The length of a squash game is difficult to predict, and affected most by the standard of the players. A game of squash is not limited by time in the same way as a game of soccer (football to European readers). Instead it ends when a points total is reached.
How Long Is A Squash Game?
A typical squash match ends when a player reaches a score of winning three games, with each game being won by reaching eleven points. Amateur matches usually last thirty to forty minutes. Professional matches tend to be longer, with most completing in under fifty minutes.
Are Men’s And Women’s Matches The Same Length?
There is a notable gender split between the lengths of matches. On average, men spend eleven minutes longer on court in professional matches, which is a significant difference when you consider that the overall length of the average game is around thirty five minutes.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a similar proportional increase in the length of amateur matches between women compared to the men’s game. Statistics in squash can be difficult to come by, particularly outside of organized tournaments.
What Is The Longest Recorded Squash Match?
At the time of writing in February 2023, the record for the longest game of squash is held by Leo Au and Shawn Delierre. The players from Hong Kong and Canada respectively endured a hundred and seventy minutes on a Canadian court in 2015. The match was unsurprisingly a best of five encounter running through a full five games. The semi final in the Holtrand Gas City Pro-Am finished:
In the female game, the record for the longest game stands at one hundred and twenty minutes, played in January 2008 between Mexican Teran and American Khan in the final of the Liberty Bell Open in Philadelphia.
How Do Best-Of-Three (BO3) and Best-Of-Five (BO5) Match Lengths Compare?
While best of three is rarely used in competitive squash, it’s very common in beginner and amateur circles. While in tournament play the men’s best of five games usually span approximately forty five minutes and women’s thirty four minutes, amateurs tend to vary wildly, not least because not everyone is as competitive and some like to play just for fun.
As you might expect, best of three is a significantly shorter game than best of five – averaging at just nineteen minutes. This is due to the range of number of games being much smaller. A best of three will run over either two or three games, and so has the potential to be over very quickly, whereas the best of five version ranges between three and five games to completion.
How Does Player Fitness Affect The Length Of A Squash Match?
When players are well matched in fitness, there is little difference in terms of the length of the match between unfit players and professional players. The more observable effect is when a fitness mismatch is significant.
What clearly shows is that as the minutes tick by, the advantage to the fitter player becomes more clear. In this case, where a match starts evenly, the fitter player will soon surge ahead, and end up winning with ease.
The Squashy Summary
While the headline range of squash match duration sits in the thirty to fifty minute range, as we’ve discussed, many factors can affect the amount of time a given set of players will be in action. The key influencing criteria are ability, gender, fitness and number of games played.