A Beginner's Guide on How to Play Squash

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Camera Icon Sven Mieke / Unsplash

Objective of the Game

The objective of squash is to hit the ball against the front wall above the tin and below the outline, making it difficult for your opponent to return the shot. Players take turns hitting the ball against the front wall, aiming for strategic shots to outmaneuver and outscore their opponent.


To play squash, you'll need the following equipment:

  • Squash racket: Choose a racket that feels comfortable and suits your playing style. Rackets come in various weights and balances, so try different options to find the one that works best for you.

  • Squash ball: Squash balls come in different speeds denoted by colored dots on the ball. Beginners typically start with a ball marked with a single yellow dot, which offers a slower pace and more bounce.

  • Non-marking indoor court shoes: Wear shoes with non-marking soles specifically designed for indoor court sports. This helps to protect the court surface and provides good traction.

Court and Scoring

Squash is played in a four-walled court with a front wall, side walls, and a back wall. The court is marked with lines that define the boundaries for play. Scoring is based on the traditional "hand-in-hand-out" system, where points can only be scored by the server.

The Fundamentals


Hold the racket with a firm but relaxed grip. The most common grip in squash is the "closed" or "shake hands" grip, where the handle is held similar to shaking hands with someone.

Swing Technique

The swing technique in squash consists of three main phases:

  1. Backswing: Start with your racket back and parallel to the side wall, preparing to hit the ball.

  2. Forward swing: Initiate the forward swing by stepping toward the ball and rotating your hips and shoulders. As you swing forward, aim to make contact with the ball in front of your body.

  3. Follow-through: After hitting the ball, follow through with your racket, extending your arm toward the front wall.

Movement and Footwork

Efficient movement and footwork are essential in squash. Some key footwork techniques to master include:

  • Split-step: Anticipate your opponent's shot by performing a small jump and landing with your feet shoulder-width apart just before they hit the ball.

  • Recovery step: After hitting the ball, quickly recover back to the center of the court to maintain a good position and be ready for your opponent's next shot.

  • Sideways movement: Move laterally across the court using small shuffle steps to position yourself for the ball.

Strategy and Tactics

To excel in squash, consider the following strategic elements:

  • Shot selection: Choose your shots wisely based on your position on the court and your opponent's positioning. Aim for shots that keep your opponent off-balance and make it difficult for them to return the ball.

  • Court positioning: Maintain good court coverage by positioning yourself strategically. Try to hold the "T" position, which is the center of the court, to have easy access to all areas of the court.

  • Deception: Incorporate deceptive shots, such as disguising your shot direction or using unexpected shot selections, to keep your opponent guessing and off guard.

Practice and Improvement

To enhance your squash skills, consider the following tips:

  • Regular practice: Dedicate regular practice sessions to work on your technique, footwork, and overall fitness.

  • Playing matches: Play friendly matches with different opponents to apply your skills in game-like situations and gain experience.

  • Seek coaching: Consider taking lessons from a qualified squash coach who can provide guidance, correct your technique, and help you improve strategically.