5 Scoring Challenges To Improve Your Tactics

Our mindset during a match is often heavily influenced by the scoring system used. By training with different system, we can often change the way we think.

03 October 2022 / 3-Min Read / Translate

Let’s start by defining exactly what a scoring challenge is. I decided that the game must remain exactly the same, so no conditions on where the ball bounces or what shots each player is allowed to play.

The main objective of this article is to get you see that when the scoring changes, so does your mindset during points. That’s key to understanding “how” you play your game. For example, are you too aggressive on crucial points or are you too defensive on ordinary points? Anyway, let’s get started.

Anyone For Tennis?

Tennis has an interesting scoring system because it has lots of crunch points. A crunch point is a point that decides something. So not only does tennis have lots of game points and set points, it also have potentially multiple crunch points per game. With squash’s Point Per Rally (PAR), that excitement is less common.

By playing squash with tennis scoring, there is also the point about the server staying the same for one game. This gives the server the advantage because they get two serves, but also because they can build up a rhythm even if they lose the point. I have seen squash clubs play tournaments with tennis scoring and it’s a lot of fun.

Benefits: It’s a great way to focus your mind crucial points.

Middle Age

The first player to 41 points wins. Don’t panic! Forty one may seem like a lot of points, but it’s probably less than what you need to a normal PAR match. The minimum required to win a squash match is 33 points, but the likelihood is that you will win 3-1 or 3-2. If you do, then you may win more than 41 points. That said, it is a tough scoring system to use because it requires patience and focus.

Each player is allowed to ask for two breaks at any time. This allows some strategic control that other scoring systems don’t. Personally I loved using this scoring system this during training because the tension slowly builds up if the match is close.

Benefits: Develops patience and long-term planning.

Use Dice For Each Player

Each player rolls a die and the number that they get is their starting score. So, if player one rolls the die and gets 5 then they start at five points. Player two rolls the die and gets 2, then they start with 2 points. When you first do this, it seems incredibly unfair, and it is, but sometimes that’s how points go in squash. You can lose a few points in a matter of moments to some lucky shots and suddenly you are 2-5 down in a game.

This scoring system tries to teach acceptance to unfair situations, but more importantly, it tries to get each player to focus on the point at hand. Not the previous points or the coming points, but this one now. All concentration tres to do that, but this time it’s through the unfair score. I find this is a good system to use for training squads and teams, where the same players play against or with each other over a season.

Benefits: Sometimes life sucks; stop complaining and focus on this moment.

Crucial Time

Every single game starts at 8-8. This is best done near the end of a training session, so that the players feel that already have had a good workout. This scoring system is perfect for seeing who will simply go for nicks or play the careful game. It can be a fun or serious end to a training session. I’ve seen it be very successful for showing players their tendencies or a waste of time if everybody just goes for nicks. In the latter case, that’s down to the coach to impress upon the players that they should take it seriously.

Benefits: Highlights your tendencies under pressure and can be a fun way to finish a hard training session.

Hand In, Hand Out (HIHO)

This is the original scoring sued in squash and for some older players like me, it’s brings back fond memories. For those that don’t know, you could only score a point if you were serving. If you lost the rally when you were serving, the other player got to serve. Matches could be really long and winning 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 is way less impressive than winning 11-0, 11-0, 11-0 nowadays.

It’s a good scoring system to allow players to switch between aggressive tactics when they are serving or more defensive style when receiving serve. For the sake of time control, you could drop the score to 7 instead of 9, but that’s up to you. The same mindset is required for 7 or 9.

Benefits: Allows players to see how differently they can play, depending on who is serving.

Final Thoughts

These types of scoring system can be used at any time during the season and for fun or seriousness. They each highlight a different area of mindset and can make a training session feel different. I highly recommend you try them to see which gives you the most benefit.

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