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Ball hits player - Referee decision?

Clear the ball or take the penalty

Clear the ball or take the penalty

Published: 04 Apr 2005 - 21:55 by rippa rit

Updated: 08 Nov 2007 - 07:39

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It would be good if there was a straight answer for the Referee in all circumstances, but that is not possible. Therefore, it is important to be able to analyse what actually happened when a player is hit by the ball.
There are three rules to be understood, eg Rule 9, 10 and 12, which will then help the Referee make an informed decision. Here is an interpretation of each of these rules.
  •  Rule 9 - Hitting an opponent with the ball.
    • 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.
  • Rule 9 - Turning.
    • 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.
  •  Rule 10 - Further Attempts.
    • 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.
  •  Rule 12 - Interference. 
    • 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 (ie 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 (ie 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.
  • Read more about the rules of squash.
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From rippa rit - 08 Nov 2007 - 07:39

Adz - a strike against the Ref would be the way to go with this one I reckon, oops!

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From Adz - 07 Nov 2007 - 03:43   -   Updated: 07 Nov 2007 - 03:44

    Here's an interesting one.......

An opponent plays the ball over his shoulder and a player stops the ball behind only to be given a let. After 5 or so similarly bad calls the player gets frustrated and softly hits the ball into the middle of his opponents back. The ball was clearly travelling toward the front wall, and clearly going to be up. Should this be a stroke against the striking player or a stroke in his favour?

Note that the ball was NOT being played dangerously as the power of the shot was only just enough to reach the front wall and was played in a manner to not harm the opponent but merely show that the front player was causing interference.

I thought I'd throw up this situation to see what people's thoughts were.


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From edmpnd1961 - 20 Oct 2007 - 12:52

Hi there.

All i want to say is A hits B advantange to A as he or she has direct access to ball and B moves into his or her path.

Remember Rules says the Ref has a right to call as and stop play as and when he fit.

Most of the squash fanatics, I know play golf and the embraces the rules of golf religiously. why not squash players????????

In squash only the ones losing and un sporting player cheats and starts to blame  ref, it's all part of sports.

take it in the chin and make squash enjoyable , so don't cheat and put the blame on refs on yr off days or when ur not good enough.


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From edmpnd1961 - 03 Jul 2007 - 11:38

Hi Adz,

As u insisted, pls pick up yr guts and be a squash referee, and stop complaining and also open this invitation to all playing pros too.



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From Adz - 02 Jul 2007 - 22:09

So here's a subjective decision if ever there was one. Two players are playing a match and player A strikes the ball and hits player B with the follow-through.

The referee stops play giving a stroke to player A. Why?????

Here's some of the scenarios which could have occurred and goes to support my opinion that a referee is only as good as their understanding of the game and the level at which it is played:

  1. If the referee believes that contact was caused by player B crowding or encroaching onto player A and player A complains, the referee will decide to award a stroke to player A.
  2. If the referee believes that the contact was accidental but caused interference to player B stopping him from reaching and making a reasonable return, a Let will be given to player B if he calls.
  3. If the referee believes that the contact was accidental but caused interference to player B stopping him from reaching and making a winning return, a Stroke will be given to player B if he calls.
  4. If the referee believes that contact was due to an excessive swing of player A then he will award a stroke to player B if he calls.
  5. If the referee deems that the contact was accidental, and that player B had put himself into a bad position, he will give a no let decision if player B calls.


So in these five different outcomes, it all comes down to the referee's opinion on what is:

  • A reasonable position for player B to be in
  • A reasonable swing for player A to take
  • The ability of player B to reach and play the next shot
  • Effort by player A to allow player B to reach the ball
  • Effort by player B to reach the ball


So yes I can appreciate how difficult a position the referee is in to make this decision in a split second, but only an experienced referee who knows both the game-play and the rules can decide in this situation.


From the description of the JP vs NM match, I would say that the referee's call was NOT right. Where was NM's complaint of interference? Without complaint from NM, how can the referee make the decision of Stroke? If JP had complained about interference on moving to the ball then there are threee outcomes: No Let, Let to Power or Stroke to Power. Quite simply the referee was wrong in their decision, realised it and over-ruled themself by changing their decision once they had processed the situation. I believe that if NM had NOT called and JP could have reached the ball and made a reasonable return and he HAD called, then a Let would have been the correct decision assuming that a) NM had made every effort to allow JP path to the ball, and b) JP had made every effort to reach the ball.


I get the impression that some referees deliberately target teams or player that they feel deserve to be taught a lesson, and all to often others will "jump onto the same band-wagon" and allow their judgement to be clouded with bias.


So my take on the siutation of ball hits player:

Player A strikes ball and ball hits Blayer B before hitting any walls or floor.

Was ball travelling to be a good return (e.g. not travelling into floor, out-of-court or tin)? If not then point to Player B, no further action needed.

If ball was going to be a good return:

Was A aware of B's presence and deliberately hit him? = Dangerous or intimidating play, stroke to B.

Was A not aware of B's presence and played the ball in a dangerous manner (e.g through middle of court after turning) = Stroke to B from dangerous or intimidating play

Did B move into the flight of the ball as it was travelling onto the side wall as a good shot (e.g. not into the tin)? If so, Let ball to player A.

Did B move into the flight of the ball as it was travelling as a good shot onto the front wall? If so, stroke to player A


That's pretty much it in the simplest of analysis. No bias, no complications. Determine the following quickly and make a judgement:

  • Player A's intentions upon striking the ball (e.g. deliberate hit at B, or unknown of B's position)
  • Player B's movement (did the ball strike him without him moving (see above point), or did he move into the ball)
  • Where was the ball actually travelling? Directly onto the front wall? Side wall? Floor / Tin / Out-of-court?

With those three things decided upon then the decision can be made pretty quickly. Of course the "intentions" is subjective, as is where the ball was travelling (especially if hit fast), as is B's movment (as most people are likely to be watching the ball and not the actions of the non-striking player!).

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to put a point across which has been brought up on other threads. Namely:


Grrrrrr! I'm having one of those frustrated days today, especially with certain "holier than thou" attitudes.


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From edmpnd1961 - 29 Jun 2007 - 01:31

Hi to all who read this post,

My humble apologies, the line shd read as Conduct 17- game to Mathew for openning door without permission.

Tks n rgds


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From edmpnd1961 - 28 Jun 2007 - 12:14

HI there,

The answers are there. if the hit was unintentional and the opponent moves into the flight of the ball due to his speed, Stroke to strike.

Conduct 17 for dangerous play  if the referee deems that  the striker did it on purpose or for revenge.

As for making every effort to get out of the way, the interference rule of thumb read:

0. unobstructed direct access to the ball.(striker,after finishing stroke and reasonable back swing, moves out to allow opponent)

0. a fair view of the ball( striker after stroke, must allow opponent fm from wall)

0. freedom to hit the ball( opponent must allow striker  to hit ,and not move into him or flight of the ball ,due to speed)

0. freedom to play the ball ( reasonable back swing and not crowding by opponent or vise vasa)

The referee's call was right ,Stroke to Matthew and like i said before the god of squash, who does not know the rules and wants to influence even thru he's retired, shud hv been give a conduct 17- gane to Matthew for opening door with permission. 

Also this referee shud hv been tick of by the world body and banned for future.

( Personnally i hate bad refereeing and people who cheats to win.)




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From rippa rit - 07 Mar 2007 - 06:58

Sleave - Yeah that was a bit of a strange decision by the Ref in the first place by how you described what went on.  If some interference had occurred on the backswing I could understand that, but not on the follow through.
I think the Ref made a misjudgement in the first place for interrupting the game and then realised he should have shut his mouth.
Ref's job is not an easy one either.

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From drop-shot - 07 Mar 2007 - 00:48

Funny thing. I watched yesterday night the match on DVD

Jonathon Power vs. Nick Matthew (Tournament of Champions 2006 Quarterfinal)...

The rally goes into the centre of the court, Power under pressure, Matthew hits the ball and with his follow-up he hits the wrist of Power. Ref immediately goes "Stroke to Matthew", then JP bursts with anger opening the door and YELLING at ref and marker that "he stopped becasue was hit into arm". Ref got scarred (Funny) and changed his decision to let. What I wanted to say? Know the rules but be willing toi break them.

Power lost anyway. Great match from Matthew

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From rippa rit - 22 Apr 2005 - 09:49   -   Updated: 11 Mar 2006 - 21:24 Here is a good link for you where the rules are explained and updated for players convenience. Unfortunately, in squash, there is not a "cut and dried" approach to the rules and very much depends on the rule application. The questions of late have encroached on all of the following rules, ie Rule 9 - Hitting Opponent; Turning Rule 10 - Further Attempts Rule 12 - Interference Rule 13 - Lets Rule 16 - Injury (caused by opponent or self inflicted) Rule 17 - Conduct on Court aprice, it will be necessasry for you to read the rule interpretation over many times, and keep referring to them to increase your knowledge. This is the down side to our refereeing and unfortunately most players, including top players, do not have a complete understanding of the rules. In short, you must get out of your opponent's way; you must make every effort to prevent interference; you must not deliberately hit your opponent;you must make every effort to get to and play the ball. Unfortunately, the rules are not designed to tell a player how to play the game.

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From aprice1985 - 22 Apr 2005 - 07:40

So where does dangerous play come into this i.e continually not calling lets and hitting your opponent, is this allowed? Also is there any way to descirbe making every effort to get out of the way of interfering?

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