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Alex Robertson
By Alex Robertson on August 04, 2023

Squash Etiquette

I find etiquette in squash to be an interesting topic to think about. There are a bunch of unwritten rules that most squash players across the globe tend to follow.

Although it's quite a generalization, I think that the vast majority of squash players are respectful and show great sportsmanship. The sport tends to attract very friendly types of people and unsportsmanlike behaviour is pretty rare.

Whether it's before a match, during a match, or after a match, there are certain things that everyone just does.

I thought it'd be an interesting topic to cover in a newsletter and it may also be helpful to newer players who are perhaps unsure of certain actions and behaviours that they see other squash players demonstrate.

So, in this article, I'll be going through a bunch of different examples of squash etiquette and why they're important...

Shaking Hands

This is probably the first thing most players think of when talking about squash etiquette. You should shake your opponent's hand after every single match you play, regardless of whether you won or lost,

Even if there were disagreements in the match, the moment you shake hands with your opponent, it symbolises that the better player won on the day and that you both agree to leave everything on the court.

You should also shake your opponent's hand before every match too (especially if they're a player that you haven't played or met before), although, I'd say that this isn't as crucial as the post-match handshake.

If a player refuses to shake hands at the end of the match, it's a pretty big deal. This is a rare occurrence but it does happen if a player believes that their opponent played particularly unfairly or dangerously.

Overall, shaking hands after a match is a meaningful gesture that is seen in pretty much all sports (including squash). It reinforces the values of respect, sportsmanship, and camaraderie that are essential in sport.

Number Of Shots To Take When Warming Up 

Believe it or not, this is the topic of much debate within the squash community. When warming up, players take a few shots to themselves and then hit the ball cross court to their opponent.

Some people think you should only play one shot and then hit a crosscourt, others believe that you should take at least two or three. I personally lean more toward the latter.

One of the main purposes of a warm-up is to prepare specific shots for match play (although a lot of players are guilty of just whacking drives and not hitting any other shots), so I would say that one shot then a cross court isn't really enough.

Generally, I'd advise hitting two or three shots to yourself and then hitting a cross court. Make sure to mix it up a bit and warm up your drops, drives, and volleys if you can.

Keep in mind that time is an element too, for example, if you're hitting some slow floaty lobs to yourself, three shots will actually take quite a long time, whereas if you're hitting fast volleys back to yourself a bit closer to the front wall, you can play three or four shots very quickly.

Problems generally tend to arise when players take five or more shots before passing the ball back to their opponent. This is something I see pretty often with junior players.

They're very rarely doing it on purpose, it usually stems from them just loving squash a lot and wanting to hit the ball as much as possible.

Generally, they just need to be gently reminded by a referee or parent that their opponent needs to warm up too, and to try to play two or three shots instead.

Calling Your Double Bounces

This is a pretty important part of squash etiquette. I know many players with a kind of 'win at all costs' mentality, however, double bounces are generally where the line is drawn.

If you play the ball after it has bounced twice and you're 100% aware of it, you should always call it and let your opponent have the point.

It's the ethical, fair, and appropriate thing to do, especially if your opponent or the referee hasn't noticed it.

An interesting point is that if you start taking double bounces and get caught trying to do it, there's a chance your opponent feels like it's acceptable to do the same. It also reflects very poorly on you and you don't want a reputation of being a cheater.

There's not much more to say about it really, just be as honest as you can with double bounces. With that said, there are of course situations in which you will be unsure, and that's when it's the time to leave it to the referee to decide.

Or, if you and your opponent are both unsure and there is no referee, just play a let.

What To Wear

Non-marking soled shoes are an absolute must. Nearly all pairs of indoor court shoes have non-marking soles, but it's definitely still worth double-checking this before you go on court.

If they do have marking soles, they'll leave some terrible black marks on the floor which can be time-consuming and costly to fix.

Also, make sure your squash shoes aren't dirty as this will ruin the floor as well.

With regards to other clothing, you can wear what you want more or less, but given the sweaty nature of squash, it's advisable to wear a pair of shorts and a T-shirt made from some kind of absorbent material if possible.


Squash is incredibly fast-paced and requires a lot of split-second decisions. With that in mind, it's also pretty self-evident that you should avoid dangerous plays wherever possible.

If you think there is any chance at all that you may hit your opponent with either the racquet or the ball, just stop and say 'please'. Even if you think you might be able to win the point, it's not worth the risk.

A squash ball or racquet can do a heck of a lot of damage. I've been on the receiving end of a few hits in my time and they were not pretty. There is a rule in squash where you will receive a stroke and win the point in certain situations if you hit your opponent, so it's easy to see why players might be tempted to try that, but again, it's just not worth the risk.

If you're in doubt about a decision and there is no referee, just play a let.


Photo Credit: Steve Cubbins

Be On Time

This one kind of goes without saying, but make sure you turn up on time. Whether you're training, playing a friendly, or playing an important match, it's just good manners to be on time.

It's not fair to keep your opponent (and anyone else it may impact) waiting.

If, due to unforeseen circumstances, you are going to turn up late, make sure to call ahead of time so you can at least let your opponent know.

Acknowledging Good Shots

This isn't absolutely necessary, but I like to think that, if your opponent plays a good shot, it's good etiquette to acknowledge it and tell them 'good shot'.

It doesn't take a lot of effort and it's just a sportsmanlike way to show your enthusiasm and keep the game enjoyable for you both. If you do this, your opponent is also a little more likely to do it back to you which is always nice!

Passing The Ball To Your Opponent Between Points

Another problem I often see amongst juniors (although I've seen adult players guilty of this too) is either not passing the ball to your opponent in between points, or passing it to them in a poor manner.

Often what happens is, a player will lose a point and be frustrated about it and then smack the ball off of the front wall towards their opponent, which isn't a great way to conduct yourself on court.

The other situation is where the player who lost the point is closer to the ball, but just walks away from it leaving their opponent to have to go and get it.

Of course, it's not great sportsmanship to do this.

Ideally, you just gently throw the ball to your opponent or hit a light shot that lands near them before you begin the next rally.

Arguing With The Referee (Or Your Opponent)

Tensions can run pretty high in squash given its fast-paced, high-pressure nature. If you get a decision from the referee that you don't agree with it can be tempting to dispute it, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, once you start actually arguing, then it becomes a bit more of a problem.

The same goes for situations where your opponent perhaps did something you didn't like or tried to claim a shot that you believe was a double bounce, for example.

You should avoid arguing and becoming verbally abusive at all costs, it's terrible sportsmanship and puts a real downer on matches.

It also shows mental weakness as it indicates that you're distracted from the game itself. Your opponent may be able to capitalise on this too, so it's a lose-lose situation.

As I mentioned further up, if you're in doubt about a situation or decision and there is no referee, just play a let. It saves the hassle and keeps the game enjoyable for both players.

If there is a referee, by all means let them know that you don't agree with their decision, but do it politely and calmly. Perhaps ask them why they made the decision they did.

Remember, refereeing is quite tough and nobody is going to get all the calls correct 100% of the time. Also, you may be the one in the wrong anyway!

Frustration And Racquet Abuse

Hitting your racquet off of the wall or the floor is an absolute no-go. Not only can you break your racquet (which is expensive to replace), but you also run the risk of getting a conduct warning or stroke from the referee.

It makes you look mentally weak too and it also puts a bit of a downer on the match as a whole. Again, your opponent may be able to take advantage of this and use it as fuel to build momentum and win more points.

Similarly, shouting in between points can also demonstrate that you're not in a good place mentally.

By all means air your frustration after losing a tough point, but keep it within reason. Try to give yourself constructive feedback rather than just shouting at yourself.


If you've just won a tough match, it can be quite an emotional moment, especially if there was a lot riding on that match. By all means, celebrate your victory, but don't go overboard and keep it respectful to your opponent.

Always make sure to shake their hand as a priority, then you can carry on your celebration.

Try Your Best

As mentioned at the bottom, this article was taken from our 'On The 'T' Newsletter'. We often get feedback from our readers which is always good to hear.

This piece of squash etiquette wasn't actually in the original newsletter, however, in a glowingly nice email from one reader in particular about squash etiquette, they also mentioned that trying your best is a crucial piece of squash etiquette, and they were absolutely correct!

In fact, this is probably the piece of etiquette that I see broken the most often. Again, especially amongst younger players, it's not uncommon to see them give up or stop trying if a decision doesn't go their way or if their opponent starts to pull ahead.

This is definitely poor sportsmanship as it's not fair on your opponent who has turned up to have the best game of squash possible. If you just let them win without trying, then you've essentially wasted their journey.

One of the only times 'not trying' is acceptable is if, for example, you're in the middle of a tough match and you're 2-1 up. You may have put a lot of physical work into the two games you won, and your opponent may be capitalising on this in the fourth. Rather than exhaust yourself in every single rally, a different strategy (that is seen often amongst pros) is to slow things down and conserve your energy for the fifth game instead.

Just remember that 'not trying' and making the tactical decision to conserve your energy in a tough match are two very different things!

Anyway, that's about it really.

There are, of course, many more examples of good squash etiquette, so please feel free to send them in and I can add them to this list!

This article was taken from our On The 'T' Newsletter, if you're interested in receiving more content like this, please feel free to sign up using the subscribe section located at the bottom left of this page (or underneath the article if you're on mobile), thanks!

Published by Alex Robertson August 4, 2023
Alex Robertson