• Introduction
  • The object of the game
  • Scoring in squash
  • Serving rules in squash
  • Gameplay
  • Game intervals
  • The squash court
  • Rules and regulations of squash equipment
  • Other rules of squash
  • Sources


  • Point: The winner of a rally receives a point.
  • Game: A game consists of 11 points with at least a two-point lead.
  • Match: A player needs to win 3 out of 5 games to win a match.

Intervals and Changes

  • A maximum of 90s is allowed between warm-up and the start of the match.
  • Players have a 90s rest period between games.
  • Players have a 3mins to treat self-inflicted injuries.
  • Players have a 15mins to treat contributed or opponent-inflicted injuries.
  • Players are allowed 90s to fix or change damaged equipment.


  • At the beginning of each game, the player may choose which service box to serve from.
  • Players alternate the side they are serving after every point.
  • The player who wins a rally always gets to serve.
  • After winning the first point of the game, the player can choose which side they serve from.
  • A player has only one attempt at a successful serve.
  • During service, the server must have at least one foot inside the service box.
  • The ball does not have to bounce before striking it.
  • The ball must hit the front wall above the service line and below the out-line and travel towards the opposite back corner.
  • If the server doesn’t hit the ball while serving, it does not count as a serve.
  • The winner of the last game serves first. 


  • Squash can be played in singles (1 vs 1) and doubles (2 vs 2) formats.
  • After a successful serve, the ball must hit the front wall below the out-line and above the tin before touching the ground.
  • A return is good if the ball hasn’t bounced twice, hits the front wall directly or after bouncing from a side wall, and is not out of the outlines.
  • Volleys (hitting the ball before it touches the floor) are allowed 
  • Blocking another player, or failing to move is considered a fault and leads to losing that point.
  • A player cannot hit the ball twice in a row or carry it.
  • A let means the same point will be played again, often used when a player gets hit by a ball.


  • The first server of the serving team continues from alternate boxes until they lose a point, then it is the other team’s turn to serve.
  • The same process is repeated for the second servers of both teams. 
  • Teammates may change sides for receiving service at the beginning of every game.  


Squash has a long history that has its roots in a 12th-century game called jeu de paume, which is considered the ancestor of all racquet and handball games. Back then, the sport was played without rackets and a ball made from leather and sawdust. In the late 15th century, Dutch inventors created the first rackets and the rules for a ball sport in an enclosed court. This sport quickly became well-known in Europe as real tennis.  

In the early 1800s, a game called racquets was invented by prisoners at the Fleet in London. This game involved smacking the ball against one or two walls instead of playing face-to-face against one another. This sport was easy to pick up and could be played in small spaces, quickly making it a popular pastime for the working class. In the 1830s, students from London’s Harrow School noticed that a punctured ball ”squashed” on impact against the wall, which offered more possibilities for gameplay. Because the Harrow school was located in a dangerous area filled with water pipes, ledges, and chimneys, the students also customized their rackets to be smaller and therefore better suited for small spaces. 

While squash was being played across England for a long time, it had no official standards for rules or regulations at the time. That all changed in 1926 when the first official rules of squash were introduced by the Tennis & Rackets Association (T&RA). In 1967, the International Squash Rackets Federation (ISRF) was founded, which changed its name to the World Squash Federation (WSF) in 1992. It remains the main international governing body of squash.

Nowadays, squash is one of the most well-known racket sports available with nearly 20 million active players around the world. Its biggest competitions include the World Series and the World Championships. 

The object of the game

The object of squash is relatively simple; you must hit the ball off the front wall in a way that your opponent is unable to return it. Of course, your opponent has the same goal as they try to prevent you from returning the ball to the wall. A rally ends when either player is unable to return the ball before it bounces twice, hits the tin, goes out, or when interference or obstruction is called. 

Scoring in squash

A squash match consists of the best of five games to 11 points. Additionally, just like in most racquet sports like tennis, badminton, padel, and table tennis, you need a two-point lead to win a game. So, if the score is tied 10-10 (10-all), the player who gains a two-point lead is the winner of that game. The official competitive squash matches are played by a point-a-rally (PAR) scoring system. This means that the winner of each rally gets a point regardless of whether they are serving or receiving. However, alternative point systems also exist.

Point-a-rally (PAR) scoring to 15 points is nearly identical to the regular point system played until 11 points. However, this scoring system can also be played in a best of three games format. 

Hand-in/hand-out scoring, also known as the English scoring, refers to matches that consist of the best of 5 games to 9 points. However, you can only score a point from your own serve. If you lose a rally from your serve, the other player becomes the server. Additionally, if the score is 8-8, the receiver may choose before the next service whether the game is played to nine (Set 1) or ten (Set 2) points. 

The RAM scoring system consists of the best of five games, whereas each game consists of three minutes of active gameplay. Once the time is up, the leading player needs one more point to win a game. On the other hand, if the trailing player is able to catch up and score an additional point, they win the game. 

Serving rules in squash

The basic rules of squash state that at the beginning of each game, the serving player may choose which service box they start serving from. The serving player also continues serving from alternate sides until they lose a rally. When the receiving player wins their first rally, they also get to decide which side they start serving from. Another thing to remember is that the winner of the last game gets to serve first. 

During service, the server must stand with at least one foot inside the service box, whereas the receiver can be anywhere behind the short line and on their side of the court. The server has only one attempt at a successful serve and they must strike the ball in a way that it hits the front wall above the service line and below the out line. The ball also has to travel towards the opposite back corner of the court. However, if the server doesn’t make contact with the ball while serving, it does not count as a serve.

Note that both underhand and overhead serves are allowed and the ball does not have to bounce before striking it. This means that players can use different techniques to perform lob shots, backhands, or even smash serves for their advantage. 


Squash can be played in singles (1 vs 1), doubles (2 vs 2) and mixed doubles formats. After a successful serve, a rally begins and continues until either player or team is unable to return the ball correctly to the front wall. The rally will also be stopped if a player gets hit with a ball, makes an appeal, or when a let is called. In case of a let, the same point will be played again. 

A good return means that the ball must be struck before it bounces twice, hit the front wall below the outline, and above the tin before touching the ground. The ball can even bounce from the side walls before hitting the front wall as long as it does not hit the ground first. Volleys are also allowed, meaning the player can strike the ball before it touches the ground even once. Lastly, the ball should stay inside the out line at all times. Otherwise, it is considered out. 

Interference and obstruction are inevitable in a game like squash. However, players should always have a direct line of access to the ball and have enough space to shoot their shot. This is why the other player must make every effort to ensure the other player has enough space on the court. If a player feels they were obstructed, they may request a let from the referee.  

A match is usually officiated by a referee and a marker, both of which are responsible for keeping track of the score and the serving order. The referee is also the main authority during a match, and their additional responsibilities include calling lets and appeals, keeping track of breaks and injury times as well as making sure the game is being played fairly, in good sportsmanship, and according to the official rules of the World Squash Federation (WSF). On the other hand, the marker must call faults, outs, etc. and announce the score after every point and every game. Some tournaments also use a three-referee system with a central referee and two side referees. 

Game intervals

In squash, players are allowed a 90s break between every game as well as 90s to fix or change any damaged clothing or equipment. There is also a 90s break between the warm-up and the start of the match. 

For self-inflicted injuries such as sprains, muscle tears or bruises, a player is allowed three minutes to recover and resume play. On the other hand, for contributed injuries, where both players are equally responsible for an accidental injury, and opponent-inflicted injuries, a player has 15 minutes to recover. However, if a player is injured due to deliberate or dangerous play, they still have 15 minutes to treat their injury, but will be awarded the match if they are unable to continue. 

If the referee has a reason to believe the injury is not genuine, the player can choose to concede the game and use the 90s interval between games before resuming play. Only one game may be conceded and if a player is unable to resume play, they are forced to concede the match. 

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While having only one official scoring system, squash also has a few alternative game styles!

The squash court

Squash is played in an enclosed 9.75m (32ft) long and 6.4m (21ft) wide court bounded by four walls: the front wall, side walls, and the back wall. The out line runs from the top of the front wall at the height of 4.57m (15ft) and descends along the side walls until it reaches the back wall at the height of 2.13m (7ft). The overall height of the front wall is 5.64m (18.5ft) and it also has a service line at the height of 1.78m (5.8ft) and a 43cm (16.9in) high section known as the tin at floor-level.

The floor is divided into two sections by the short line that is 4.26m (14ft) from the back wall, and parallel to it. The short line also splits in the middle by a half-court line. This section where the short line and half-court line meet is also known as the ”T”.

The service boxes are located between the short line and the side walls on both sides of the court. Each side of the service box is 1.6m (5.2ft) long.

Rules and regulations of squash equipment

In addition to regular athletic clothing and an official squash court, the game only requires three pieces of equipment; the racket, the ball, and protective eyewear. 

The racket consists of a teardrop-shaped head, a slim shaft and a wider handle (grip). Nowadays, they come in a range of different sizes, string patterns, shapes, stiffnesses, and balance points to fit the needs of every player. The most common materials are graphite and aluminum frames with synthetic strings. The modern rules of squash state that the racket must be less than 68.6cm (27in) long, 21.5cm wide (8.5in), and 2.6cm thick (1in). It should also have a maximum weight of 255g (9oz). The string length of a squash racket may not exceed 39cm (15.4in) or have a strung area above 500 sq. cm (77.5 sq. in).

The ball is made from a 40-90 durometer (hardness) raw bytul rubber with a diameter of 39.5-40.5cm (1.55-1.6in) with a weight between 23-25g (0.8-0.9oz). According to the modern rules of squash, there are four different official ball types;

  • Very slow: single yellow dot (club), double yellow dot (competition)
  • Slow: white dot/green dot (high altitude ball)
  • Medium: red dot
  • Fast: blue dot

Protective eyewear is also mandatory in doubles and junior events sanctioned by the World Squash Federation (WSF). While they are not mandatory in singles events, they are recommended for all players during warm-up and gameplay and should be manufactured according to the national standard. 

Other rules of squash

A squash match starts with a racket spin to determine which player or team serves first. The winner of the spin can also choose which service box they start serving from. The players also have a four-minute warmup (2mins on each side) with each other before the match begins. 

If a player drops a racket onto the court, they may pick it up and continue playing. However, if the ball hits the racket when it is on the ground, or it distracts the opponent, the referee applies a conduct penalty. If the racket drops due to interference, a player may also request a let. If any other object falls onto the court and affects gameplay, the rally is usually stopped and played again. The only exceptions are if the object hasn’t been noticed during the rally, is dropped by a player, or if a striker’s winning return is interrupted.

Players must also follow the correct sportsmanlike conduct and behave in a manner that is safe, fair, inoffensive, and good for the image of the sport. If a player is verbally abusive, uses profanities, or commits to purposefully dangerous play, the referee may penalize the player and stop the game if necessary. 

Did you learn anything new about the rules of squash? Let us know in the comments!


World Squash Federation (WSF) (1) (2) (3).

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