What are the basic rules and scoring system of squash?

Master squash rules and scoring with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your game knowledge, dominate the court, and enjoy competitive play.

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Enamored with the game of squash but still unsure about the intricacies of the rules and scoring system? You've come to the right place. In this informative blog post, we'll break down the essential rules and scoring system of squash, allowing you to confidently step onto the court and compete. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, understanding the fundamental rules and scoring system is crucial for a successful game. So, let's get started and demystify the key elements of squash, ensuring that you have a comprehensive understanding of the game.

Key Takeaways:

  • Basic Rules: Squash is played with two people in an enclosed court and the aim is to hit the ball against the front wall so that the opponent cannot return it. The ball must stay within the lines of the court and can only bounce once before it is hit back.

  • Scoring System: Points are awarded to the player who wins each rally. A rally is won if the opponent is unable to return the ball before it bounces twice, hits the tin, or goes out of bounds. A match is usually played to the best of 3 or 5 games, with each game played to 11 points.

  • Let and Stroke: If a player's movement is obstructed by their opponent, a let is called and the point is replayed. A stroke is awarded if the opponent's obstruction has prevented the player from making a good shot, resulting in the awarding of a point to the player obstructed.

Basic Rules of Squash

One of the most popular racket sports, squash is played in a four-walled court with two players. The game is fast-paced and requires agility, speed, and excellent hand-eye coordination. Understanding the basic rules is essential to enjoy the game and play it effectively.

Court Specifications

The standard squash court is a rectangular space with four walls and a front wall featuring a small, horizontal line. The court measures 32 feet in length and 21 feet in width. The front wall also has a service line, which is 7 feet above the floor. It's important to familiarize yourself with the court dimensions to position yourself correctly during the game, which is critical for your success on the court.

Equipment Used in Squash

When playing squash, you will need the essential equipment, including a squash racket and a small rubber ball. The racket must meet certain specifications, including size, weight, and stringing. The ball must have the right size and bounce for optimal game performance. Having the right equipment is crucial for your ability to play your best during a match.

Starting a Game

At the beginning of a squash game, a coin toss determines the player who serves first. The server must stand inside the service box and hit the ball directly to the front wall. Your ability to start the game effectively can set the tone for the entire match, so it's important to focus on your technique and strategy during the initial serve.

Rules of Play

During a squash match, you must adhere to specific rules to ensure fair play and an enjoyable experience for both players. Understanding rules related to scoring, serving, let calls, and conduct on the court is essential. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and play the game with confidence.

Out of Play Conditions

There are certain conditions during a squash game when the ball is considered out of play, such as when it hits the floor before reaching the front wall or when it hits a player. It's important to be aware of these out of play conditions and react accordingly to maintain control and momentum during the game.

Scoring System

Unlike some other sports, squash uses a fairly straightforward scoring system. The scoring system in squash is designed to reward consistency, skill, and endurance, and is relatively easy to understand.

Traditional Scoring Format

In the traditional scoring format, matches are played to 11 points. You can only score a point if you are the one serving the ball. If the score reaches 10-10, this is known as "setting" and a player must win by two clear points. This format is often considered to favor the stronger player, as they can maintain their advantage by serving and scoring points.

PARS (Point-A-Rally Scoring) System

The PARS system, on the other hand, has gained popularity in recent years. This system allows both players to score points on every rally, whether they are serving or not. Matches are typically played to 11 points, and the winner must win by two clear points. This system is often seen as being more engaging and fair, as it rewards both players for their efforts during a match.

Winning a Match

To win a match, you must win the majority of games played. In a best-of-five games match, the first player to win three games is declared the winner. In a best-of-three games match, the first player to win two games wins the match. It's important to maintain focus and consistency throughout a match, as every game counts towards the final result.

Tiebreaks and Overtimes

If a game reaches 10-10 in the traditional scoring format, or 11-11 in the PARS system, a tiebreak or overtime is played. In this extra period, players must win by two clear points to secure the game. It's crucial to keep a cool head and remain focused during these crucial moments, as one mistake could cost you the game.

Remember, understanding the scoring system in squash is essential for enjoying the game to its fullest potential. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and scoring formats before stepping onto the court.

Fouls and Penalties

Despite the fast-paced and competitive nature of squash, there are rules in place to ensure fair play and sportsmanship. It's important to understand the fouls and penalties that can occur during a game to maintain the integrity of the sport. For a comprehensive guide on the basic rules and scoring system of squash, you can visit Squash: Rules and how to play.

Interference and Lets

During a squash game, interference can occur when a player's shot unintentionally blocks the opponent's access to the front wall. If this happens, a let is called, and you will have the opportunity to replay the point. It's important to avoid interference as much as possible to keep the game flowing smoothly.

Stroke Penalties

When a player obstructs their opponent's ability to hit the ball, the referee may award a stroke penalty, resulting in the loss of the point. This penalty is given if the obstruction prevents the opponent from making a good shot. It's crucial to be mindful of your positioning and movement to avoid giving away unnecessary points.

Conduct on Court

As a squash player, it's essential to maintain proper conduct on the court. Any unsportsmanlike behavior, such as verbal or physical abuse, can result in penalties or even disqualification from the game. It's important to uphold the values of respect and fair play while competing.

Penalties for Breaches of Rules

Penalties for breaches of rules can vary depending on the severity of the infraction. These penalties may include loss of point, conduct warnings, or even expulsion from the match. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with the official rules and regulations to avoid any inadvertent rule violations and subsequent penalties.

Advanced Play and Strategies

Not only does squash require physical strength and agility, but it also demands mental acuity and strategic thinking. To improve your game and outfox your opponent, consider the following advanced play and strategies:


Scoring Summary

Point is won when opponent fails to hit the ball twice consecutively

First to 11, best of 5 games

Standard dimensions for the court and the ball

Must win by 2 points

Serve and Return Tactics

When serving, vary your delivery to keep your opponent guessing, making it more challenging for them to anticipate your next move. When returning, focus on placement rather than power. Try to force your opponent to move around the court, giving you more options to exploit their weaknesses.

Shot Selection

Choosing the right shot at the right time is crucial in squash. Utilize drop shots and lobs to disrupt your opponent's rhythm, and mix up your pace and angles to keep them on their toes. Always be aware of your opponent's position on the court and adjust your shot selection accordingly.

Movement and Positioning

Efficient movement and strategic positioning can make all the difference in a game of squash. Work on maintaining a strong T position and focus on moving smoothly and quickly across the court. Anticipate your opponent's shots and position yourself to cover all areas of the court effectively.

Psychological Aspects of Competitive Play

Stay mentally sharp and resilient during competitive matches. Control your emotions, stay focused, and maintain a positive mindset. Learn to read your opponent’s body language and respond accordingly. Mental toughness can often be the deciding factor in tight matches.


Drawing together all the basic rules and the scoring system of squash, it’s important to remember that the game is all about scoring more points than your opponent. You must win by two clear points, and the game is played to either 11 or 21 points, depending on your agreement with your opponent. Each rally is worth one point, and if the score reaches 10-10, you must win by two clear points to take the game. The rules may seem complex at first, but with time and practice, you will become more comfortable with them and be able to enjoy the game to its fullest. Remember, the key to squash is to stay focused, move quickly, and keep the ball in play to outscore your opponent.


Q: What are the basic rules of squash?

A: Squash is typically played by two players (singles) or four players (doubles) in a four-walled court. The basic aim is to hit the ball against the front wall above the tin and below the out line. The ball can only bounce on the floor once before a player must hit it. Players take turns hitting the ball and the game continues until one player fails to make a good return.

Q: What is the scoring system in squash?

A: Squash is usually played as a best of five games. Each game is played to 11 points and the winner must win by two clear points. However, in some instances, the game may be played to 15 or 21 points, depending on the level of the players and the type of match being played. A player scores a point when the opponent fails to hit the ball before it bounces twice, or hits the ball out of the court.

Q: What are the basic rules of squash etiquette?

A: In squash, players are expected to appeal their own shots, meaning they must truthfully call whether the ball was in or out, or if it was a double bounce. Players should also stay out of the opponent's way and allow them to make a good shot. Additionally, players should not use profanity or behave in an unsportsmanlike manner. Finally, it is important to always respect the decisions of the referee or marker.