An Introduction to Squash Terminology

Like any sport, squash has specific names for equipment, strokes, and scoring. Whether you’re starting to play, or just thinking about starting, you’ll want to be familiar with them so you can communicate with your partners and opponents. In this piece, we’ll provide you with an introduction to squash terminology, exploring the basic concept so you won’t feel lost on the cort.

squash technique

An Introduction to Squash Terminology


Let’s start with the racket. There are four parts: grip, head, shaft, and throat.
The grip is at the straight end of the racket, the taped area you hold when you swing it.
The head is the circular area that contains the strings and is measured in the specifications in square centimetres.
The shaft connects the grip to the head.
The throat is the area that connects the head to the shaft.

Squash rackets

To choose a racket that’s right for you, several factors should be considered, including:

  1. This is the total weight of the racket. This term can be misleading, as some manufacturers give the weight of the head only. Also, tape and strings will add weight, which must be figured into the final evaluation of what weight’s right for you. Most beginners start with a heavier racket; most pro’s use a lighter one. Heavier rackets tend to be more durable, and don’t have to be replaced as often.
  2. As in any racket sport, the balance of the racket is important and must fit the preferences and style of the player. One benefit of a racket that’s fairly head heavy is it gives beginners a good feeling for where the racket head is as they swing. Head light rackets are a bit more maneuverable and can be swung more quickly.

Find the best rackets for squash in the article available on the market now: Best Squash Rackets

Strings and string patterns

There are many different string patterns, which is the way the horizontal strings cross the vertical ones, and how many there are. They vary with different head shapes and provide different degrees of tension.

squash racket types. an introduction to squash terminology

Throat shape

The throat is the area that joins the shaft to the head.

There are at least three common types: open, closed, and hybrid.

Closed means there is a large roughly V-shaped open area; open means the head basically joins the shaft with no visible throat; the hybrid is a small, open V-shaped area joining the head to the shaft.

Facets Of The Game

In squash, like in many sports, the term “facets of the game” refers to the various components, skills, and aspects that come together to define the entirety of the sport. These facets can encompass a broad range of elements, from the technical skills like serving, volleying, and shot placement, to the strategic elements like court positioning and reading your opponent’s movements, to the physical components like stamina, agility, and strength, and even the mental aspects such as concentration, determination, and handling pressure.

Mastering each facet is crucial to becoming a well-rounded and successful squash player.

squash game. an introduction to squash terminology

As in any other game, there are many terms describing various facets of the game, many of them unique to squash. Among them are:

  1. A serve the opponent not only can’t reach but can’t put a racket on.
  2. The area along a sidewall
  3. A horizontal mark on the front wall, just above the tin.
  4. A strong shot hit to the front wall.
  5. A shot struck so softly it hits the front wall and dies, making it un-returnable.
  6. An unacceptable serve.


squash game techniques


In squash, there are various moves or shots that players use, both for offensive and defensive purposes. Here are some of the key moves in squash:


A powerful shot that sends the ball traveling parallel to the sidewalls. It’s used to push the opponent to the back of the court.


When the ball is hit into the side wall before it reaches the front wall. This shot can be used as a defensive or an attacking move.

Hot ball

A ball that has been warmed up by being struck, making it bouncier.

  1. A hard-hit shot that’s un-returnable.
  2. Called when a point must be replayed.
  3. A shot that hits the front wall first then hits the crack between the floor and a sidewall. Usually unreturnable.

Drop shot

A delicate shot that just barely goes over the tin and lands softly at the front of the court. This move is used to catch an opponent off-guard, especially if they’re positioned at the back.


A high shot that is hit softly and arcs over an opponent, landing at the back of the court.


As the name suggests, this shot sends the ball diagonally across the court.

Straight kill

A powerful shot hit low on the front wall, aiming to end the rally by making the ball bounce twice before the opponent can get to it.

Do you wonder about tennis scoring, resolve your doubts by reading: Tennis Scoring Origin: Why is Tennis Scored 15 30 40?

Not up

The ball was not legally struck according to the rules. For example, a ball that bounces twice on the floor before being struck.

  1. A shot that has struck the outline or otherwise struck the wall improperly
  2. A continuous line running around the court marking the highest point at which a ball may legally strike the wall.
  3. Won when the opponent fails to return a shot.

Counter drop

When a player responds to a drop shot with another drop shot.

Half volley

A shot played just after the ball hits the floor.

Halfcourt line. A line parallel to the side walls divides the back of the court into equal parts.
Hand out. Change of server.

  1. The time from when a player begins to serve until they become a receiver.


A shot taken before the ball bounces. It’s an aggressive move to take control of the rally and keep the opponent moving.

Nick shot

Aiming the ball to hit the junction between the side wall and the floor, making it almost impossible for the opponent to retrieve.

Squeeze shot

This shot traps the ball between the side wall and the front wall, making it difficult for the opponent to retrieve.


A deceptive wrist movement that can change the direction of the ball at the last moment.


Game ball

When the server needs only one point to win the game.

  1. The first player to reach nine points wins the game.
  2. A difficult successful return.

Putaway or Winner

An unreturnable shot.

  1. Starts when the server puts the ball in play and ends when one of the players fails to return a shot.


Parts of Court

parts of court

Service box

A box outlined on the floor of the court in which the player must stand to serve.

Short line

A line across the width of the court marking the front of the service box.

The T

A space on the floor where the short line is joined by the halfcourt line. Staying “in the T” gives a player the best chance to return an opponent’s shot.

  1. A metal strip across the lower part of the front wall makes a distinctive sound when struck by the ball. The ball must strike the wall above the tin to be a good shot.
  2. Returning a shot before it bounces. Also referred to by players as “picking it off the floor.”




Is Squash Terminology Clear Now?

Understanding squash terminology is essential for anyone looking to delve into the sport, whether as a player, spectator, or enthusiast. Familiarizing yourself with these terms not only enhances your comprehension of the game but also elevates your appreciation for the nuances and strategies that players employ during matches.

Whether you’re stepping onto the court for the first time or simply wanting to follow a match more closely, having a grasp on these basic terms will certainly serve you well in your squash journey.

If you’re still confused with all this terms and moves and want to progress fast in squash, maybe it’s a right time to read: 15 Best Ways to Improve Your Squash Techniques 



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About Mark Bailey

I’m Mark Bailey. I’ve been in the racket sports industry for 11 years and counting! You could say I’m a bit of a racket guru. I have experience with tennis, squash, badminton and table tennis at an international level. My blog is all about providing you with tips to improve your game as well as sharing my experiences from different tournaments around the world. In addition to this, when there’s snow on the ground (in winter) I like to take advantage of it by going snowboarding in France! And even when there’s not any snow left… My Labrador Rocky always needs walking!

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