Squash doubles is a fantastic game. I used to play when I was living in New York City, but I haven’t really played since moving to Philadelphia, even though there’s a huge doubles community here. My parents and brother live in Denver, Colorado, and lots of people play there. Whenever I visit I try to get a game in with my brother. I’ve also heard there’s also a big doubles following in Toronto, Canada. There’s even a North American pro tour, which you can learn about on SDA Pro Tour Website.
Squash doubles, much like tennis doubles, is played with two players per team. Unlike tennis though, all four players are mixed together in a single court. The game is played with a hardball, which moves very fast. The court itself is much larger than a singles court. With so many bodies moving, and the ball traveling around like a laser, it makes for an exciting game. I’m talking here about the North American version of the sport. I hear in other countries they play with 4 players on a singles court, and I think they use a regular softball.
Photo by SDA Pro Tour
Left wall, right wall
When playing doubles squash, you form two teams of two players. Each team assigns a right-wall player and a left-wall player. You typically “cover” the side you’re assigned to, though you are not required to stay on your side of the court — you can help out your partner by retrieving a ball on his side. Sometimes you’ll cover a ball on your partner’s side and you’ll end up switching with your partner for the rest of the point.
In doubles, each team alternates taking a shot. It doesn’t matter which teammate plays the shot for your side. Often, there will be a rally along one wall where two players from opposing teams are duking it out. The other two players will be jostling for position on the other side of the court, waiting for a loose ball.
The serving order in squash doubles is as follows:
- At the beginning of the first game, Player A from Team 1 serves to start the game. He can start serving from either the right or left service box. He keeps serving, alternating right-and-left service boxes, until his team loses a point.
- Player A from Team 2 serves. He keeps alternating sides until his team loses a point.
- Player B from Team 2 serves. He continues serving from the opposite side of where his teammate last served. So, if his teammate last served from the left, he serves from the right, and vice versa.
- Player A from Team 1 serves, and gets to choose which side to start serving from.
- Player B from Team 1 serves, and he keeps alternating service boxes following where his teammate last served.
- The service continues alternating in this manner until the game ends.
At the start of the next game, the winning team from the last game gets to serve first. Player A from this team gets to start the game serving, and when his team loses a point, Player A from Team 2 takes over, followed by Player B from Team 2, in the same manner as described above.
Scoring in squash doubles is best 3 out of 5 games, with each game to 15 points. If the score is tied at 13-all, the team that first got to 13 gets to choose “2”, “3” or “5”. This determines the number of additional points needed to win the game. For example if 3 is chosen, the first team to win 3 additional points wins the game.
If the score becomes tied at 14-all, the team that first got to 14 gets to choose “1” or “3”.
Unlike in softball squash, you do not keep playing the game until someone wins by two points.
Lets and Strokes
Lets are very common in squash doubles. Usually, you will not play a stroke (see the squash rules for more info on strokes). If it’s a casual game, most people play the point over if there was any interference. This is because a doubles match can get pretty frenetic, and you don’t want anyone to get injured. One exception to this is if someone is up at the front of the court and hits a ball directly back at themselves. Often this will be considered a stroke, though it really depends on the tendencies of group of people that are playing.
It’s always important to wear squash goggles to protect your eyes. But it’s even more important when playing doubles squash, because the ball moves faster and there’s more happening on court. Protect your eyesight — never get on a squash court without squash goggles.