Ruling on lets and strokes can be one of the most challenging parts of the referee’s responsibilities. The World Squash Federation describes the rules regarding lets and strokes in great detail, and players should be familiar with these rules. The flow chart below summarizes how a referee should decide on lets and strokes. The College Squash Association recommends that a copy of this chart be provided on the clipboard with the score sheet for each match (click on the chart to enlarge):
Note: When the striker is asking for a let, the striker should stop their swing and not hit the ball. It is bad form to ask in the first instance for a stroke because the request for a let implies a request for the stroke. Players are encouraged to offer the stroke if they know a stroke is warranted.
BEST EFFORT LET and FISHING FOR STROKES
College coaches and players should be particularly aware of two rules: the “best effort let” and “fishing for strokes.”
Best Effort Let: The rules of squash indicate that a player must have demonstrated a “best effort” to attempt to play a ball in the case of interference by the other player. It is a stated refereeing policy at the World Squash Federation, Professional Squash Association (PSA), and Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA) levels to strongly enforce this rule, awarding a “no let” in cases where the player made no effort to play the ball.
The College Squash Association also strongly recommends that in all intercollegiate matches, “no let” be called when, in the judgment of the referee, the opponent has not made their best effort to reach the ball. In other words, a player who is too tired to play the ball, doesn’t bother to make an attempt, or is out of position and uses a minor interference as a strategy to recover from a self-imposed disadvantage should not be rewarded for this tactic.
Fishing for Strokes: There has been a disturbing trend in everywhere from junior- to professional-level squash for players to play to create stroke positions rather than playing to take points to winning conclusions.
The rules of squash indicate that a stroke should only be awarded when the offending player makes no best effort to get out of the way or if a winning shot would have be playable without interference. The College Squash Association would like players and coaches to focus on the ethics of this situation. Players should not be maneuvering to create marginal stroke situations. They should be playing to win points through skill, tactics, and conditioning.
Strokes and lets should only be awarded when clearly indicated by the rules and the situation.