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How to play Squash

Squash is a game that is extremely gratifying on a number of levels, yet not a lot of people seem to be interested in it.  This non-interest might be related to the fact that squash can be somewhat physically demanding, especially when compared with other recreational sports.  However, certainly no one can argue that it’s a wildly fun game that provides its practitioners with some great health benefits and helps to improve speed and stamina for athletes involved in other fields as well.

Generally speaking, squash is a racquet-based sport that’s very high-intensity and features the use of a ball ranging from 39.5 and 40.5 mm in diameter.  Likewise, the game itself is played on a court with 4 walls and is somewhat similar in scope to a game like racquetball or tennis.  The game itself is played between 2 individuals or teams (doubles) and involves each competitor striking the ball against the main wall facing them.  A “front line” separates the court into playable areas and non-playable areas.  Moreover, there is also a dividing line that separates the court into vertical halves.

One player serves or starts a rally, and then it’s up to the competing player to strike the ball before it is allowed to bounce twice or fall into an out-of-bounds area.  Needless to say, this framework creates a very interesting set of potential strategies for the opposing players as they can then choose where to send the ball for the return serve.

A serving player has to keep at least one foot in the service box and needs to hit the ball directly against the far-facing wall.  Likewise, the ball is allowed to impact other walls upon its return, but must still bounce once on the right side of the court.

Here is a basic breakdown of the traditional rules of squash which are observed internationally:

  • Points are scored when the server wins a rally.
  • If a server loses a rally, the opponent becomes the server.
  • One match usually consists of 5 games (whomever wins the most games, wins the match).
  • If a score of 8-all is reached, then the player who reaches 8 first gets to decide whether that rest of the match is to be played to 9 or 10 points.
  • Whoever first reaches the chosen number of points, wins the match/game.
  • The server must serve from the opposite service box (when a point has been scored during play).
  • Nine points are needed to win a game.

Remember, have fun, but also be mindful of your fitness level before playing squash (as it can be very demanding).  In other words, don’t hurt yourself by overestimating your abilities or misjudging your overall stamina levels.  When you first start playing squash, take things nice and slow, gradually build up your endurance while working on your technique and knowledge of the game.

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