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Can A Squash Serve Hit The Back Wall?

Many beginners are unsure of the question of whether a squash serve can hit the back wall on the full or not. Players of racquetball are familiar with the rule that a serve cannot hit the back wall before it bounces. 

But can a squash serve hit the back wall? Yes, a squash serve can hit the back wall on the full. As long as the serve’s first bounce is inside the opponent’s half court, and the serve hits the front wall first, the ball can hit any number of walls on the full or after the first bounce.  

This article will look a little deeper into answering this question, and also provide some helpful starter tips in learning how to serve effectively in squash.

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Hitting The Back Wall

So then, a squash serve that hits the back wall on the full is a perfectly legitimate shot. The main way this type of serve is used is for a serve down the middle of the court. This is not the standard way to serve, but is often used as a variation.

A variation of the standard lob serve is to hit the ball over your opponent so that it hits the back wall first, and the bounce takes it towards the side wall. This is different to the usual lob serve that hits the sidewall before bouncing near the back wall.

A drive serve could potentially hit the back wall first, but this would be very unusual and mostly seen in beginners games. 

Is It Good To Hit The Back Wall On The Full?

Usually no, it’s not a great idea. There are several reasons why not:

  • A ball that hits the back wall on the full will be bouncing back out a long way towards the middle of the court. This is the area that you want to keep your opponent away from, as whoever controls the centre controls the rally
  • A serve bouncing back near the middle of the court is inviting several different shots to kill it – a drop, a trickle boast or a low kill
  • It is hard to get a good position on the T unless your opponent is in the corner
  • The hight on the ball can make it vulnerable to being smashed back

Rules of Serve

The main rules of the service are reasonably simple:

  • The server must have at least one foot inside the service box at the moment of striking the serve
  • The serve must hit the front wall first
  • The ball must hit the front wall above the service line but below the top line
  • The ball can hit any number of wall after first hitting the front wall
  • The ball can hit the back wall on the full
  • The serve can be volleyed or hit after one bounce
  • The serve must bounce inside the opponent’s half of the back section of the court. 

Types of Serve

There are several typs of staple serves that are used the majority of the time. These are:

  1. The Lob Serve – This can be a lethal weapon against beginners, and is an excellent type of serve in any standard. A perfect lob serve is high and slow, and hits high up on the side wall before dying near the back wall. The lob serve is great because it forces your opponent’s shot. Very few replies are possible, with the standard one being an attempted volley back down the line. A lob serve also allows you lots of time to leisurely get to the T
  2. The Drive Serve – This is another very common serve. The ball is smashed hard and low, intending to hit the sidewall quite low down, and then bounce before the back wall. This serve attempts to rush your opponent for pace, and hopes for a weak shot caused by lack of racket preparation or poor footwork.
  3. The Backhand Serve – This is only normally used against your opponent’s backhand. This serve allows the ball to remain reasonably tight to the side wall. The idea is to throw the ball towards the middle of the court, and step over towards it to stike using a backhand shot. This movement allows you to make contact close to the middle of the court, and so reduces the angle. 
  4. The Body Serve – This is normally used more as a variation. The idea is to smash the ball hard at your opponent. This serve is used as a kind of shock tactic. You want to wrong foot your opponent, or get them to play a loose shot becuase they were expecting something else. 

What Makes A Good Server?

Variation is crucial to get good value from your serves. If your opponent knows where they are coming, then they can prepare and counter your serves much more effectively.

Mix up the level of speed you put on the ball, the angle of the shot, and also where you are aiming. Try to use some different serves occasionally, even if you prefer one type of serve as your staple.

Accuracy is a very important component of good serving. If you hit good areas with your serves, and keep them close to the back corner then you will do well. Poor serves are ones that end up too close to the middle of the court, or are too easy to strike from a forward position. 

Suss out your opponents strengths and weaknesses. If they are killing your lobs serves then try a body serve or a backhand serve down the line. Assess, and respond accordingly.

Where Do You Aim When You Serve?

This depends on the type of serve you are trying. 

If it is a lob serve, then aim high up on the front wall near to the top line, and about halfway across the front wall.

If it is a drive serve, you want to aim just above the service line on the front wall.

For a back hand serve, aim about halfway in between the service line and top line, and about one third of the court’s width away from the side wall.

How To Practise Your Serve

The serve is quite an easy shot to practise either with or without a partner. 

For solo practise it is best to pick one type of serve, and work on grooving that shot. You can put targets on the walls or floor to aim for (for example a piece of paper).

To practise with a partner, again concentrate on one type of serve. Repeat hitting that serve, as your partner practises their return of serve. 

How To Return A Serve

The classic way to return a serve is to hit a length shot down the line. The best way of achieving this is to volley the serve if you can. 

Here are some pointers to remember when returning serves:

  • Wait for the serve with your racket well up and back
  • Remain side on, with your body facing the side wall
  • Don’t try to ‘run around’ a serve. Hit backhand serves using the back hand etc.
  • Vary your returns
  • Volley whenever you possibly can
  • Hit the majority of your reutrns down the line

Related Questions

Can you hit the side wall first in squash? You can hit the side wall first with all shots apart from the serve. The serve must hit the front wall first, although it can hit any number of walls afterwards as long as it bounces in the service box. 

What does hand out mean in squash? ‘Hand out’ is a term called out by the marker of a squash game. It is called when the player that served the last point loses that point, and so the serve changes hands. 

Can a squash serve hit the side wall first? A squash serve must hit the front wall first. If it hits the side wall first, the serve is called as out.