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Ways to play

Recommendations for ways to play

Two women playing

Squash courts are back in action from Wednesday 2 December after the Government gave the greenlight to reopen indoor leisure facilities. Like before, the three-tier system remains in place, but the good news is you can now play Sides in your squash bubble in Tier 2 which you weren’t allowed to do before.

So, what can we play?

Below is a snapshot of permitted activity depending on where your club/venue is based:

  • Tier 1: Solo practice, full match play with same household, modified full-court squash in squash bubbles, Sides, Socially Distanced Practices, one-to-one coaching, group coaching.
  • Tier 2: Solo practice, full match play with same household, Sides and Socially Distanced Practices in squash bubbles, one-to-one coaching.
  • Tier 3: Solo practice, full match play with same household, one-to-one coaching. In addition to the above, juniors are allowed to take part in coach-led/supervised activity.

For the full breakdown on permitted activity including educational teams, visit our guidance page.


What is a ‘squash bubble’?

Bubbles consist of a maximum of six players and players within a ‘squash bubble’ are permitted to play full-court matches in tier 1 and 'Sides and Socially Distanced Practices in tier 2 and tier 3 with the following modifications:

  • Only two players on court at one time, except in Tier 1 (Medium) where doubles is allowed.
  • Play best of five games.
  • Play first to 11 points, sudden-death at 10-all.
  • Use ‘Sides’ to maintain social distancing throughout the warm-up (if permitted to play full court matches).
  • During each game, when the first player reaches six points, both players should wipe away excessive sweat, and sanitise their hands and the ball. Repeat between games.
  • The same player to serve / touch the ball during each half of a game, and at the halfway point, switch servers.
  • Protective eyewear or visors are strongly recommended at all times.
  • Don't wipe your hands on the wall.
  • Players are not allowed to shout or raise their voice.

Please maintain social distancing when not on court, and continue follow your club’s/venue’s hygiene and cleaning policies.

View Playing in a squash bubble guidance (PDF)

How do I form a ‘squash bubble’?
  • Agree who is in your bubble with up to five other players.
  • Inform your club/venue’s COVID-19 Officer of the names of the players in your bubble.
  • Confirm to your club/venue’s COVID-19 Officer, in writing, that you have read and agree to follow the England Squash ‘bubble’ guidance within this page.
  • Check with your club/venue’s COVID-19 Officer that you are allowed to play before starting.
  • You can only belong to one bubble at a time but following a seven-day break of playing full squash, you can switch once you’ve got agreement from your COVID-19 officer.
  • Ensure you have express permission from the parent/guardian of any minor before they can join a squash bubble.

View Forming a squash bubble guidance (PDF)

What if I can't form a 'squash bubble'?

Remember, many clubs/venues may choose to be cautious - it’s their responsibility to minimise the risk to you, their members, staff, volunteers and the wider community. If you cannot form a 'squash bubble' (or wish to play someone from outside your bubble), we recommend playing 'Sides' as it's a modified/adapted version of the game which allows players to meet social distancing measures, with each player remaining in their own half of the court at all times.

How to play 'Sides'

Sides is an adapted version of the game for two players from different households and is designed to comply with social distancing measures. Here's how to play Sides:

Download 'sides' video


Socially distanced practices for more advanced players

Here are some recommended practices that more advanced players looking to maintain social distancing can play.

  1. Cross court volleys
    Both players volley the ball cross court to each other from behind the service box. Switch sides. To make it easier, move closer to the front wall. To make it harder, move further away from the front wall.
    Make it cooperative: Aim for as many volleys in a row as possible. Switch sides and see if you can beat your previous total.
  2. Straight to self then cross court volley
    Stood behind the service box, both players play two shots, volley straight to self then cross court to your opponent. Switch sides.
  3. Straight lob vs straight volley drop
    Front player plays straight lobs and back player plays straight volley drops. Alternate and switch sides.
  4. Boast vs straight drive
    Front player plays straight drives. Back player boasts. Alternate.
    Make it competitive: Front player can play straight or cross court, back player must always boast. First to reach 7 points wins.
  5. Drive or cross court drive vs boast or drop
    Front player can play a straight or cross court drive. Back player can play a straight drop or boast. Alternate.
  6. Straight drop then straight drive vs straight to self then boast
    Front player plays two shots, a straight drop followed by a straight drive. Back player plays two shots, a straight drive followed by a boast. Alternate.
  7. Straight drop then cross court deep vs straight to self then boast
    Front player plays two shots, a straight drop followed by any shot cross court deep. Back player plays two shots, a straight drive followed by a boast. Alternate and switch sides.
  8. Front vs back on one side
    Front player can play any straight shot deep. Back player can play a straight shot short. Alternate and switch sides.
  9. Front vs back on both sides
    Front player can play straight or cross court. Back player must always play straight shot short. Alternate.
    Make it competitive: Front player can play straight or cross court deep, the back player must always play straight short. First to reach 7 points wins.

Here's a demonstration of some of our socially distanced practices:

Download socially distanced practices video

Download the poster

Download and print off our A4 poster for your club/venue: