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Understanding The Basic Rules Of Squash

Squash is easy to understand once you've memorized the rules. If you're just beginning to play, you may find learning the rules (let alone the best playing strategies) a bit overwhelming. Below, we'll explain how points are earned and define proper serves and returns. You'll also learn about the rules that govern interference calls as well as lets. By the time you've finished reading, you'll be ready to start playing.

Points And Scoring

Generally, a point is earned by the server when the receiving player cannot make a proper return (we'll discuss returns in the following section). Once the ball is served, the receiving player must return the ball or the server will be awarded a point. Points can only be awarded to the server.

Each game is scored to nine points. The only exception to this is if the score is tied at eight points each. When this happens, the receiving player can choose to extend the game to ten points. Five games are played for a full match (best of five games wins).

Proper Serves, Returns And Rallies

Traditionally, the server is decided by spinning a racquet on the court. Once decided, the serve must strike the front wall between the service line and the out line. The serve is considered legal when the ball either lands the quarter court that lies opposite of the active service box or is struck by another player beforehand.

A proper return is defined first by a player striking the ball before it has bounced on the court's floor two times. Further, once the player strikes the ball, it must make contact with the front wall between the board line and the out line without bouncing on the floor of the court. The ball may make contact with the side walls or the back wall prior to contacting the front wall.

The first proper return after a legal serve begins a rally. During a rally, the players take turns hitting the ball. Once a player is unable to make a proper return, the rally comes to an end. If the receiving player fails to return the ball properly, the server earns one point. If the server fails to make a proper return, the serve transitions to the other player with no points being awarded.


When a player is trying to make a proper return, that player has the right to unhindered access to the ball, the space required for a swing and a direct trajectory to the front wall. If the other player obstructs any of these things, interference can be called. If the wronged player could have made a legal return and the other player tried to avoid interfering, a "let" is called. If the wronged player could not have made a legal return, that player loses the rally. If the wronged player could have made a legal return and the other player did not try to avoid interfering, the wronged player wins the rally.

Lets: What Are They And How Do They Work?

A let is simply a rally where a winner cannot be decided. In addition to interference, a let can happen as a result of the ball breaking or making contact with something on the court floor. Lets are also allowed if a player serves and the receiving player is not ready.

Getting Started

At first, the rules described above may seem hard to grasp. If you've never played squash, that's understandable. But, once you're inside the court and can easily visualize how the rules apply to the play, you'll be surprised by how easily you'll pick the game up. The rules of squash haven't changed since they were standardized in the 1920's. Once you learn and apply them in practice, you'll likely find squash rewarding, challenging and fun.