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Squash Terminology Guide


  • A bit confused about Squash shop talk or Squash speak? This page might help to cut through some of the haze.
  •  If you have a Squash term or phrase that does not appear here, contact us.
 

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PSA Squash TV - CIMB Malaysian Open 2012

Calls on Service

Foot fault
  • One foot not in the service box
  • Walking out of the service box before hitting the service.
 Not up
  • The server makes an attempt but fails to hit the ball.
  • The ball is not struck correctly.
 Out
  • The ball is served "out". 
Fault
  • The ball does not hit the front wall first.
  • The ball is served onto or below the "cutline".
  • The ball does not land in the correct service box.
Down
  • The ball hits the board.
  • The ball, before being struck, hits a player's clothes or anything he wears or carries.
 Let
  • Opponent not ready to receive the serve.

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Official Squash Definitions

Excessive Swing - Dangerous play
  • Excessive swing can probably be best described as the swing of a tennis player.
  • Players (if they have a straight arm swinging action), while not intentionally trying to be dangerous, can breach the rules under "dangerous play".
  • The Referee must determine if the player's swing is dangerous and apply a "Conduct warning" or "Conduct penalty" under Rule 17.
  •  If an injury results from dangerous play the Referee shall award the match to the injured player.
  • The player who caused the injury, the remaining points/games forfeited, retains all points won.
Conduct on Court - Rule 17
  • Offensive, disruptive or intimidating behaviour is not acceptable.
Turning - Rule 9
  • 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)
Appeal
  • A player's request to the Referee to consider an on or off court situation.
  •  Appeal is used throughout the rules in two contexts, ie where the player requests the Referee to consider varying a Marker's decision, and where the player requests the referee to allow a let.
  • The correct form of appeal by a player is "appeal please" or "let please"
Attempt
  • The Referee shall decide what is an attempt to play the ball.
  • An attempt is made when, in the opinion of the Referee, the striker has moved his racket towards the ball from his backswing position with the intention of making a good return.
Box(Service)
  • A square area in each quarter court bounded by part of the short line, part of the side wall, and by two other lines and from within which the server serves.
Hit Correctly
  • The ball being hit by the racket (held in the hand), not more than once, nor with prolonged contact on the racket
Down
  • The expression used to indicate that an otherwise good return has struck the board or tin or has failed to reach the front wall.
  • Down is also used as a Marker's call
Game
  • Part of a match, commencing with a service and concluding when one player has scored or been awarded nine or ten points (in accordance with the rules)
Half Time
  • The mid-point of the warm-up. Also used as a Referee's call
Hand
  • The period from the time a player becomes Server until he becomes Receiver
Hand Out
  • A term used when change of server occurs. Hand out is also used as a Marker's call to indicate that a change of hand has occurred
Match
  • The complete contest between two players commencing with the warm-up and concluding when both players have left the court at the end of the final rally
Match Ball
  • The state of the score when the server requires one point to win the match
NotUp
  • The expression used to indicate that a ball has not been struck in accordance with the rules.
  • Not up covers all services or returns which are not good and are neither down nor out - with the exception of faults and foot faults.
  • Not Up is also used as a Marker's call
Out
  • The expression used to indicate that a ball has struck the out line or a wall above such line or the roof, or has passed over any part of the roof, eg cross bars.
  • Out is also used as a Marker's call
Point
  • A unit of the scoring system. One point is added to a player's score
Rally
  • A series of returns of the ball, comprising one or more such returns
Reasonable Backswing
  • Is the initial action used by a player in moving his racket away from his body, as preparation prior to racket movement, towards the ball for contact.
  • A backswing is reasonable if it is not excessive. An excessive backswing is one in which the player's racket arm is extended towards a straight arm position and/or the racket is extended with the shaft approximately horizontal.
  • The Referee's decision on what constitutes a reasonable, as distinct from excessive backswing, is final
Fault
  • The call Fault by the Marker indicates that the service is a fault
Foot Fault
  • The call Foot Fault by the Marker indicates that the Service is a foot fault
Set 1
  • The Markers call to indicate that the game in progress is to be played to nine points after the score has reached 8-all. Called once only in any game
Set 2
  • The Markers call to indicate that the game in progress is to be played to ten points, after the score has reached 8-all. Called once only in any game
Let
  • A call made by the Marker, after the Referee has ruled that a rally is to be replayed
Stroke
  • A call made by the Marker after the Referee has awarded a stroke to that player
No Let
  • A call made by the Marker after the Referee has disallowed an appeal for a let
Stop
  • A call made by the Referee to stop play
Time
  • A call made by the Referee to indicate that a period of time prescribed in the rules has elapsed
Fifteen seconds
  • The Referee's call to advise the players that 15 seconds of the interval permitted between games remain
Conduct Warning
  • The Referee's call to advise a player that he has committed an offence under Conduct on Court, and is being given a warning
Conduct Stroke
  • The Referee's call to advise a player that he has committed an offence under Conduct on Court, and that a stroke is to be awarded to his opponent
Conduct Game
  • The Referee's call to advise a player that he has committed an offence under Conduct on Court, and that a game is to be awarded to his opponent
Conduct Match
  • The Referee's call to advise a player that he has committed an offence under Conduct on Court, and that the match has been awarded to his opponent
Game Ball
  • The state of the score when the server requires one point to win the game in progress.
  • Game Ball is also used as a Marker's call
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).
Attempt
  • The movement of the racket from a backswing position towards the ball.

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Rule speak

Under the rules it is necessary to understand the terms which might be referred to by the Marker when scoring.

Game
Part of a match, commencing with a service and concluding when one player has scored or been awarded nine or ten points (in accordance with the rules).

Hand
The period from the time a player becomes Server until he becomes Receiver.

Match
The complete contest between two players commencing with the warm-up and concluding when both players have left the court at the end of the final rally.

Match Ball
The state of the score when the server requires one point to win the match.

Rally
A series of returns of the ball, comprising one or more such returns.

Fault
The call Fault by the Marker indicates that the service is a fault.

Foot Fault
The call Foot Fault by the Marker indicates that the Service is a foot fault.

Set 1
The Markers call to indicate that the game in progress is to be played to nine points after the score has reached 8-all (called once only in any game).

Set 2
The Markers call to indicate that the game in progress is to be played to ten points, after the score has reached 8-all (called once only in any game).

Let
A call made by the Marker, after the Referee has ruled that a rally is to be replayed.

Stroke
A call made by the Marker after the Referee has awarded a stroke to that player.

No Let
A call made by the Marker after the Referee has disallowed an appeal for a let.

Stop
A call made by the Referee to stop play.

Time
A call made by the Referee to indicate that a period of time prescribed in the rules has elapsed.

Striker
The player:
  • whose turn it is to hit the ball after it has rebounded from the front wall; or
  • who is in the process of hitting the ball; or
  • who, up to the point of the return reaching the front wall, has just hit the ball.

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Tactical references

Tight length
  • A term used when hitting a ball down the side wall, so that it hugs the wall, and lands in the back corner of the court
Play percentage
  • A term used when referring to making no errors, but get every ball back into play. Wait for the opponent to make the error
Get to the T
  • The T is really a place in the centre of the court.
  • Literally speaking it is the junction of the Half Court line and Short Line.
  • See Court Markings below
Attack
  • During play it means to be more aggressive, take the ball on the volley, give the opponent less time, and generally force the opponent to feel rushed or threatened by your presence on the court
Play your game
  • We all have a preferred way of playing, or should have a specific game plan to suit the specific opponent.
  • Often players get influenced by their opponent's play and mirror their game.
  • For example, if the opponent hits hard, you hit hard, if they hit soft, you hit soft - and it is easy to get sucked in
Break up the game
  • When the opponent seems to be in a good rhythm, and can do no wrong, it is time to change the play.
  • For example, one length drive, followed by a boast, followed by a drop shot, followed by a cross court lob will break up the game
Play short
  • This means exactly as it says. Specifically it means bring the player to the front of the court. So hit a few more boasts and drop shots
Play long
  • Hit the shots to length. For example play drives and lobs that land in the back of the court
Slow game
  • Some players naturally play a slow game, which will have plenty of lobs and high serves, with a limited amount of hard drives.
  • A slow game can also be played deliberately to upset the opponent's rhythm, or to get a "second wind"
Be patient
  • To be patient, means not to try to hit a winner off every shot. It is recommended to wait till a shot is "on" before going for a quick winner
Knackered
  • This is an expression used to indicate complete exhaustion
The Nick
  • Where the floor meets the side wall.  When a player hits the ball into the nick, it is sometimes called a "dead nick" - a great shot.

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The Court Markings

Service Box
  • A square area in each quarter court bounded by part of the short line, part of the side wall, and by two other lines and from within which the server serves.

Board
  • The board is the lowest horizontal marking on the front wall, with the tin beneath it for the full width of the court
Service line
  • A line upon the front wall, the top edge of which is 1.83 metres (6 feet) above the floor and extending the full width of the court
Half Court Line
  • A line set upon the floor parallel to the side walls, dividing the back of the court into two equal parts, meeting the short line at its mid point to form the T
Out line
  • A continuous line comprising the front wall line, both side wall lines and the back wall line, and marking the top boundaries of the court. In the case of a glass back wall, and the ball in play strikes part of the horizontal top surface of such a wall and deflects back into the court, such a ball is out
Quarter Court
  • One half of the back part of the court which has been divided into two equal parts by the half court line

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