Why is the Backhand Serve So Important in Squash? [and How to Improve It?]

Squash Eye Care

If you have been playing the sport of squash for a while, you would have heard of fellow players talk about the importance of a backhand serve or even tried it yourself. In the passage below we explain why is a backhand serve this vital for squash players and how does it advantage those who master it.

So, why is a backhand serve so important in squash? A backhand serve from the forehand side allows the squash server to quickly move towards the T on the court thereby giving the player extra time to control that area as compared to while serving with the forehand.

Now that is the short answer to your question but if you are looking to get an in-depth view on everything related to the backhand serve in squash, here’s a guide you would like.

For starters…

What is a Backhand Serve in Squash?

The backhand serve in squash is one which has the player using the backhand technique but from the forehand side of the service area.

So looking from behind the players who are facing the front wall, it is serving backhand from the right side of the court for a right-handed player and left side of the court for a left-handed squash player.

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Is the Backhand Serve Difficult to Execute?

If you are just starting out as a squash player, a backhand serve might not be the easiest thing to master. This is because typically your forehand would be your stronger suit and with a weak-ish backhand, getting the serve with enough accuracy and power would take time getting used to.

Typically because of the above mentioned reason, squash players don’t start off serving with their backhand. By the time they work on the other aspects of their game including their backhand, the forehand serve becomes ingrained into their game and it’s tougher to take on the challenge of then working on the backhand serve.

There is one other factor to consider. Backhand serves are also weaker in most cases which means without too much accuracy things could backfire easily.

However, the importance of a backhand serve cannot be overstated. Which is why once you have begun to get a hang of most other aspects of the game, it would be good advice to re-look at how you can improve your service by working on your backhand serve.

Why is Squash’s Backhand Serve so Important?

There are many reasons why even beginners should look to make early strides to work on their backhand serves. These have been listed below:

Gives Player an Added Edge

Serving gives squash players a bit of an advantage over their opponents but with the backhand serve being this rare and the benefits it brings to the server, it adds an extra edge or an extra string to the server’s bow.

Better Eyes on the Ball

A backhand serve allows the server a better chance of keeping his/her eyes on the ball. This is because the server is facing the opponent while serving and doesn’t have to make a big, 180-degree turn to get into that position after a forehand serve, thereby allowing the server to maintain a steadier head and eye position.

Better Sight of the Opponent

Continuing from the previous point, since the backhand serve makes the server face the opponent, one can keep watching what the opponent is doing even in the process of and after the serve is made.

Quicker ‘T-Positioning’

One of the biggest advantages to be earned from being a server is the better opportunity to get to the T-position in the middle of the court.

The player who controls this position has a better chance of winning the point and the position which a backhand serve allows a player to get into, it becomes a lot easier for him/her to rush towards the T-position and as a result, get into a better chance of controlling the point early in the rally.

Tougher Angle for Opponent

The angle created by a backhand serve forces the ball to remain close to the side wall which makes it tougher for the opponent to return. If you can impart enough spin on to the ball with your backhand server, the unpredictability of the angle could test your opponent and that, added with the aforementioned advantages could go a long way in helping you win the point.

Easier to Spin It

Experts reckon it is easier to deliver spin on the ball with the backhand serve than the forehand one which makes it tougher for your opponent.

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Step by Step Process to Improve Your Backhand Serve

Since it’s not the kind of serve which comes naturally at first, it’s important to try and build on your backhand serve. In the passage below, we try and help you with basic tips you can use in order to improve it.

The best way to get the most out of the backhand serve is to ensure the ball hits high on the side wall, forcing the opponent into a very tough return and increasing your chances of taking a command on the point.

So how does one get the perfect backhand serve going?

Serve it Like it’s a Backhand Volley

There are different techniques tried out by players to get that awesome backhand serve going but the best is to toss the ball up and smash it like one is hitting a backhand volley. It should come as naturally as your backhand smash and once you practice that mindset, it would become a lot easier to go ahead with it.

Ball at a One-Arm’s Distance

As mentioned earlier, you need to play it like a backhand volley which means you will need the ball tossed up in front of you as you face your opponent. To understand the most ideal serving distance, ensure it’s lobbed at a distance of one arm.

What about the Toss Height?

While the distance of the ball lob is around an arm’s length, it would make it easier for you if the height is up to around or slightly below your chest.

Hit it Higher

The ultimate goal is to hit the ball high enough on the front wall such that it rebounds and hits the side wall high enough and forces your opponent to either hit it on a volley or go behind him after it bounce. Try to hit it as high as possible.

The reason behind this is to ensure the ball hits the sidewall high making it tougher for your opponent to return.

Get to the T by This Time

Walk into your serve while doing all of the above, completing your motion right on the T to get control of the court.

Practice. A Lot.

This is a given but sometimes it’s not said enough. To pick up any new skill, it would need hours and hours of practice. Hone your skills, sharpen them to an extent you can start using them in matches because that’s the best place you would know whether things have worked and then tweak things around if you need to.


At the highest level of the game, you will find squash players regularly serve backhand but if you are just starting out, it’s only understandable the backhand serve isn’t yet a part of your repertoire. Start working on it gradually and bring it in your game whenever you feel comfortable with the rest of your game given how important it is to get that extra edge over your opponents.

Stan Boone

I am the editor of Racket Sports World. I love my tennis, pickleball and most of the other racket sports played around the world and started this blog as my way to help other racquet sports fans even as I learn, explore and improve by connecting with them. Tweet at https://twitter.com/StanBooneTennis.

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