Here are some basics on how to play squash. This article will give you a quick strategy overview. This article won’t go into detail on scoring, how to hit valid serves, or other technical aspects — you can read more about that stuff in the squash rules.
Get the ball safely in play
Every squash point starts with a serve. In order to progress past a basic level in squash, you must learn to serve and return serve. It’s best to practice serves and returns with a partner, or with a coach.
First, make sure you can hit your serve “in” consistently. Try to serve the ball so that it makes contact with the opposite side-wall. Ideally, it should hit the wall across from wherever your opponent is standing to return serve, which will make it more difficult for him to return it cleanly.
If you’re returning serve, stand in the center of your quarter of the court. Pay attention to the ball as your opponent serves it and try to anticipate its flight path. Generally, you want to hit your return fairly high, ideally above the line on the front wall, so that you send your opponent into the back of the court.
Keep it deep
Learn to hit balls to good depth. This is my #1 piece of advice on how to play squash. Good depth means driving your opponent into the back corners of the court. This will make it more difficult for them to return the ball. It also means you can then stand in the middle of the court, ready to pounce on whatever shot your opponent hits.
Ideally, aim your shots so that the first bounce lands in either of the service boxes (the square boxes painted on the floor, which you serve from), and the second bounce hits the back wall an inch or two above the floor. This is ideal, but it requires a bit of pace and accuracy on your shots.
If you are a beginner, just work on getting your opponent as deep in the court as possible. Hit the ball high on the wall and it’ll be easier to get it deep. It’s more important to get the ball deep than to hit it hard.
Keep it tight
You want to try and keep the ball close to the wall. This makes your opponent’s life more difficult. When in doubt, hit down the wall. Hit cross-court once in a while to keep him honest.
Control the T
After you hit your shot, you want to recover as quickly as possible to the center of the court. This is often referred to as the “T”, because the service lines painted on the floor form a letter T. If you spend more time than your opponent in this general area, you are controlling the game.
Develop your short game
If you drive your opponent into the back of the court and force him to cough up a loose ball in the center of the court, what are you going to do? You can keep driving him to the back of the court, but eventually you’ll want to develop some shots that move him to the front of the court.
Practice these shots by yourself or with a partner. Work on hitting the ball about a foot above the front-wall tin, and having them land on the floor, as close to the wall as possible.
Experienced players will aim for the “nick”, the spot where the side wall meets the floor. If you can land your ball in the nick, it will die more quickly and be more difficult — sometimes even impossible — to retrieve.