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Getting Started

Membership tag

Congratulations on getting yourself a pay-as-you-go (‘casual’) or full membership.  You or your caregivers if you are a junior will be given a key tag from the club manager.  Your tag is used to gain entry to the building and to activate the court lights.  There is a controller for the lights outside each court and full operating instructions are next to it.  Key things to remember are that:

  • The lights are programmed not to allow visitors or practice sessions during peak hours
  • A session between a member and a visitor is recorded against the member (so remember to ensure a visitor’s fee is paid!)
  • A fee for a visitor playing a casual member will be deducted from the credit on the casual member’s key tag (i.e. two court fees will be deducted for the session)
  • Booking in advance is always recommended (as is cancelling a booking if it is not going ahead)
  • Full details on court bookings are available here .

Starting and scoring games

There’s nothing to stop you from scoring games how you like, but if you’re going to play new people from time to time, you may as well adopt the common squash scoring system.  Luckily it’s very straightforward.  It’s referred to as ‘point a rally’ and games are usually ‘best of five’.  Bear with us! 

Unless you’re feeling generous and offer your opponent the chance to start serving, one of you should first stand a racquet up, spin it by its handle and the opponent make a call as to how a logo on the end of the handle will present itself after the racquet has clattered to the ground.  If the call is correct, the caller will generally choose to serve and if the call is incorrect the spinner will generally choose to serve.

The server will choose the serving box (left or right) from which to start serving.  So long as the server wins the rallies, the server must switch serving boxes for each rally.  Once the server loses the point, the opponent serves the next rally (‘handout’ is called in competition games) and chooses the serving box to start from, but again must rotate the serving box every time until he or she loses the rally.

Point a rally simply means that a point is awarded to whoever wins the rally.  The player doesn’t have to have served the rally to score a point if the rally is won.

By convention the server’s score is called first.  The first call in the match will be ‘1-0’ (one-love) if the server wins or ‘handout one-love’ if the receiver wins. 

The first player to 15 wins, but if the scores get to 14-14 (called as ‘fourteen all’) the winner is the first to win by two points, so in this situation the first winning score possible would be 16-14.  (Tennis players, this is exactly the same as winning from deuce).  There is no tie break in squash so in theory the game could go on indefinitely.

Players typically have a wee breather and some rehydration between games; a water fountain is provided in the corridor.

In squash, unlike tennis, lines are OUT.  Ask any squash member around to explain the significance of the various lines if you don’t know.  They’ll be happy to advise. 

An important rule to be aware of is that if playing your preferred shot would entail you hitting your opponent with your body, your racquet or the ball, you should pull out of the shot, shout ‘let’ and replay the point.  In competitive situations you would often be given the point itself (called a ‘stroke’; usually where your opponent should not have got in your way) but that’s getting pretty advanced and is best picked up by watching a referreed game in action from the gallery. 

To win a competition match, a player needs to win 3 games.  Therefore a person can either win 3 games to nil, 3 games to 1 game or 3 games to 2 games.  Traditionally the winner then buys the first drink in the bar afterwards!

A shower afterwards is optional but there is always a good supply of hot water so help yourself.

Keeping track of Club activities

As a member, if you have an email address you’ll be sent the club newsletter from time to time.  The squash captain may also email you information about particular squash activities.  Also look out for the squash notice boards.  There is one at the entrance to the squash corridor downstairs and a larger one upstairs at the top of the stairs.  Another way to keep in touch is to sign up to the club Facebook page and club tweets, both accessible through the homepage.


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