Squash is an intense sport to play and watch. But if you don’t know the rules or the scoring system, watching a game of squash can be somewhat confusing. There are two main scoring methods, and you should know both to understand the game. So, how is squash scored?
In a squash match, you will play 5 games. Whoever wins 3 of the 5 games wins the match. There are two central scoring systems: the PAR scoring system and the HIHO or English scoring system. You must score 11 points in the PAR system to win a game. In the HIHO system, you need 9 points.
To help you understand exactly how the scoring system in squash works, we will explain the PAR scoring system and the HIHO or English scoring system. Then, we will discuss how a player can score points during a squash game and what happens if one player obstructs the other. This article will help you to understand exactly how squash is scored.
How Does The Scoring Work In Squash?
As mentioned above, there are two possible scoring systems in squash. The older scoring system is the HIHO (hand-in-hand-out) or English scoring system. In this system, you can only score a point when you are serving, and the first player to get 9 points wins the game. Although the English scoring method is older, it is no longer used as often.
The more popular scoring system is the PAR (point-a-rally) method. In the PAR system, you can score a point regardless of whether it is your turn to serve or not. The first player who gets 11 points wins the game. The PAR scoring system is the one mainly used today in tournaments.
All junior tournaments use the PAR scoring system. Now, let’s see how you can score points in the English and PAR scoring systems.
The English Scoring System
The English squash scoring system is the older of the two and is the scoring system that was used first in squash. Although it is not as common today, knowing how this scoring system works is helpful if you encounter it one day.
You can only score a point in the English scoring system if you serve the ball. If you aren’t serving the ball and the other player misses it, it is your turn to serve. This scoring system is similar to volleyball and essentially means that you must win two rallies to score a point.
The first person to score 9 points wins the game, and the first person to win 3 of the 5 games wins the match. If players are tied with 8 points each, they can choose to play up to 9 or 10 points. This decision is made by the person who doesn’t have the serve at that time.
The English scoring system makes the squash match longer because a player needs to win 2 rallies to get the point. Therefore, this scoring system isn’t used as often anymore and never for junior tournaments.
The PAR Scoring System
The PAR scoring system is newer than the English scoring system. It has recently become the more popular one. In the PAR scoring system, you can score a point regardless of whether you are the one serving or not. If your opponent misses the ball, you will get the point.
The first person to get 11 points wins the game, and the first person to win 3 rounds wins the match. If players are tied at 10 points each, you must win 2 rallies to win the game. The PAR scoring system is used in all junior tournaments and most senior tournaments nowadays.
The PAR scoring system ensures the game is constantly moving and allows for a shorter match time. This is possibly why it is the preferred scoring method in squash.
Now that we have discussed the different scoring methods, you might want to know how you go about scoring points while playing squash.
How To Score Points In Squash
The objective of squash is to force your opponent to make an error while avoiding those errors yourself. These errors may cause you to miss the ball or let it hop twice before hitting it, giving your opponent a point.
So, how are points awarded in squash? There are a few ways. The first is if the ball lands on the outlines or in the tin zone. The tin zone is at the bottom of the wall and is similar to the net in tennis. So, if the ball touches the tin zone or outlines, a point is awarded to the opponent receiving the ball.
Another way points are awarded is when the ball hops more than once before it is returned. In this case, the point is also awarded to the player receiving the ball. In addition, if the ball touches you or your clothes before you return it, a point is awarded to your opponent.
Finally, you can be awarded a point if your opponent connects with the ball more than once before returning it to you. This is called a carry and is not allowed while playing. You can hit the ball on the side walls or back wall as often as you like, but your opponent will award a point if the ball lands on the outlines or above the outlines.
When playing squash, you aim to force your opponent to make one of the above errors. There are various tactics for doing this, such as:
- Drive shots
- Drop shots
- Lob shots
- Boast shots
- Kill shots
- Volley shots
As your squash game improves, you will learn to control and counter these shots and will be able to score points based on the errors of your opponent. However, don’t get too confident, as your errors will cause the opponent to earn points.
Sometimes your opponent might obstruct the ball or the court and force you to make an error. This isn’t allowed in squash. So, what do you do if the ball is obstructed?
Referee Decisions In Case Of Obstructions
Suppose your opponent obstructs the ball or prevents you from hitting it because they are in the way. In that case, the referee will decide whether a point should be awarded. They can make one of 3 calls at this time.
If they decide the obstruction was an accident and your opponent didn’t mean to get in the way, they will call a Let. In this case, the rally will be replayed, and the game continues without any points being awarded for that rally.
However, if the referee determines that your opponent didn’t obstruct the play and you could have taken the shot but failed to do so, they will call a No Let. In this case, your opponent is awarded a point because you missed the ball.
The final call a referee can make is known as a Stroke. A stroke is when the referee determines that your opponent did obstruct your play without attempting to get out of the way. The point is then awarded to you.
There are two scoring systems in squash. The older, less popular scoring system is the English scoring system. The more popular scoring system is the PAR scoring system. Both scoring systems determine a winner based on their points per game, and the first player to win 3 out of the possible 5 rounds, wins the match.
There are various tactics for scoring points, and you can also appeal a point if your opponent is obstructing the play. In this case, the referee will decide who gets awarded the point. Hopefully, this article helps you understand the scoring system for squash and makes watching a game of squash more interesting.