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Stroke Rules

Published: 31 Mar 2009 - 18:36 by daveamour

Updated: 08 Apr 2009 - 07:41

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I have a friend who is under the misconception that once the ball has hit the back well then no matter what happens there are no scenarios which can follow which can result in a stroke being given.

I tried to explain to him that this isn't the case at all and off the top of my head gave a silly example of a player driving the ball which comes back and bounces off the back wall and then the ball hits the player who made the strike resulting in a stroke which he did conceed.  Other than this though he remains unconvinced and so I am looking for some hard evidence - ie online articles etc which I can show to him to support my argument.

Anyone know of any such articles?

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From rippa rit - 08 Apr 2009 - 07:41

Extracted from the WSF Rules Q & A Forum:

"What happens if my opponent hits me with the ball that would otherwise have hit the wall and been in? Is it a let?

If your opponent hits you with the ball and it is going directly to the front wall, a stroke is awarded to your opponent (unless he had turned or it was a further attempt). If he had turned a new rule in 2001 rules awards the stroke to the player hit - yourself in this case. If it is a further attempt a let is allowed. If the shot was going to a another wall on its way to the front wall then a let is allowed provided the shot was going to be good as you indicated it was."

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From daveamour - 02 Apr 2009 - 17:00

Thanks rippa - I'm aware of shaping, 2nd attempts etc but in this case I didn't even shape - I was always 100% decided I was going to take the ball after it hit the back wall as it came at me quite close and fast - I made no backswing attempt until the ball had bounced off the back wall.

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From rippa rit - 02 Apr 2009 - 15:50   -   Updated: 02 Apr 2009 - 15:52

Good Dave - go read that stuff on the WSF site as it is worth it and will not be understood in a few minutes but it is there for continuous reference each week.  Now you mention this bit about the opponent may have thought you were going to hit the ball before it struck the back wall, so that brings in another set of perameters as a Referee. If you shape ("shaping") and then changing your mind is covered under Rule 10 (Further Attempts and Shaping).

Probably most of the top players are not qualified Referees (it would help the game a lot if they were) and have mostly learned the rules from "on the court" without any reference to the terms used in the Rule Book. Knowing the rules does save arguments on court. There is a Referee video available from WSF so maybe you can talk your club into purchasing it and hire/lend it to the members!!



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From daveamour - 02 Apr 2009 - 15:25   -   Updated: 07 Apr 2009 - 21:15

Rippa - thanks that's helpful and I was actually thinking a while back of getting qualified and then who could argue with me!

mickeydubbs - thanks for that and I actually already have that game and it was in fact that exact commentators comment which made me know about this - I watched it ages ago but coudln't even remember which match it was but it did stick in my mind!

I think I will print all of these off and even put that clip on my ipod and show him.

I think its also a good idea to keeo these things in your bag along with a copy of the rules to show people.

Thanks again everyone.

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From mickeydubbs - 02 Apr 2009 - 08:23   -   Updated: 02 Apr 2009 - 08:55


I had the same problem with a friend of mine. Luckily i knew of an example i had to hand. In the 2007 ICC Canaray Wharf Final between White and Whillstop, White gets stroke when the ball came off the back wall. You can get the match from, for a small fee of about 60p i think (although the match was amazing anyway so is well worth it). It happens in the first game when White is 5-4 up. There's also a good comment from El Hindi who is commentating who says, ' some people think if it is coming off the back wall it's not a stroke, but it doesn't make any difference. It's quite convincing and certainly my friend shut up about it when i showed it to him.

Hope this helps

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From rippa rit - 02 Apr 2009 - 07:06   -   Updated: 02 Apr 2009 - 07:23

Abbreviated rules from WSF:


If a player strikes the ball, which, before reaching the front wall, hits the opponent, or the opponent’s racket or clothing, play stops.

If the return would have been good and the ball would have struck the front wall without first touching any other wall, the striker wins the rally, provided the striker did not "turn".

If the ball either had struck, or would have struck, any other wall and the return would have been good, a let is played.

If the return would not have been good, the striker loses the rally.

TURNING (Rule 9)

If the striker has either followed the ball round, or allowed it to pass around him or her - in either case striking the ball to the right of the body after the ball had passed to the left (or vice-versa) - then the striker has "TURNED".

If the opponent is struck by the ball after the striker has turned, the rally is awarded to the opponent.

If the striker, while turning, stops play for fear of striking the opponent, then a let is played. This is the recommended course of action in situations where a player wants to turn but is unsure of the opponent’s position.


A player, after attempting to strike the ball and missing, may make a further attempt to return the ball.

If a further attempt would have resulted in a good return, but the ball hits the opponent, a let is played.

If the return would not have been good, the striker loses the rally.


When it is his or her turn to play the ball, a player is entitled to freedom from interference by the opponent.

To avoid interference, the opponent must try to provide the player with unobstructed direct access to the ball, a fair view of the ball, space to complete a swing at the ball and freedom to play the ball directly to any part of the front wall.

A player, finding the opponent interfering with the play, can accept the interference and play on, or stop play. It is preferable to stop play if there is a possibility of colliding with the opponent, or of hitting him or her with racket or ball.

When play has stopped as a result of interference the general guidelines are:

The player is entitled to a let if he or she could have returned the ball and the opponent has made every effort to avoid the interference.

The player is not entitled to a let (i.e. loses the rally) if he or she could not have returned the ball, or accepts the interference and plays on, or the interference was so minimal that the player’s access to and strike at the ball was not affected.

The player is entitled to a stroke (i.e. wins the rally) if the opponent did not make every effort to avoid the interference, or if the player would have hit a winning return, or if the player would have struck the opponent with the ball going directly to the front wall."

Here is the WSF Rules Forum where heaps of people have asked questions/answers about their play and how they stand-up against the rules.

Dave, squash players are a funny breed when it comes to the rules.  Players who do not know the rules (that includes many top players too) usually do not want to read them, as they are happy so long as they get away with their peculiar ways (court movement), make excuses and talk their way around getting their own way. Those who read the rules and want to adhere to them are serious about their play, and those who do not just make up the rules as they go along, and prefer to learn the rules in the bathroom at the courts. (That used to happen to me years ago until I got so confused with so many conflicting bathroom rules that I decided to learn the rules, sit for the exam and finally become qualified.) The best way is to have your friend play in a tournament when all of a sudden he will realise rules are important and he will lose points unless he clears the ball, gives the opponent freedom to play the ball, makes every effort, etc. OR he will get hit up the backside, get a bruise and lose the point too..

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From daveamour - 02 Apr 2009 - 02:35

Thanks Mike that's just the kind of thing I'm after.

I also found this

Rippa - thansk again but I think you are missing the point of my question.  I understand the rules bu it is my friend who does not and I am after hard evidence to show him as he deosn't take my word for it. 


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From mike - 01 Apr 2009 - 13:38

I did find this PDF from the South Australian Masters Squash newsletter

It has a section with a few rules mthys, of which yours is the first. It's not clear what qualifications the author has though, so it may not fully convince your friend.


As far as I'm concerned Rule 12.8.4 on the Interference page is pretty clear. It says nothing about "unless the ball has bounced off the back wall".

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From rippa rit - 01 Apr 2009 - 08:25

Hey Dave the squash rules are not "cut and dried" and that is why you need to really get a good understanding on the interpretations as each circumstance often means a different line of thinking as you will see when you look at the articles in the Relevant Content tab, in particular Rule 12.

Take the time to know the rules and the Interference rule is one of the most contentious of all, together with "turning".

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From daveamour - 01 Apr 2009 - 02:48

Thanks Rippa

I was hoping someone could give me links directly to sections dealing with this matter rather than a link to the whole rules.  Do you have a link to a page somewhere in there which discusses this?




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From rippa rit - 31 Mar 2009 - 22:20

Here is the link to the WSF Rules including the Idiot's Guide to the Rules and Rules Q & A.

Check out the Relevant Content tab (top lefthand column).

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