How to play - a beginner's guide

  • Squash is played between two individuals (singles) or two teams of two (doubles)
  • 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)
  • Players having a social game can modify the rules to their own requirements


  • 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
  • The ball may hit another wall after hitting the front wall, providing it 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

Rally between two players

  • The 2 (or 4 for doubles) 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


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 during play, the server must serve from the opposite service box
  • The first player to 9 points wins a game
  • A match usually consists of the best of 5 games; that is, the first player to win 3 games wins the match
  • If, in any game, the score reaches 8-all, then the player who reaches 8 first, decides whether that game is to be played to 9 (Set 1) or 10 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

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

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).

  • Double Yellow Dot - Super Slow
  • Yellow Dot - Slow
  • White or Green Dot - Medium
  • Red Dot - Fast
  • Blue Dot - Fast