Are you more interested in playing your sport of choice than learning the rules? Sure, most of us are. We want to get out there and start swinging, kicking or throwing. But in order to get to that point there are some key rules that you need to know. Let’s start with one of the most commonly asked questions…
Can you hit the red line in squash? If the ball hits the red line in squash then it is out. This could mean the ball hitting the whole line, or even just clipping it. Any slight contact is out. Also anywhere above the red line at the top of the court is out.
Read on to get a full understanding of this and other issues regarding the red line. We promise it will help you enjoy the game more.
When The Ball Hits The Red Line
If you hit the red line in squash your ball is ruled out. The red lines mark the out of bounds on the court so all shots must be below the red lines. If a ball touches the red line it is considered out. Also if a ball hits the tin it is also ruled out. The tin is a thin strip at the bottom of the court, on the front wall and below the service line.
To get a better understanding of what all the red lines mean on the squash court, let’s take a look at where they are, and what they are used for.
What Do All The Lines Mean?
The purpose of the court lines can be categorized as such – executing serve, receiving the serve, and playing a rally:
- Executing the serve – When serving the lines that are significant are the service line, the out line, and the front line. The ball must hit the front wall directly between the service line and the upper red line. It must then rebound in such a way that if the ball were allowed to bounce on the floor it would land on the player-side of the front line. The ball doesn’t need to bounce as it may be volleyed by the receiving player.
- Receiving the serve – When waiting for your opponent to serve you must remain within the area that is bound by the front line and half court line.
- Once a service has been made and a rally has commenced each player may move unhindered by any floor line. Now, the only lines that matter are the red line and the tin. If a ball strikes the tin or the red line that runs along its top edge then the ball is out. If a ball strikes the red line or the area above that line then it is also considered out.
Are The Lines Always Red?
Generally the lines in a squash court are red, but this is definitely not the case universally. On some courts they may be blue, green or another color.
Whatever their color, their purpose is the same.
What Happens Above the Red Lines?
Every surface above the red lines is out of play. This means that all the section of wall above the line on the front, side and back wall.
It also means that the ceiling and also any lights are also out as well. Any contact with the ceiling or lights, however slight, means the ball is out.
How To Avoid Hitting The Red Line
Squash is generally a conservative game, and players that exercise caution in their shot choices are often the more successful.
All out attack is seldom the best policy, unless you are playing a seriously weaker opponent.
When playing the vast majority of your shots, you want to avoid playing the ball even near the red ‘out’ lines. Your standard forehand and backhand drives will usually be hitting about half-way up the front wall. This gives you the most margin of error, as well as beging the perfect place to hit to get the ball to the back of the court.
The times when your ball is going to go closest to the red line is when you are playing drop shots.
By their very nature, drop shots need to be played reasonably low near the tin, to get the ball to die close to the front and ideally near the sidewall nick.
However, it is important not to play drop shots too tight. If you are aiming every drop shot just an inch above the tin, then it is likely that you will be hitting the tin about fifty per cent of the time. This is far too high a percentage!
Instead, try aiming about 6 to 12 inches above the tin. This is will not impact your shot too negatively, and will also mean that you have a much higher percentage of shots going in and not hitting the tin.
Another time when you are often in danger of hitting the red line is when you play a lob shot. To keep the ball in play more often than not, always try to hit lobs cross-court. The danger of a straight lob is that it will clip the sidewall on the way to the back, and be out above the red line. It is almost impossibly to hit a cross-court lob out.
The other shot that you will see amateur players regularly hitting above the red line by mistake is the lob serve.
There are two dangers: either that it hits the front wall above the red line, or that it hits the sidewall above the red line.
To minimise these dangers, try to contact the front wall at least a yard and a half below the red line. There is no need to hit the lob too high, and you will also risk hitting the ceiling with a really high shot.
To avoid hitting the ball out on the sidewall, just play it safe to a degree. Give yourself at least half a yard of leeway below the sidewall red line. There is nothing more frustrating and wasteful than hitting the serve out of play!
Times When Shots Are Played Close To The Red Line
The main times when you are aiming close to the red line are when you are playing to the front of the court. Examples of these shots are:
Three-Wall Boast – This is usually a defensive shot played from the back of the court. Boasts are normally played when a player cannot hit the ball straight back to the front wall. You play the ball into the sidewall, and the aim is to get it to hit the front wall reasonably low down, just above the tin on the opposite side of the court.
Trickle Boast – This is usually played from closer to the front of the court. This shot is a cross between a boast and a drop shot. You play the ball at 45 degrees into the sidewall. It will hit the front wall just above the tin, before dying near the front wall.
Drop-Shot – As discussed above, these are the most common shots that will be attacking near the tin on the front wall. Just take it easy when you start out! Give yourself a bit of leeway, as repeatedly tinning dropshots is a definite formla for defeat.
Topspin Drop Shot – This is quite a rare shot, that is only normally seen in professional games, as it is extremely difficult to play. It is usually played as a kind of last resort, when the ball is tight to the sidewall. By playing the drop shot with a bit of topspin, it helps the player squeeze it off the wall more effectively. It will hit the front wall just above the tin, and usually right next to the sidewall.
Volley Drop – This is basically a drop shot but hit as a volley. These shots are normally played from the middle of the court, when a player has intercepted a loose balll from their opponent, and attempeted an attacking drop.
Now you know all about hitting the red line. For the most part you want to keep well away from the red lines the majority of the time. Keep drives near the middle of the front wall to get good length. Keep lobs cross court, and just be careful about lob serves getting too loopy and hitting the ceiling.
When you play drop shots, don’t be too aggressive and give yourself a little margin for error, at least when starting off.
Good luck with your new found knowledge of the red line!