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If it wasn't for the Ref!

Don't play the Ref

Don't play the Ref

Published: 22 Aug 2004 - 18:33 by rippa rit

Updated: 24 Jun 2007 - 14:18

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In spite of common belief, the Referee doesn't really lose many, if any, matches. Over time I have realised the best player wins on the day.  We do often play the opponent as well as the Referee and that is a hard match for sure.   Our head lets us down so to speak.  What do we have to think about?

Focus on the ball and the game, forget the opponent, and the Ref.   My advice is:-
    • Get to every ball and hit it.
    • No unforced errors.
    • If the opponent does not clear the ball show the Referee that you could have returned the ball by being in position early.
    • Be polite when asking for a let. Referees can get rattled too, just like players, and that impairs their judgment.
    • Hit the ball away from yourself to avoid "strokes" if the opponent tends to crowd.
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From rippa rit - 24 Jun 2007 - 14:18

I understand the reason for the change to PARS was to make it more exciting for the audience.
Anything that would make the game have more shots, and not so much rallying would be better to watch.  Also emphasis on the game and its skills rather than marathon running would be good too.
I guess it is up to the PSA to make these decisions in consultation with the players.

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From edmpnd1961 - 24 Jun 2007 - 11:22

HI  Rippa,

Looking back , it seems that since the psa convert to the current, points per rally system, players argue more, but u seldom see great players argue much, even if they do, they move on and never complain.(eg. J.Ks, Chis D. Rodney n Bret Ms, Rodney E,  Chris R,  Den J, Qamar Z, Geoff H, Ross N,Chris.W, Peter M, Simon P, Mark C, Peter N, etc)

Why not go back to the 9 pt systems, best of three games as five setters will definitely take more than 2hrs.

When we were in K.L 1997, we ask both Chris W n Den J, abt yr point (  why bad decision occur on match pts) and the say that pros only speed up their game on the last 3 pts or 5 pts. so when things get tight and players crowding n shots coming into the middle and not to mention increase of speed by both player.

 Anyway like i mention above good or great players, do not need cheap points to win games and they overcome bad or cheating refs, by keeping the ball tight and minmise mistakes.

Tks n rgds


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From edmpnd1961 - 23 Jun 2007 - 23:43

Hi adz

Pls compare apple with apple, not orange or pear with apple. u play with passion, we play, ref and coach with passion.

Let me remind u as a psa player , u play in a tournament with World Squash Rules not player's rules, remember. Train of thought is the same whether u play or  ref or coach.

I may hv not played at a higer level, but as a club player cum coach cum ref. i hv ref 2 world mataches, numerous levels at local tournaments and i can safely say that players normal complains due to poor play or are afraid to lose ( and tend to cheat by ares for cheap lets n strokes)

Fyi i hv played 20 years of social squash and 10 years of club level squash, ( injured for 2 years 93/94 stop squash 2003- april 2007, now training 5 days a wk for local tournament coming july)

Got ref cert in 1996 and attend world squash conference 1997 and ref 2 world matches at hte then Singapore open and numerous local tournaments.

Got coaching level 1  in 2001and Nacp level ! 2000 currently coaching newbies in polytechnics.

46 years of age.


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From rippa rit - 23 Jun 2007 - 07:54   -   Updated: 23 Jun 2007 - 08:09

Adz - This para does make sense
"What I do believe should happen is that all professional referees should have actually played to a high club level and that all pros / semi-pros should be qualified to a moderate standard of refereeing!".

We did have an active Referees Assn back when world class players, and highly ranked players, were coming out of our State.  However, unfortunately those good people who were prepared to give up their time were, in the main, academic type players, which was great for teaching the rules, but in an on court top match a lot of this come unstuck, because of the reasons you mention.  Also you need a heap of regular practice at top matches too, even when you are used to the standard of play, as any well qualified ref needs to be confident and accepted by the top players.  This is where the video replays for education would be useful. 

On the other hand, I have looked carefully at both sides of the coin, wondering what the actual difference is in the end of the match, and really there is not too much whether they are qualified refs, or non-qualified, provided they can read the play quickly (so that is practice). Often refs do not take charge of the game, and as soon as the players sense some weakness they exploit it - human nature being what it is! 
Then, I have looked at a match where mostly  the decisions sort of even out - it could be having made a mistake previously  the ref then sort of corrects it or justifies. 

The worst part of course is the heat of the moment, and a rectification a few shots later seems just too late.  Why does a bad decision always then seem to happen on match ball, of course!  Really until there is enough incentive for our retired pros to get involved, and the sport can afford it, all the talk in the world will not alter anything.  Mind you, if we are serious we have to have cooperation, and that refers back to para 1 above.

Hey, all administrators should be applauded too - and hopefully put into their niche and thanked for their time and effort....we cannot survive without these people.  In fact, my plug is that administrators be given a GOLD card and can play squash for free throughout the world as long as they remain in office.

PS - replying to Edmund, I am not disagreeing with your points, ie players to get on with the game, referees to ref and players to play the game, which is basically what those rules say in a legal sense.  Yes, and referees to promote the rules to all players as many clubs do not have qualified referees on board and do not promote referee seminars for their players, so this is where the gap widens. Just as we have coaching levels, and hours of prac to go into the log book, we also need ref levels, eg Open, Premier, etc. for the same reasons. 
Keep doing the good work, it is important to our game.

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From Adz - 23 Jun 2007 - 05:26

"As for the,  Interference line of thinking,  which u will find at  World Squash page at  Let Please. We referees hv as much as only one split second of thought, to run thru it and make/give a correct decision. ( the bottom line reads like this) the over-riding principle of the rules is to ensure, a fair result for both players."

What can I say, other than thank you for proving my point. When you play squash to a high level. you learn to make split second decisions on how and where to play the ball, position of opponent etc. The higher the level of play, the faster you reach these decisions. As a referee that has never played (or been involved heavily) to a high standard, you will not have developed the speed of decision making associated with that standard and therefore would be a less competant referee. Here's some examples for you:

If you tried to drive a supersonic fighter jet into a dogfight after only spending time on a flight-simulator then chances are you're going to get killed as you will not be able to think fast enough in a real life situation to out-think the enemy.

In snooker/pool a player becomes so experienced that they know intuitavely how hard to strike the cue ball for a shot. Similar thing for golf.


Squash is a fast, explosive game, and the higher up the standard the faster a player needs to react. If the referee cannot react at the same speed as that of the play, then quite simply, THEY SHOULD NOT BE REFEREEING THAT GAME


It is simply unacceptable to have a bookworm try to impose the letter of the rule book in an event of that speed. The pressure to remember which rule to pick and to just try to imagine what's in a player's head when you haven't experienced the game is impossible. I'd say that people should be banned from becoming high level referees unless they have played at an appropriate level. Likewise I believe that nobody should become a highly qualified coach without first becoming a qualified referee to an appropriate standard.


So the question becomes on what classes as an appropriate standard. Clearly having all pros / semi-pros / ex pros etc as referees is never going to happen. Neither is having all coaches / players qualified to a high standard of play. What I do believe should happen is that all professional referees should have actually played to a high club level and that all pros / semi-pros should be qualified to a moderate standard of refereeing!


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From edmpnd1961 - 23 Jun 2007 - 04:28

Hi Rippa,

I got the year of the World Championships in K..L. Malaysia. , where i had attended the World Referee's Conferance, wrong, it shd read 1997 instead of 2000. And when we were there, we were told to go back to where we came fm and educate, fm all levels, right fm A-graders downwards to novices to follow only one holy grail which is the world squash rules used by  the psa pro players. 

Looking at both yr and adz's comments, i was right abt pro's know nuts abt rules but complain( louder shld the lose) as u said rippa.

So here's Rule 15 for u guys(pro's) out here.

15.1 The players must observe all rules and the spirit of the game. Failure to do so could bring the gane into disrepute and Rule 17 may be applied.

15.2 Players must be ready to commence play at the announced starting time of the match

15.3 Players are not permitted to place within the court any object(s),clothing or equipment

 15.4 Players are not permitted to leave the court during a game without the permmission of the referee. if they do, the referee may apply Rule 17

15.5 Players are not permitted to request a change of Marker or Referee.

15.6 A player must not deliberately distract the opponent. If this occurs thre referee shall apply Rule 17

15.7 Players should preface appeals by saying"let please" "appeal please" according to the circumtances. Pointing fingers or racket, other gestures,raised eyebrows or other eye activity are not universally recognised methods of appeal.

15.8 Players must comply with any additional competetion regulations(e.g the clothing requirements of the tournaments) as well as those contained in the rules.

I hope u guys know what Rule 17 stands for????????????????

As for the,  Interference line of thinking,  which u will find at  World Squash page at  Let Please. We referees hv as much as only one split second of thought, to run thru it and make/give a correct decision. ( the bottom line reads like this) the over-riding principle of the rules is to ensure, a fair result for both players.

My plead is pls stop spoiling the pros and get on with the game .

I recently saw the refereeing at the Milo All Stars Junior in Petaling Jaya Malaysia, and the refereeing was appaulling both by players and officials alike.



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From rippa rit - 22 Jun 2007 - 07:54   -   Updated: 22 Jun 2007 - 07:56

edmund and adz - this referee thing used to be one of my hobby horses, especially when I was the State coach. It sort of went like this post , mostly around in a circle.  What?
  • The players would complain
  • The Referees did their best (some qualified, some unqualified and it made no difference anyway).
  • The Coach (me) would say go do a course and become qualified so you can argue on referee terms, as half the reasons for the madness were not rule orientated, eg right answer, wrong rule reference, etc.
  • The hierarchy would not insist the players complete a course (you cannot make players do that! Wrong).
  • Top players, in the main, who want to become qualified coaches have to do a referee course and most of them fail about 3 times (and that happened to me originally too).
I rest my case, this is about professional development of the players, of the future coaches, the status of our game, standards, etc.. 
And, I guess, if you blame the ref at least it was not your fault if you lose the match is the approach some players take depending on their state of mind at the time.

My view only, but top players should become qualified referees, it only takes 90 minutes to do the paper; players could then assist the referees, especially those who do not read the game as well, and improve the image overall.

Sometimes I think people just like to keep grumbling and not progress.

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From edmpnd1961 - 22 Jun 2007 - 01:58

Hi Adz,

I miss the last line of post.  ihow could u think J.P. would be a gd referee, tell him do ref one whole tournament and we see.especially when he argues in court  (squash ) most of the time, which,means only one thing, he does mot know the rules ,like i hv said earlier and the referees were afraid of his reputation. asa sqiash supremo at that time otherwise, he would hv been penalise with numerous condut 17. meanwhile please read up rule 15 and u will know what i mean, because if u still insisted J.P's riight means u hvn read it too..


edmond sng



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From edmpnd1961 - 21 Jun 2007 - 20:16

 HI Adz,

U answered yr own question, as a pro u do not hv the guts to ref a match so give credit to those travelling refs, who do the job out of passion for the game, and yes , we became referees because our playing standards are sub par.

Rules r rules,  can u honestly tell me that all u guys (psa pors) read the rules. and hv u , personally. read the one, on the line of thinking for referees.

I agree that some refs are horrendus, and liked,i hv said and i say again, we are all equal as humans. we both err, player and refs alike. the difference is pro players dont want to read or understand the rules and can not afford to lose. (also some cheat, most of the times as well)

Back to yr question on be a pro player inorder to be a pro's referee, that to far fetch for most of us as i hv explain abv. and again i ask how many psa pros wants to be refs.

Hands up for count pls.

Tks n rgds






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From Adz - 21 Jun 2007 - 18:12

I think the point he was trying to make was that you shouldn't referee a level of squash unless you have played there before, or at lease got a high understanding of it. I have to say that even though this might be a slightly controversial point of view, I completely agree with him.


Why should anyone be allowed to have that much influence over a level of play that they've never been involved in? I've been offered the opportunity to referee high level matches in the past and turned them down as I would not be confident to do justice to the match. I think that even a highly qualified referee should have to show that they have experience at certain levels as well as pass tests to become a professional referee.


Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good referee, and take my hat off to people who become involved in refereeing at high levels, but I've cringed at some decisions that I've seen made in the past, where a player has to explain why they wanted a let (and it was a pretty simple decision) but it was open to interpetation by a referee. In this case the referee reversed their decision AFTER hearing the player's reasoning. Vote of no confidence immediately on that one!


Anyhow, back to the point at hand.... JP and his progressive ideas. He changed the world's view on squash, captivated a new audience and came up with some brilliant ideas about the game both on and off the court, one of which was a 3 referee system involving players. I don't think anyone could claim that he wouldn't be great at anything he does in the world of squash..... INCLUDING refereeing!


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From edmpnd1961 - 21 Jun 2007 - 11:42

Hi rippa,

I read with anger J.P"s remarks, during  interview with Jean Le Lierre on the 3 referee's system. and He mention abt "speed".

My arguement is that why not invited Mr. J.P. ( god of squash, do not get me wrong as i admire him as a good player but a bad or sore loser), to be involved or referee a whole tournament of his choice and then, we shall see what the psa players comment abt his refereeing skills and his so called "speed at this level" needed for referees to make the correct  call at all times, and as i hv mentioned in my earlier postings psa players are human and referees are supposed to super beings.

I sincerely hope that U are reading this J.P. or that rippta u can help to get this msg across to him as he should be able to manage sometime to dio some justice to the game by trying to be in a referee's shoe first before he shoots his mouth abt how referreeing needs to be done. and like i hv also mention earlier, he does not know rule 15 exist at all.





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From edmpnd1961 - 05 Jun 2007 - 09:54

Hi Adz

I apologise for tne confusion as i was rushing of to K.L. Malaysia, that morning for the Milo Juniors Championship held there.

What i meant was two different things and i thought by giving an e.g. u know what i meant.

These cheats are far n few, and Rita adv. was correct.

The reason (1) why i brought up the rule 15 is because i hv seen alot of players including pros n qualified coaches n referees not adhereing to this rule when playing.

Often then not a loose shot was played by either player and what i meant , reason(2) know the rules well and appeal accordingly. e.g Appeal Pls, given yr reasons why is it a let.

The incindent discribed above with Chris Walker and Dan Jenson was that they were make to view a clip on J.K against Chis Ditmar. both called a no let as they felt no interference involved. when the clip was slowed downed and they saw J.K's ankle clipped by Ditmar as J.K. was moving into the drop shot. That was when they both thanked God.

Also u guys stands slow close to each other, moving in and out might create some kind interference which often the striker could not hv seen. so long as both makes a clean attemp to clear each other and yet  no let calls are given. then a video clip of that game hv to be sent to Mr. Graharm Walters and that particular ref or refs must be ask to be strike of from the list.

Thanks n happy squashing


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From Adz - 01 Jun 2007 - 09:42

I have to say that myself and a few players I know have read this thread and have completely lost the plot with what was being discussed!

It suggests that we didn't know rule 15 exists, but I will assure you we did. Also it suggests that rule 15 has sometihng to do with cheating referees? Now this is something I have no idea about. How can a player being required to play by the rules have anything to do with a poor or cheating referee? Are you suggesting that a player should govern themselves if a referee is either incompetant or biased? Surely this makes the situation even more biased against a player who is being wronged by a poor or cheating referee?


I completely agree with the idea of a player being honest and upholding the rules, but I simply don't see how this can apply to a cheating referee situation? Are you suggesting that a cheating referee is the fault of the players?


As mentioned earlier Ed, I'm completely lost on your reference to rule 15, perhaps you could explain how it applies to enlighten me?



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From edmpnd1961 - 01 Jun 2007 - 02:08

Hi Adz

Apparently it seems to me u never knew this rule15 exists. so do the pros. squash is suppose 2 b a gentlemen's game. rule equal to both players but when one pro hv an off day they will blame the referee(as if ref's are not normal but superior beings).

I understood yr situation, very well as we face the same problems in our NSL league( even the A-graders do it(cheat) to win for the club's sake).

I was at the 2000 world championshop in K.L Malaysia, and on the final day of the world ref's conference, Chris Walker and Dan Jensen represented the pro,(so to speak as the rest not interested) at the end of the session, they thank god and gave the blessing to us , for being ref's and not the two of them.

That's why understanding the ruleswell, will enable u to overcome ugly ref' appeal or let pls ref, i was prevented fm playing a winning shot, so why is that a let???????????

Pls be reminded that at all times,u need to appeal to the ref( as he is king once both of u are in the squash court)

Hope this little advice will help.



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From Adz - 25 May 2007 - 22:19

Sorry Ed, but I'm not sure how rule 15 applies to a cheating referee. Appreciating that the majority of referees do the best they can and no-body is ever perfect all of the time, it still doesn't excuse a blantantly cheating referee.

And you certainly can't expect a player to abide by the rules if the referee clearly isn't using the same rule book as the rest of the planet. Thankfully these things are few and far between, and certainly don't happen on the professional stage (cheating refs I mean!).

Don't get me wrong, I like referees, and having one that calls it as close to perfect everytime is fantastic in my book!


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From edmpnd1961 - 25 May 2007 - 11:27

Hi I am a squash Referee,

Rules are rules, Do u guys read on rule 15 duties of a player. Just because u are a professional player, u guys can ignore this rule and i think that those travelling referees should apply this rule more often when the pros get out of hand.



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From rippa rit - 05 May 2007 - 07:33

Adz - the trouble is there is really nothing you can do about a referee that is incompetent for whatever reason.  The only way out seems to be to just focus on your play, focus on ways to overcome what is creating the problem, and really go for it, and be more determined to win in spite of the refs decisions.
Sometimes there seems to be a mix-match, or clash, with certain opponents and that is where the tactics really come into play.  You know the drill, and if you do lose control of the rally be prepared to get out of the way, and then run like mad.

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From Adz - 05 May 2007 - 01:11

The shame is that I really have had to play a match where the referee was blatantly cheating. When you come across a referee like that, you best hope that you can play the type of game that can completely demoralise your opponent and force them into making as many mistakes as possible in order to win.

By cheating I mean:

  • Every shot where I was near my opponent when they couldn't even reach the ball was a let (even the rolling nicks!) - Some were even strokes!
  • Anything near the tin, close to a double bounce or close to being out was called down.
  • All stokes to me were given as lets - an attempt to play the ball as safely as possible to avoid the let but win the point resulted in a conduct stroke!
  • All marginal lets were not given (including some obvious lets which were not given).


Playing against this type of cheating is very difficult and needs you to keep your cool completely. I had to keep the ball alive to the point where my opponent would make a mistake, an avoid any let or stroke decisions at the same time. I think the match took over an hour for 3 games and really was hell on Earth!


Having an incompetant referee is fine, at least they don't know any better, but having a ref who blatantly cheats really is tough!


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