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Squash Serve Rules and Techniques: Beginner Guide

In squash, the serve isn’t that important.

In fact, most players confess to having no idea of who the best server in professional gaming is.

This’s because most of them care less about accurate serves. But even with that, serve lines are a visible part of squash courts.

They’re meant to serve and that means if the ball hits any of them, then it’s out.

Do you want to learn more?

Below are some vital information on squash serve rules you should master;

Squash Serve rules

Court lines

The court lines include;

  • 2- outline
  • 1-serve line
  • 2-service box
  • 1-T-position
  • 1- Midline/cut-line/short line
  • The Tin

Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the court lines appearance;

In squash, players start a point with a serve.

Afterward, they alternate ball hitting until one of them wins the point.

Serving players have to choose between the two service boxes and use one of them to serve.

The opposing player should then be given sufficient time to get ready at the opposite end of the court. And they should be as close as possible to the back wall.

Once you’re both ready, it’s your time to serve.

Begin by tossing the ball gently as you focus on hitting it across the court towards your opponent’s side.

Ensure it passes the validity test by ensuring the following;

  • One of your feet must be in the service box as you serve
  • You should focus on hitting the front wall first.
  • The ball should hit COMPLETELY above the service line and not on it or lower.
  • Focus on getting your ball to land on the opposite back quarter of the playing court.
  • The ball should always be within the out of bounds lines.
  • Remember, in squash, players ONLY get one serving opportunity. So if you mess up with yours, then your opponent automatically wins.

Here are a few more serving rules to give you an upper hand over your opponent;

  • You’re allowed to serve either underhand or overhand, backhand or forehand.
  • Your serve should at least hit the back walls or the side on the fly. And if your opponent allows it to bounce on the back quarter of the playing court, the better.
  • Alternating of service boxes can take place after you win consecutive points.
  • But in case your opponent beats you to it and wins the ensuing rally, then they will have to serve from whichever service box they select.

Serve Return Rules

In squash, a good serve return is essential as it determines the enthusiasm of the game.

You also get to give your opponent a hard time; no room for a quick win that often comes as a result of a weak return.

  • But what are some of the essential serve return rules?
  • Players are allowed to let the return bounce or volley it.
  • Players should always ensure that the ball STAYS within the court and NEVER hits the tin.
  • Your return is allowed to hit off other walls as it proceeds to the front wall. Remember, it MUST somehow reach the front wall.

Where to Aim Your Serve

You now know the various serve rules and are conversant with the multiple court lines. What next?

It’s time you learn where to exactly aim your serve for a great outcome.

Remember, you focus, at all times should be to give your opponent a hard time returning your serve.

But since there are different types of serves, the targets are also different.

For instance;

  • For a lob serve, you should aim at a higher point on the front wall.
  • For a smash serve, your focus should be slightly above the service line.
  • For backhand serve, focus towards the left of the middle line, which should be ½ way up the front wall.

Here’s a video to help you understand the concept;

Types of Squash Serves

Before we start talking about types of serves, are you sure you got an appropriate racquet? Well, if you still have some doubts, please check out our buying guide on the best squash racquets to buy.

Now that you have a clue of where you should aim as you serve, let’s give you a detailed analysis of the different types of serves;

  1. The Lob Serve

The lob serve is the most commonly used serve in the game of squash.

In fact, it’s ranked first among the famous squash shots.

For this serve, your focus should be to hit and get the ball above your opponent, and way ahead

to the nearest point at the back corner.

This’s to makes it almost impossible for your opponent to move it or even return it.

Also, this serve allows you to make easy steps towards the “T”, thus giving you an upper hand in

dealing with your opponent’s return.

Additionally, when using this serve, you get to choose where your opponent can hit it since you

Already have an idea about where the ball will land.

Where to Aim

  • Slightly towards the left side of the middle or in the top third of the front wall
  • For a bounce, focus on letting your ball bounce just before it hits the back wall, as this will ensure it doesn’t bounce right back to you.
  • Aim around the height or slightly above the sidewall.
  1. Smash Serve

When you want to smash the ball, then the smash serve should be your ideal pick.

If you choose to use this serve, your focus should be to serve forcefully, while maintaining a low height.

This way, the ball gets to hit the side wall first, before bouncing several times and proceeding to hit the back.

If you take time to master this serve and do it rightly, then your opponent will have no time to prepare and that could lead to an erroneous shot.

The shot is, however, rarely used even by elites. But if you want to use it, then it could give you a plus, especially when facing a beginner.

Be careful, however, not to overshoot, as it can easily bounce back from the back wall, to give your opponent the best return.

Also, when serving, calculate your movements well such that you can easily get yourself into the T-position, in case your opponent offers an unexpected fast return.

Where to Aim

  • Focus on the spot slightly above the center at the front wall or keep slightly left of the center.
  • For the sidewall, ensure you hit on the lower level or stick to the front side of the opponent.
  • Ensure the 1st bounce happens as soon as you hit the sidewall, to allow the 2nd one to occur, closer to the back wall.
  1. Body Serve

If you want to give your opponent a surprise serve, then go for a body serve.

Here, you simply want to hit the ball at your opponent.

In this scenario, if the ball hits them, they automatically lose the rally.

And if they miss, then they are likely to go off balance, which works to your advantage.

Where to Aim

  • Don’t focus on the sidewall as the serve wouldn’t even hit it
  • Your main focus is your opponent
  • You can get a bounce, but probably right behind your opponent as it proceeds to hit the back wall.
  1. Backhand Serve

The main focus of a backhand serve is to make it difficult for your opponent to return.

And as your opponent struggles to hit, you get the opportunity to resume the T-position, without unnecessary turning.

This serve is mainly ideal for pro players and is often used by players trying to achieve a backhand shot from the forehand section of the court.

Tips to Improve Squash Serve

  1. Work on your concentration and ensure you stay focused throughout the game.

No matter how bad your previous shot was, don’t concentrate on it. Your focus should be on how to improve your next serve.

Also, close your ears to bad comments made by your opponent or referee.

  1. Aim the ball to the corners.

In squash, corners are usually the furthest points from the “T”. When you get the ball there, your opponent will obviously go after it, giving you time to ready for the next shots.

  1. Change Shots

Don’t be too obvious to your opponent by sticking to one shot. We have elaborated on the four types of serves above, use them to add a twist in the court.

  1. Stay Calm.

If you lose your cool, your opponent gets the opportunity to mess up with your concentration and you might end-up giving soft serves and poor returns.

Choose to stay calm no matter the pressure.

  1. Alternate the Pace.

Change the pace by smartly alternating between fast, soft and hard shots.

Afterward, slow things down with some deeper but slower shots, always taking note of your opponent’s response.

  1. Watch the Ball

Keep your eyes focused on the wall and not the front wall.

The best way to do this is by concentrating on the ball’s dots as it moves, with the help of your neck and head.

Avoid turning your entire body.


As much as the concept of serving doesn’t take the front position in squash game, it’s still important as it dictates the movement of the ball.

Players have to master the various serve lines, their purposes, the various types of serves and where to aim as they play.

Arthur Delucia
Experienced sports writer and a semi-professional ultimate frisbee player. When I am not training, you will find me writing new articles for SportyGen.

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