Matches are the best of 3 or 5 games and each game is played to 11 points. The first player to score 11 points wins the game. If the score reaches 10-10 then play continues until a player leads by two points. This player is the winner of the game. A point is won regardless of which player served – this is known as point-a-rally (PAR).
Prior to a match the two players are allowed to spend up to 5 minutes to warm up themselves and the ball. Squash balls need warming up prior to play otherwise they lack bounce.
At the start of a match the first player to serve is decided by spinning a racket. That player then continues to serve until they lose a rally, at which point the service is passed to the opponent. The player that wins the game serves first in the next game.
The court markings have a service box on each side of the court – the server can choose to serve from either box at the start of the game and when service changes from one player to another. After winning a rally the server must then alternate between the service boxes until service passes to the opponent.
When a player is serving they must have part of one foot touching the floor within the service box. No part of that foot should touch the line surrounding the service box.
For a service to be good the ball must hit the front wall between the middle line (service line) and the upper line (out line). On it’s return it’s first bounce must be within the back quarter on the opposite side of the court (your opponent’s quarter). It doesn’t have to bounce though as your opponent might choose to return it with a volley.
The ball mustn’t touch any part of the court outside of those described otherwise the serve is a fault and your opponent wins the point.
Each player takes it in turn to return the ball to the front wall before it can bounce twice, taking care not to go above the out line (the upper most line) and not to strike the tin (the lower area of the front wall that’s about knee height).
The ball is allowed to hit the side walls and/or the back wall before it reaches the front wall.
If the ball touches any part of the out line that runs around the upper part of the court, or strikes the tin (the lower portion of the front wall) this is a fault and the rally is over. Similarly if the ball bounces on the floor more than once this marks the end of the rally.
A let is when a rally is replayed. That rally doesn’t count and the server retakes the serve from the same box.
This could occur when it is deemed too dangerous to hit the ball or you accidentally get in each others way. You must always make every effort to position yourself so that you don’t hinder your opponent.
If the ball should strike your opponent on its way to the side wall this is a let.
Freedom to play
You must always make every effort to position yourself so that you don’t hinder your opponent. This means allowing your opponent to have a fair view of the ball, and not obstructing their movement, access to the ball, or swing of their racquet.
How points are won
A point is won if:
- The server fails to make a good serve
- Your opponent strikes the ball and it makes contact with (or goes above) the out line
- Your opponent strikes the ball and it hits the tin
- Your opponent doesn’t strike the ball before it’s second bounce
- The ball touches your opponent on it’s way to the front wall (if the ball is on it’s way to the side wall this is a let)