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photo of squash playersRules and description

Squash is an indoor racket-and-ball game played by singles or doubles players.  The game is played on court that measures 9.75 x 6.4m/32 x 21ft; doubles courts are 1.22m/4ft wider.  (US courts are 5.4m/18ft wide and players use a harder and bigger ball.

A front wall line is marked on the front of the court 4.57m/15ft high; a back wall line 2.13m/7ft at the back, with the side wall lines sloping downward from front to back.  If the ball goes above these lines it is out and the point lost.  A “cut line” or “service line”, 1.82m/6t high, also appears on the front wall.

The server stands in either “service box” and needs to hit the serve so that the ball hits the wall above the cut line and then bounces back further than the “short line” (a horizontal line marked on the floor of the court).

A Shot is made alternately and players can return the shots on the volley or after a first bounce.

A strip, is usually generally made of metal and runs across the front wall 48cm/19in high, and is known as the “tin”.  When the ball hits the tin it is “out” and the point lost.

In the usual international scoring system, the first player to 11 points wins the game and the best of five games wins the match.

Points can only be won by the server but when a rally is lost the serve transfers to the opponent.

In the American scoring system, which is also used in some international competitions, points are won regardless of who is serving and games are to 15 points.

The racket measures no more than 68.5cm/27in and the round head must not exceed 21.5cm/8.5in in length or 18,.4cm/7.25in in width.  The ball is black, squashy and light, weighing around 24g (less than an ounce).

The jargon

Here’s a quick run through on some of the common terms used in squash and squash 57:

Serve – starting a rally by hitting the ball (underarm or overarm) against the front wall.

Let – if your swing is impeded by your opponent, then a let is called and neither player wins a point.

Stroke – if your swing is prevented by your opponent, a stroke is called and you win the point.

Out line – the line running around the top of the court. If the ball hits the red line that marks the top of the court then it’s out.

Service line – the line on the front wall in between the tin and out lines.

Tin – area below the lowest red line and on the front wall, if the ball hits this line or below then it’s out.

The T – the T shape in the middle of the court where the lines meet.

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