Squash (sport)

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Squash is a racket sport which is a popular pastime in America and Europe. It is dissimilar to tennis, as squash, by its very nature, must be played inside. Squash is typically played with two people, and the most important abilities for the players are speed, good reactions and the ability to keep calm under pressure.

The court

A simplified diagram

A squash court is an enclosed room with four walls. On the back half of the court are two squares, with another smaller square next to the wall in the front-left in each. On the front wall are two lines, one at shin height and the other at waist height. Around the four walls runs a continuous line near the ceiling, decreasing in height as it nears the back of the court.


  • One squash racket per player
  • A squash ball.

Squash balls come in varying types, some of which bounce well and move quickly, others of which do not bounce much and move slowly. Before a game, a squash ball must be warmed up. This can be done either with a warm-up rally (for both the players and the ball) or the ball can simply be placed underfoot and rolled repeatedly along the ground (to warm it up more quickly).

The rules

Once the server has been decided, he must stand with at least one foot in the serving square (marked s) and serve the ball. This must hit above the waist-height red line on the forward wall and rebound into his opponents large square (marked l). From there, the players may hit the ball anywhere and anyway they like, as long as it satisfies the following conditions:

  • It must always hit above the shin-height line on the front wall.
  • It must never hit above the line near the ceiling.
  • It must never bounce twice between hits.

If these conditions are not satisfied, the player who infringed upon these rules has lost the point, and what happens then depends upon the version on scoring the players are using. If the same player serves twice in a row, he must switch between the two serving squares (usually starting with the right-hand one).


American scoring

In American scoring, every point counts. For example, player A and B have just started a match and player A serves. In the ensuing play, player B wins. Under American scoring, the score would then become 1-0 to player B, with player B starting to serve. This creates an interesting game, in which a player must not only fear his opponent but also himself. For example, in a game to 13 in which the score is 12-9, with the loser serving, it is not necessary for the leader to even move to win the match. If the loser fails his serve, then the leader will gain the point and win the match. If the loser is to win in such a situation, he cannot make any mistakes.

European scoring

In European scoring, in order to win a point, the server must win a round in which he serves. For example, Player A can only win a point if player A served. in Player B wins a round in which Player A served, player B gets the serve and must then win that to score a point. European scoring creates a longer game, in which it is not uncommon for the serving to alternate between the two players without a single point being scored. As such endurance is more important with European scoring, but games can become boring if little progress is made score-wise.

See also