This article aims to describe the basic squash serve rules. It covers the order of service, rules of the squash box, types of serve, and how you may incur a fault during service.
Order of service
The first service of the match is decided by spinning a racket. That player continues to serve until they lose a rally. At that point the service is passed to the opponent. The player that wins a game gets to serve first in the next game.
Each rear quarter of the court has a smaller service box within it. When a player is first to serve in a game, or when the service is transferred to a new player, then that player may choose which side of the court they’d like to serve from. After this point the player must alternate service boxes until they lose a rally.
During service, the serving player must have at least part of one foot in contact with floor within the bounds of the service box. No part of that foot should touch the line surrounding the service box.
A good squash serve
For a serve to be good the ball must strike the front wall between the service line (the line running along the middle of the front wall) and the out line (the uppermost line on the front wall). The ball must not make contact with either line, strike the wall above the out line, or strike the wall below the service line.
On it’s return, the squash balls first bounce must be within the rear quarter on the opposite side of the court (your opponent’s quarter). However, it doesn’t necessarily have to bounce on the floor as your opponent may choose to return it with a volley.
A serve is considered a fault if:
- At the time of striking the ball the server does not have at least one foot in contact with the ground within the service box, or part of that foot is in contact with the line surrounding the service box
- The server fails to strike the ball after releasing it, and the ball touches the floor, a wall, or any part of the server or his/her clothing
- The server does not strike the front wall directly between the service and out lines
- Following a direct serve the ball makes contact with either the service or out lines
- The first bounce of the ball on the floor is not within the opponents rear quarter (unless the ball is volleyed by the opponent)
Types of squash serve
A squash serve may be overarm, underarm, forehand or backhand. In order to keep surprising your opponent it is a good idea to vary your serves so as not to become too predictable. Here are 3 squash serves that would be good to practice while you’re learning:
- Lob Serve – The purpose of the lob serve is to try and make the ball land in the back corner of your opponents quarter. This serve is best performed underarm. Aim the ball centrally and high on the front wall, just below the out line. With enough power the ball should bounce high and strike the side wall, close to the rear of your opponents quarter. This forces the player to either return with a volley or to try and hit the ball out of a tight corner.
- Power Serve – The power serve is performed much like a tennis serve using an overhand smash. You can choose to aim the ball anywhere on the front wall for different results. The serve is fast and forces your opponent to think fast. A good tip is to try and strike the ball at such an angle to the front wall that the ball bounces back directly at your opponent, rather than to either side of them.
- Backhand Serve – This serve is performed in the right-hand serving box if you are right-handed or the left-hand serving box if you are left-handed. It can be either a lob or a power shot. The advantages are that you are already facing your opponent once the serve has been executed, and it allows for the ball to bounce back at a tight angle to your opponents side wall, making it harder to return.