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Practical Squash Rules

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The Ball Warmup

Rule 3
The Ball Warm up -

  • The Referee must ensure BOTH players warm up the ball fairly.

The Ball substitute -
  • A ball may be replaced by mutual consent of the players or on appeal by either player at the discretion of the Referee.

The Ball breaks -
  • If a ball breaks during play, a let for the rally in which the ball broke shall be allowed. After appeal, if the Referee determines the ball is not broken, the player loses the rally.
If the server appeals prior to attempting to serve a let shall be allowed. If the receiver appeals prior to attempting to return that service, a let shall be allowed.

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Continuity of Play

Rule 7
7.3 Equipment Change
  • A player may have up to 90 seconds to change defective equipment, provided the deterioration occurred during the match.
  • To ask to change shoes, where no physical deterioration is evident is not sufficient reason for allowing an equipment change.
  • The maximum time allowed for any change is 90 seconds whether it be racket, shoes, contact lenses, spectacles, grip and so on.
  • If the player is not ready at the appropriate time the Referee should apply "Rule 17 Penalty".
7.6 Wasting Time
  • Play must be continuous.
  • Wasting time could be considered an attempt to violate the rules and may result in a "Conduct warning".
  • Subsequent warnings may result in a "Conduct stroke" being awarded to the opponent.
  • Examples of wasting time include:
    • Excessive bouncing of the ball prior to serving,
    • Unnecessarily talking to the referee and continually asking the score and arguing over the points,
    • Faking injuries like falling over and asking for a towel to mop up,
    • Continually tying of shoe laces,
    • Throwing or hitting the ball outside the court on purpose,
    • Delaying play by deliberately walking around the court
    • Not being ready to serve or return the ball, etc.

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Rule 9 Turning

  • Turning occurs when:
    • the striker has physically followed the ball around and turned, or
    • the ball has passed around the striker and the striker strikes the ball to the right of the body after the ball has passed to the left (or vice versa).
  • If the striker has turned but chooses not to continue the rally and asks for a let, this is not an automatic let situation. The referee must be satisfied that both:
    • 1. The striker would have been able to make a good return, and
    • 2. There must have been a reasonable fear of the ball hitting the opponent.
    • 3. If the striker turns and hits the opponent, with the ball going directly to the front wall, the referee awards a stroke to the opponent, unless the opponent made a deliberate movement to intercept the return, in which case the referee awards the stroke to the striker.
  • The Referee does not allow a let if the Referee decides that the act of turning was to create the opportunity to appeal rather than an attempt to play the ball.

  • If, after turning, the striker encounters interference, the striker may stop play and appeal.
  • The referee should award a stroke to the striker if deciding that the opponent did not make every effort to avoid the interference and the striker could have made a good return.

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Further Attempts

Rule 10
Further Attempts - Definition

  • A "further attempt" to hit the ball ocurs when a player either shapes to hit the ball (ie starts a downswing) or misses the ball, then tries again to make a return.
  • If a player (including anything worn or carried) is hit by a further attempt to hit the ball, providing the ball would reach the front wall, a let shall be allowed.
  • If the striker could not have made a good return he shall lose the point.

Shaping Definition
  • Shaping is not an attempt to hit the ball.
  • A player "Shapes" to play a shot when they take their backswing.
  • It is considered an attempt to hit the ball when the downswing starts.
  • When a player shapes to play the ball on the forehand, then brings their racket across their body to take the ball on the backhand, this is not considered to be "turning" or "making a second attempt".
  • The ball does not need to be struck for an attempt to be made.

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Rule 11
The non-striker may appeal against:-
    • Ball hits article on the floor of the court.
    • Distractions on or off the court.
    • Change in court conditions which affect the rally.
Appeals are necessary to get a let for:-
    • Striker refrains from hitting the ball due to fear of hitting opponent (good return must be possible).
    • Receiver not ready, and no attempt made to hit the ball.
    • Distractions on or off the court (a good return must be possible)
    • Players disagree with Marker and Referee is unsure.
Referee decides without any appeal or players can appeal:-
    • Ball hits article on the floor of the court.
    • Change in court conditions that affect the rally.
    • Ball breaks.
    • Ball lodges in any part of the playing surface preventing it from bouncing.

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Rule 12 - Interference
  • A player is entitled to minimal interference by the opponent. Interference occurs when the opponent does not provide:
    • Unobstructed direct access to the ball.
    • A fair view of the ball.
    • Freedom to hit the ball.
    • Freedom to play the ball.
Note: If a player considers he has suffered interference he may:-
1. Continue play, or
2. Stop play and appeal to the Referee.
The player must ask the Referee "Let Please" when appealing. The appeal must be made immediately the interference occurs.
Line of Reasoning
  • Rule 12 is probably one of the most difficult rules for players to interpret.
  • The following will assist make the correct decision:-
    • 1.Could the Striker have made a good return, if NO - NO LET.
    • If YES, was there any interference, if NO - NO LET.
    • If YES, was every effort made, if YES - YES LET - unless
    • 2.Could the Striker have made a winning return, then STROKE TO THE STRIKER.
  • If every effort was not made, then, STROKE TO THE STRIKER.
12.12.1 - Pushing
  • Pushing an opponent is considered to be dangerous play (unnecessary physical contact).
  • If this persists the Referee should stop play and issue a "Conduct warning" to the offending player.
  • If pushing continues the Referee shall award a "Conduct Stroke".
  • If the pushing is deliberate and excessive and persistent the Referee, at his discretion, shall award a stroke, or game, or match.
12.2.3 - Making Every Effort - Crowding
  • Crowding can cause injury.
  •  If injury is caused to a player who is crowding, and it is considered to be a self-inflicted injury (it was their fault), the player must leave the court if the wound is bleeding.
  • The wound must be securely covered before resuming play.
12.2.4 Freedom of stroke - Excessive backswing
  • Excessive backswing is described as a racket arm extended towards a straight arm position and/or with the shaft of the racket approximately horizontal.
  •  Excessive backswing may cause interference, even though the opponent has made every effort to get out of the way.
  • If the player with excessive backswing appeals for a let, he shall not be awarded a stroke.
  12.7.4 Created Interference
  •  The striker must allow his opponent direct access to play the ball at all times.
  • At times the opponent has caused no interference (he has provided direct access to the ball) but the player has taken an indirect route to the ball (if there is no reason to do this and he has caused his own interference) and appeals for a let, he should not be allowed a let.
  • Sometimes the player anticipates his opponent (but guesses wrongly), and changes direction to find his opponent in the way. On appeal, a let should be allowed provided he has shown the Referee that he could have made a good return in spite of the interference. In fact, had the incoming striker been prevented from playing a winning return, he may be awarded a stroke.
Jumping the Ball
  • A player is permitted to jump the ball and there is no automatic penalty.
  • If interference occurs by the jumping of the ball, and the opponent was standing directly behind, in a position to hit the ball, stroke to the opponent.
Delaying returning the ball
  • The opponent must give the striker freedom to play the ball.
  • The striker is entitled to delay his return and the opponent must still provide freedom of stroke.
  • If the striker is prevented from playing the ball, a stroke should be awarded.
  • If the striker has faked the swing with a forward racket movement, but without hitting the ball, any subsequent interference would be accidental.
  • However, if interference occurs, provided the striker could have made a good return, a let would be allowed.
Players being hit by the ball
  • Mostly, a player, being struck by his own return, would lose the point. Except, if due to the position of his opponent, the player was unable to clear the ball, a let may be allowed.
  • If the striker shapes to hit the ball, and then changes their mind, and the ball hits the opponent, a let may also be allowed.
  • If a player is hit by the ball which is not travelling directly to the front wall (eg boast), a let is played as long as the ball is going up.
  • If the a player is hit by the ball going directly to the front wall, generally a stroke will be awarded against the player as long as the ball is going up.
  • The situation may change if the return is a "further attempt".

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16.2 Illness on court

Rule 16 - Injury
16.2 Illness on court

  • If a player is sick on the court preventing the match continuing, due to the court condition, then the Referee should award the match to the opponent irrespective of whether the player is able to keep playing. Accidental/self inflicted injury
  • The Referee has the discretion of allowing up to 3 minutes for recovery. Accidental injury (caused by the opponent).
  • The Referee must first determine that the injury is genuine, and allow reasonable time for the injured player to recover, having regard for the schedule of the competition.
  •  At this point the injured player must resume play or concede the match. All points won are retained by the injured player.
  •  If both players agree the match may be replayed.
  • It is recommended a by-law be included in all tournament conditions covering "injury time", say, stating a period of 10 - 15 minutes be allowed before play resumes.
16.3.3 Blood
  • Under no circumstances shall a player resume play with:
    • visible bleeding, or
    • an open wound, or
  • blood stained clothing If the player resumes play and bleeding recommences, no more recovery time is allowed.

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