Rules of Squash

Playing squash is a great way to relax, keep fit and stay athletic. The energetic game is suitable for enthusiasts of any age, while all performance athletes are also welcome.

Practices go safely and efficiently when players follow generally known the etiquette and know the squash rules.


If possible, acquire decent equipment. When choosing the equipment, ask for help from a squash coach or from those who have played for a longer time:

Footwear – squash sneakers or footwear for indoor sports. Do not play in running shoes or tennis shoes! There is a significant risk of twisting your leg.

Racket – before buying the racket, test a few different rackets and try to hit the ball with them. Typically, the right racket is found merely by perception. Some people prefer the more rigid rackets while other people prefer the so-called softer ones. You can always ask for advice from someone who has been playing for a while. When buying a new racket, you should also buy a grip, a strip that is folded around the handle to make holding the racket more convenient.

Protective eyewear – wearing protective eyewear takes some time to get used to, but it can prevent significant damage. Both glasses and masks are used.

Play with the
ball meeting your level! Be sure to perform a warm-up to the ball before starting the actual game. The tournament ball is the most difficult one to warm up, and it requires a quick game and firm strokes. Therefore, it is not advisable for beginners to play with this ball, because you will not be able to enjoy the game with this ball. For example Dunlop balls:

  • Max – blue and somewhat larger than the other balls. Beginner’s ball Bounces more easily than other balls. (Karakal ball has a red dot)
  • Progress – a black ball without dots. For the amateurs. (Karakal ball has a red dot) )
  • Competition – one yellow dot. Usually used in practices.
  • Pro – a ball with two yellow dots. Used in tournaments.

If possible, use the trainers help to understand the correct racket handling, strokes and movement from the beginning.

Always warm up before you start playing and stretch after practice to prevent injuries and painful muscles the next day.

Play it safely! If there is a risk that you hit the opponent with a ball or a racket, stop playing, saying “Let” and play the point again!


The abbreviated version of the squash rules is meant for players for understanding the basic principles. All players should read the full set of rules. The number of the rule in parenthesis in each title refers to the full rule.

Scoring (rule 2)

The game usually consists of a “best of five” games (or “best of three”). Each game is played until 11 points. For each win on the exchange of shots, a point is awarded. If the score in a game is tied at 10-10, a player must win by 2 clear points (for example, 12-10; 13-15 or 14-16, etc.).

As an alternative, the game can be played up to nine points. In this case, only the server can score points. If the server wins the exchange of shots, he or she scores a point. If the receiver wins the exchange of shots, he or she will become the server. At the score 8-8, the receiver of the serve has to choose whether to play until nine (“Nine”) or ten (“Ten”) points. (There is no such a condition that the player needs two-point lead to win the game).

Warm-up (rule 3)

Before the start of the game, the players are allowed to enter the court for five minutes for a warm-up before the game (two and a half minutes on each side).

If the ball is replaced during a game, or the game continues after an inevitable delay, the players will warm up the ball to the playing temperature.

Each player may warm-up the ball during any break.

Serv (rule 4)

The game starts with a serve. The first server is determined by twisting the racket. After that, the server will continue serving until the failure to return the ball. From this moment, the receiver of the serve will become the server, and then the exchange of serves takes place.

In the next game, the winner of the previous game will be the first server.

At the beginning of each game and after the change of server, the server decides which service box he or she will use for serving. After winning the ball exchange, the exchange of the service box must take place.

When serving, the player touches the floor inside the service box with at least one part of the foot. In order for the serve to meet the be regulations, the ball must be served directly onto the front wall between the service line and the out-line so that on its return, unless volleyed, its first bounce lands within the back quarter of the court opposite the server’s box.

A good return (rule 6) )

A return is good if the ball, before it has bounced twice on the floor, is returned by the striker on to the front wall between the lower line and the out-line, without touching the floor.

The return is not good if it is a “Fault” (the ball is hit after it has bounced on the floor more than once, if the ball is not hit correctly or if it is hit twice); “Down” (the ball hits the floor or the tin before the front wall); “Out” (the ball touches the out-line or hits the wall above the out-line).

Exchanges of shots (rule 8)

After the regular serve, the players hit the ball alternately until one player’s fault.

Exchange of shots consists of a serve and a certain number of good returns. The player wins the exchange of shots if the opponent does not perform a good serve or a strike or before the ball is hit it touches the opponent (including the racket and anything the opponent wears) without it being the opponent’s turn to hit.


Hitting the opponent with a ball (rule 9)

If a player hits a ball that hits the opponent, the opponent’s racket or clothing before reaching the front wall, the game is stopped.

The striker wins the rally if the serve would have been good and the ball would have hit the front wall without touching the other walls, provided the striker did not turn.

If the ball hit or would have hit any other wall before the front wall and the return would have been good, let is played.

The striker will lose the rally if the return has not been good.

Turning (rule 9)

If the striker follows the ball or lets the ball pass him or her from the left and then strikes the ball from the right (or vice versa), the striker will have turned.

If the ball hits the opponent after the striker has turned, the opponent will win the rally.

If the striker stops the game while turning, for the fear of hitting the opponent with the ball, let is played. This is recommended in situations where the player wants to turn but is not sure about the opponent’s location.

Second-time strike attempts (rule 10)

If the player misses the ball, he or she may try again to hit the ball.

If the second strike attempt hits the opponent, but the serve would have been good, let is played.

If the return would not have been good, the striker will lose the rally.

Interference (rule 12)

The opponent must give the player whose turn it is to strike full freedom to strike.

In order to prevent any interference, the opponent must allow the other player unobstructed access to the ball, a sufficient view of the ball, sufficient space to hit the ball, and the freedom to hit the ball directly against any part of the front wall.

An interfered player has the right to either continue the game or stop the game. Upon the risk to crash into the opponent or hitting him or her with a ball or a racket, it is advisable to stop the game.

If the game is stopped due to interference, the main instructions are:

The player is entitled to alet if he could have been able to make a good serve and the opponent did their best to prevent the interference.

The player is not entitled to let (i.e., he or she loses the rally) if the player would not have been able to make a good serve, if he or she continued the game after the interference occurred or if the interference was so minimal that it did not affect reaching the ball and performing the shot.

The player has the right to a stroke- (i.e., he wins the rally) if the opponent did not make the best effort to prevent interference, if the player would have had the opportunity to make a winning stroke or if the player would have hit the opponent with a ball directly heading towards the front wall.

Let (rule 13)

Let is an unresolved shot exchange. The shot exchange is not taken into account, and the server serves again from the same service box.

In addition to the let’s described in the foregoing paragraphs, let’s may also be set under other conditions. For example, a let may be set if the ball hits an object on the floor of the court during the game or if the striker decides not to make a shot due to a reasonable fear to hurt the opponent.

Let may set even if the receiver of the serve is not ready and does not try to receive the serve or if the ball breaks during the game.

Continuity of play (rule 7)

If one player has started serving, continuity of the game is expected in every game. There should be no delay between the two exchanges of shots.

A 90-second break is allowed between all the games.

Players are allowed to change clothes or equipment if necessary.

Bleeding, injury and illness (rule 16)

If the injury involves bleeding, bleeding should be stopped before the game is continued. The player is given enough time to dress the bleeding wound.

If the bleeding was caused solely by the opponent’s action, the injured player wins the game.

If bleeding repeats, additional recovery time is not provided, except that the player may give up the game and use a 90-second intermission to stop the bleeding and dress the wound. If the bleeding cannot be stopped, the injured player will lose the match.

In the event of an injury other than bleeding, it is determined whether the injury was caused by the opponent, the player himself/herself or if both players contributed to the injury.

The injured player wins the match if the injury caused by the opponent does not allow the game to proceed immediately.

If the injury is self-inflicted, the injured player will have 3 minutes to recover and continue the game, or the ability to give up the game and use a 90-second break to recover.

If the injury was caused by the fault of both players, the injured player would be given 1 hour of recovery time.

A player who has fallen ill must continue to play or give up the game and use a 90-second break to recover. The illnesses include convulsions, emerging nausea, and breathlessness (including asthma). If the player vomits on the court, the opponent wins the game.

Obligations of the players (rule 15)

Rule 15 gives players instructions to behave in different situations. For example, in accordance with rule 15.6, intentional disturbance of the opponent is not allowed. Players should read rule 15 in full extent.

Some of the eight sub-clauses of the rule relate to situations involving the referee and the marker. The abbreviated rules do not address the issues related to the referee and the marker.

Behaviour on the court (rule 17)

A disturbing, insulting or offensive behaviour is not acceptable in squash.

This category includes verbal and visual obscenities, verbal and physical assault, objection to the decisions of the referee or the marker, misuse of a racket, ball or the court, unnecessary physical contact, exaggerated strike moves, unfair warm-up, wasting time, being late for the court, dangerous game or acts, and getting game instructions at a time other than during breaks between the games.

If the case of a more in-depth interest, you will find full-length English rules here:

Source: Website of the NGO Estonian Squash Federation,