above or on the outline or the line among the top of the tin is considered out. After a ball hits the front wall, it is allowed to bounce once before a player must return it. The players are allowed to move anywhere in the court but accidental or deliberate obstructions to players is forbidden.

A rally or exchange of shots ends, if

  • the ball bounces twice on the ground before being hit by the player.

  • the ball hits the tin in the front wall after being struck by any of the players.

  • the ball hits outside the outlines of any of the walls.

  • any of the players is accidentally or deliberately obstructed by the opponent player.

Ball Hitting

Squash − Scoring

Squash scoring system has evolved over time. The original scoring was known as English scoring or Hand-out scoring. According to this rule, if a server wins a rally, he/she gets a point but if the returner wins the rally, only the service will be changed which is also called as ball goes hand-out but no points are given to anyone. The first player to win nine points wins the match. The player who wins eight points first decides, whether the match will be played till nine points (set one) or till ten points (set two).

The current official scoring system is known as point-a-rally scoring (PARS). In case of PARS system, the player who wins the rally gets the points regardless of whether he was the server or returner. The match is played to 11 points, but unlike English scoring, here the player must have to win by two points, i.e. even if the score reaches 10-10, it continues till one of the player leads by two points.


The height of tin is reduced by two inches and PARS up to 11 points is allowed in all the competitions whether men or women. In case of women’s professional tournaments, they have started using PARS rule since July, 2008 while the tin height remains the same in case of women’s professional tournament. American scoring system is another scoring system which is very much similar to PARS to 11 but the match is played to 15 points. Competitions are played to Best-of-five, i.e. players winning more matches out of five matches will be the winner.