This page contains collated information about a particular rule and does not contain personal opinion or any form of unofficial interpretation.
Every few weeks this page will be updated with a different “Random Rule”.
Points to ponder:
The following is the current rather complicated rule that we use at the moment, however this is due to be reviewed/revised over the next 12 months and we will have to play smarter squash in future!! The principles will be the same.
The striker has four basic rights, and interference has occurred if the opponent fails to provide him with any of these, even if he has made every effort to do so:
(Rule 12) SUMMARISED
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.
AT ANY TIME DURING A RALLY A PLAYER SHOULD NOT STRIKE THE BALL IF THERE IS A DANGER OF HITTING THE OPPONENT WITH THE BALL OR RACKET. IN SUCH CASES PLAY STOPS AND THE RALLY IS EITHER PLAYED AGAIN (“A LET”) OR THE OPPONENT IS PENALISED.
Regarding interference, one should always say “Let please” whenever you sense interference may occur. In the interest of safety one should never play the shot and allow the interference to occur.
- If your opponent is interfering with your path to the ball, it is usually a “Let” or play the point again.
- If your opponent is interfering with your direct swing to the ball, then it should be “stroke” or your point.
There are a lot of grey areas and many other situations that could change the call. With experience you will learn what is let , no let, and stroke. As a beginner it is best to play a let on most interferences.
In squash you must make every effort to clear your shot to give your opponent direct access to the ball once you have played it. In other words you can not play your shot and remain standing directly in the path your opponent would take to retrieve your shot.
When interference does occur it results in either a “Let” which is to replay the point, or a “Stroke” which is a point to the person who’s shot was obstructed.
Keep in mind the following rule of thumb regarding Let and Stroke:
Interference far from ball (>1m):
- Could have got to it –> LET (replay point)
- Otherwise –> NO LET Interference close to ball (<1 m):
- Could have hit it –> STROKE (i.e your point!)
- Otherwise –> LET
In the interest of safety you must NEVER attempt any shot that has a risk of either the ball or the racquet hitting your opponent. The correct thing to do is to hold your shot and ask for a “let”. In the case where your shot would have hit your opponent you can ask ‘Let Please’. Your opponent should then award you the stroke if there is no referee. If the ball hits the opponent, it depends where the ball is going. If going to front wall then stroke, if going to side wall then let. This is the simple answer though there are other situations that can result in other calls.
Turning a full circle before hitting the ball
Turning is when you rotate 360 degrees about a point, i.e spin one revolution around. The rule regarding turning has been changed in the 2001 rules. Turning is allowed, but now if the opponent is hit with the ball after the striker has turned the stroke is awarded to the opponent. However, if the opponent makes a deliberate movement to intercept the shot then the stroke is awarded to the striker. In general if you want to turn and do not know where your opponent is, you should hold your shot and appeal for a let which should be granted. If you are sure that your shot after turning will miss your opponent then you are entitled to continue with the rally and no penalty applies. If you find that in playing your shot after turning your swing is interfered with by the opponent not moving out of the way, you can request a let for interference. The let should be granted.
Rule 12 – INTERFERENCE
(Note that the “G numbers” refer to the Guidelines listed after this section)
12.1 The player whose turn it is to play the ball is entitled to freedom from interference by the opponent.
12.2 To avoid interference the opponent must make every effort to provide the player with:
12.2.1 (G6) unobstructed direct access to the ball after completion of a reasonable follow-through;
12.2.2 a fair view of the ball on its rebound from the front wall;
12.2.3 (G7) freedom to hit the ball with a reasonable swing;
12.2.4 freedom to play the ball directly to any part of the front wall.
12.3 Interference occurs if the opponent fails to fulfil any of the requirements of Rule 12.2, even though the opponent makes every effort to fulfil those requirements.
12.4 A player’s excessive swing can contribute to interference for the opponent when it becomes the latter’s turn to play the ball.
12.5 A player encountering possible interference has the choice of continuing to play or of stopping and appealing to the Referee.
12.5.1 (G8) A player seeking a let or a stroke should appeal by saying “Let please”.
12.5.2 (G9, G10) Only the player whose turn it is to play the ball may appeal. The player must appeal either immediately the interference occurs or, when clearly not continuing play beyond the point of interference, without undue delay.
12.6 The Referee shall decide on the appeal and shall announce the decision with the words “No let”, “Stroke to (name of player or team)”, or “Yes let” (see flowchart in Appendix 4.1). The Referee alone makes all decisions, which are final. The Referee, if uncertain of the reason for an appeal, may ask the player for an explanation.
12.7 The Referee shall not allow a let and the player shall lose the rally if the Referee decides:
12.7.1 (G6) there was no interference or the interference was so minimal that the player’s fair view of the ball and freedom to get to and play the ball were not affected;
12.7.2 (G6) interference occurred but either the player would not have made a good return or the player has not made every effort to get to and play the ball;
12.7.3 the player moved past the point of interference and played on;
12.7.4 (G11) the player created the interference in moving to the ball.
12.8 The Referee shall award a stroke to the player if:
12.8.1 there was interference, which the opponent did not make every effort to avoid, and the player would have made a good return;
12.8.2 (G7) there was interference, which the opponent made every effort to avoid, but the opponent’s position prevented the player’s reasonable swing and the player would have been able to make a good return;
12.8.3 (G7) there was interference, which the opponent made every effort to avoid, and the player would have made a winning return;
12.8.4 the player refrained from hitting the ball which, if hit, would clearly have struck the opponent going directly to the front wall; or to a side wall but in the latter case would have been a winning return (unless in either case turning or further attempt applies).
12.9 The Referee shall allow a let if there was interference, which the opponent made every effort to avoid, and the player would have made a good return.
12.10 The Referee shall not award a stroke to a player who causes interference with an excessive swing.
12.11 The Referee may allow a let under Rule 12.9 or award a stroke under Rule 12.8 without an appeal, if necessary stopping play to do so.
12.12 The Referee may also apply Rule 17 when interference occurs. The Referee shall, stopping play if it has not already stopped, apply an appropriate penalty if:
12.12.1 (G12) the player made significant or deliberate physical contact with the opponent;
12.12.2 the player endangered the opponent with an excessive swing.
* * * * * * * * *
G5. INTERFERENCE ON TURNING OR A FURTHER ATTEMPT
When a player turns or makes a further attempt to play the ball, the opponent still has an obligation to make every effort to provide the player with freedom to sight the ball and to get to and play the ball as provided for in Rule 12. However, the act of turning or of recovering for a further attempt is often so quick that the opponent does not have a reasonable opportunity to clear before the interference occurs.
In such cases, the Referee shall allow a let. Conversely, if the opponent had ample time to clear but made no effort to do so, or deliberately moved thereby creating the interference, the Referee shall award a stroke to the player.
When a player shapes to play the ball on one side and then brings the racket across the body to take the ball on the other side, it is neither turning nor making a further attempt and, if interference occurs, Rule 12 applies. This position frequently occurs after the ball has hit the side wall and the front wall simultaneously and then rebounds into the middle of the court.
G6. MAKING EVERY EFFORT AND MINIMAL INTERFERENCE
The opponent must make every effort to clear the ball after playing a return. The opponent’s route should allow the player unobstructed direct access to the ball, provided the player has not moved in to play the ball so quickly as to block the opponent’s exit. In the latter case the Referee shall allow a let, unless the player could not have made a good return, in which case the Referee shall not allow a let.
However, it is equally important for the player to make every effort to get to and play the ball. If the player does not make every effort to get to and play the ball, that is a significant factor in the Referee’s assessment of whether or not that player could have reached the ball and made a good return.
The Referee shall decide the degree of effort that the player should make to demonstrate “making every effort”. This does not give the player the right to abuse the opponent physically and the Referee shall penalise significant or deliberate physical contact under Rule 12 or Rule 17.
When a player appeals for a let, having encountered some interference, the Referee, when deciding that the interference had no effect on that player’s sighting of the ball and freedom to get to and play the ball, shall not allow a let. This is minimal interference and includes situations in which: the opponent crossed the flight of the ball very early in its trajectory from the front wall but still allowed the player time to sight the ball; the player brushed past the opponent on the way to the ball without affecting the player’s direct access; and the racket swing brushed the opponent, the opponent’s clothing or racket without affecting the racket’s swing.
G7. INTERFERENCE WITH THE STRIKER’S SWING AND REASONABLE FEAR OF HITTING THE OPPONENT
Rule 12.2.3 allows the striker “freedom to hit the ball with a reasonable swing”. If the striker stops play because of the opponent not granting this freedom and appeals, the Referee shall consider following options:
- If the opponent is too close and has prevented the striker’s reasonable swing and is hit or would have been hit with the racket, the Referee shall award a stroke to the striker.
- If the striker stops play as a result of slight racket contact with the opponent, who is making every effort to clear, the Referee shall allow a let. This is different from the minimal interference described in G6. The amount of contact must be sufficient to affect the player’s swing, but insufficient to prevent it.
- If the striker stops play for fear of hitting the opponent and the opponent, though close to, does not prevent the striker’s reasonable swing, the Referee shall allow a let under rule 13.1.2 - reasonable fear of injury. As long as the opponent does not prevent a reasonable swing, a let is the appropriate decision.
- If the striker stops play for fear of hitting the opponent and the opponent is well clear of the reasonable swing, the Referee shall not allow a let, as the striker has judged the opponent’s position incorrectly.
G8. METHOD OF APPEAL
The correct method of appeal when interference or Rule 13 instances have occurred is to say “Let please” and for other occurrences under Rule 11 is to say “Appeal please”.
Players sometimes use other forms of appeal including a raised hand or racket, especially when communication between players and Referee is difficult. A Referee accepting any form of appeal other than the standard “Let please” or “Appeal please” must be satisfied that the player is actually making an appeal.
G9. TIMING OF APPEALS
The timing of an appeal on interference is important.
In the case of an appeal concerning fair view and freedom to hit the ball directly to the front wall (commonly known as “crossing the flight”), the Referee shall consider the situation at the time the player could have hit the ball.
In the case of interference on backswing, the appeal must be immediate and before the player makes any attempt to play the ball. Any attempt to hit the ball after backswing interference has occurred indicates that the striker has accepted the interference and thus forfeits the right of appeal.
If there is interference in the act of playing the ball, which includes a reasonable backswing, hit and reasonable follow-through, an appeal is justified. The Referee shall consider whether the opponent was crowding and not allowing freedom to play the ball in deciding whether to allow a let or to award a stroke.
If a player appeals for not being ready to receive service, the Referee shall allow a let, unless deciding the player delayed play unnecessarily. In the latter case the Referee could apply Rule 17.
G10. EARLY APPEAL
If a player makes an appeal for interference before the result of the opponent’s return is known, this is regarded as an early appeal. If a player makes an early appeal and the opponent’s return subsequently goes down or out, the Referee shall allow the result of the rally to stand, the player winning the rally.
When the opponent appeals for a let for interference before the player has completed a reasonable follow through, this is also regarded as an early appeal. In this case the opponent has no right of appeal and the Referee shall not award a let.
G11. CREATED INTERFERENCE
At all times an opponent must allow the player unobstructed direct access to play the ball.
However, sometimes the situation arises in which the opponent has caused no interference (i.e. the opponent has clearly provided the required direct access) but the player takes an indirect route to the ball which takes the player towards, or very close to, the opponent’s position. The player then appeals for a let because of being “obstructed” in access to the ball.
If there is no genuine reason for this indirect route, the player has created the interference where none otherwise existed and, if the player appeals, the Referee shall not allow a let. Whether the player could make a good return is not a consideration – in order to remain in the rally the player must get to and play the ball.
This is different from two situations in which a player, in attempting to recover from a position of disadvantage, does not have direct access to the ball. In the first situation the player is “wrong-footed” and anticipates the opponent hitting the ball one way, starts moving that way, but having guessed wrongly, changes direction to find the opponent in the way. In this situation the Referee shall allow the player a let on appeal if the recovery is sufficient to demonstrate the player would have made a good return. In fact, if the opponent prevents the incoming player from playing a winning return, the Referee shall award a stroke to that player.
Secondly, if a player plays a poor return that gives the opponent a position of advantage, the Referee shall allow the player a let only if, in taking the direct line to the ball for the next return, the Referee determines that, but for the interference, that player would have been able to get to and play the ball.