[Updated on 1 June 2020] The Beginner’s Guide to Squash video was made by a student who does a great job explaining the basics of squash for a beginner. He covers all the basics from how to hold the racquet to the mechanics of a squash rally to the different kinds of shots you can execute on the court.
Beginner’s Guide to Squash Summary
- When you grip the racquet, you should hold it firmly, see a V with your thumb and index finger and have a cocked (steady) wrist when swinging
- Squash has rally scoring and you win a point by returning a ball to the front wall and having the ball bounce twice before your opponent can hit the ball back to the front wall
- The calls a referee can make are let, no let and stroke. The most common call a referee makes in squash is a let call, where the player is interfered with on the path to hitting the ball
- The 3 basic shots in squash are the straight drive, cross-court, and drop shot. The drop shot is used to attack, while the drive and cross-court are used to move your opponent away from the T
Beginners Guide to Squash Transcript
Squash originated in the mid 19th century in England and grew in popularity around the 1920s. Now, squash is a world-renowned racquet sport played in an enclosed court. There is a front wall to side walls and a back wall, the center area is known as the key as you can see the lines that intersect at the “T”.
Traditional games are best-of-five games and played between two flames and the aim of the game is to win three out of five games. Each game the points go up to 11 and if both players make it to 10, the game continues until somebody wins by 2 points (like 12-10, 15-13).
First, you need to know how to hold a racket, in racket choose one that is comfortable and isn’t too heavy or too light. A racket from brands such as Prince Dunlop and Tecnifiber is what a squash player will use.
Holding the racket firm around the grip, it looks like the front side your thumb wraps around it and the edge of the racket is aligned with the area between your thumb and index finger and on the back side of your index finger wrapped around it like a hook while the rest of your fingers wrapped around the grip. Keep in mind here when hitting the ball the wrist should not move and stay firm.
The squash ball is a tiny rubber ball with a diameter of four centimeters. There are different variations in squash ball, some of them are bouncy which are helpful for beginners until you get the hang of hitting it. The common training and competition ball is a double yellow ball one with the two yellow dots on it.
Points and Scoring in Squash
Now, back to winning and earning points. Each point consists of a rally in which two players take alternating turns set the ball. The ball must hit the front wall before the next player can perform the shot. In each turn, players are allowed a maximum of one bounce of the ball on the ground before they play their shot. If the ball bounces on the ground twice then the player who hit the ball earns a point. The referee will call the rally over, and therefore, a point will be awarded.
A rally starts by a serve from the player who won the last point. To serve the ball, the player serving must have at least one foot within the service box. The serve must first hit the front wall, it must be above the service line and pass the short line on the opposite side of the half-court. Initially, the first serve of the ball must hit this area where your opponent will be and that will initiate the rally.
If the player was serving from the opposite side and the serve touches the service line or below, or if it doesn’t make it past a short line in the opposite of the half-court line, the referee will call a foul and awards a point to the opposition. However, the area above the side wall line is considered out and if the ball touches above the line the ball is out. Therefore it’s a point to the opposition. This is not just within a serve but anytime during a rally, if the ball touches the outline or above it will be a point to the opposition and if the serve hits the tin the ball is down and it’s a point to the opposition. This is also not just within the serve but any time during a rally if the ball hits the tin it will be a point to the opposition.
Squash Referee Calls
A couple of important referee calls are a let, no let, and stroke. These calls are in regard to interference where your opponent is interfering with your path towards the ball. If there’s a slight interference from player one as player two is moving towards the trajectory of the ball, then player two would not hit the ball and call for a let by saying “let please.” When the referee says “yes let” that means the rally restarts again. Keep in mind that if you’re calling for a let you need to show a sufficient amount of effort in getting the ball.
A no let call is basically the opposite of a let call when your opponent has no interference with your path towards the ball here. Player one has hit a tight ball against the side wall and has cleared the path for player two. Player two may say “let please” and the referee will say “no net”, therefore, it will be a point for player one player.
A stroke is when there is complete interference between your opponent and your path towards the ball or if your opponent’s completely in the area of your swing. If player one intended to clear out of the path but was not clearing properly and fast enough, then player two would appeal to the referee. When the stroke is granted, there will be a point for player two. The stroke is only granted if player two shows a sufficient amount of effort to play the ball.
Basic Shots in Squash
Next, are the shots such as a straight drive, a cross-court, and a drop shot. The drop is a basic shot and it’s a straight line down to the back wall either on the back end or whore inside of the core on the forehand side.
From the forehand side, you have your left leg in front of your right leg with both legs about shoulder width apart. When you swing the momentum will cut onto your left leg, therefore, your stance will be stable and you won’t fall and your body should be facing the side wall. The swing starts with your racket up so that the grip is around ear level in order to generate power in the shot.
Then the swing starts with the elbow bent in a v-shape upon impact of the ball the arm extends then you hit it and then it’s the follow through all the way back up to the opposite side of the ear. This will generate maximum power in the swing and is important to get it right because it’s the base of the whole game.
On the backhand side, the right leg would be in front of your left leg and the swing starts from your ear level and you follow through once you get the hang of it.
You can try the volley drive show next. With a coach or player to feed your volley, you hit the ball and same way like a normal. A straight drive would be the first choice but the second shot would be the cross-court shot with the ball going from one side of the court to the other. Ideally, it should land in the back corner to put more pressure on your opponent. For this shot, you need to open your body a little more and get the right angle. The swing is exactly the same except you’re just hitting the ball in a different angle in a different place on the wall.
As you can see previously with the drive you hit the ball in this area of the wall. However, with a cross-court, you should hit towards the middle of the wall. The backhand cross-court is just the opposite from the forehand: right leg in front as usual and you’re aiming the ball around the middle area of the front wall.
The third shot is the boast. The boast will hit the side wall first and then the front wall. On the forehand side your stance is the same but you position your left-hand shoulder towards the sidewall and aim the ball around here on the sidewall. If you aim higher the boast will go higher and this will allow more time for your opponent, which is not ideal. But if it’s too low it will hit the tin and you lose a point due to your mistake; so you need the practice to get it right. Aim for this area in the side wall and hit it towards the direction on the backhand side.
It’s the opposite on the backhand position stance with your right leg in front and your right shoulder should be facing the wall and hit the ball around the middle height area of the sidewall.
For the volley shot, it’s the same but you’re hitting the ball at a higher point. You can aim lower on the sidewall so it will cause the ball to be quicker and allow for a lot less time for your opponent.
The fourth and final shot is the drop shot. It is a soft shot with backspin towards the front corner. It’s like a slight push of the ball into the front corner however there’s a cut down on the ball as you hit it. You can hear the sound of the cut and this provides backspin on the ball and causes the ball to travel faster as well as have a sharp drop towards the ground. Also, the follow-through is shorter than other shots because there is more technique than power in the shot.