Dear Players, Parents and Coaches,
As we head into the final weeks of the official squash season and our national championships, we thought this was an appropriate time to provide some reminders regarding the Rules of Squash, on-site and on-court conduct, roles and mutual expectations.
The Rules of Squash
Officials and players work together and have a shared responsibility to ensure matches are played fairly. Central to the training of officials at any level is the emphasis on encouraging players to make every effort to clear after striking the ball, to then provide an unobstructed path to the ball, and for players to take a direct line to the ball when it is their turn as striker.
Referees must determine when a player has not appropriately cleared—or when the striker is not taking a direct line and making his or her best effort to play the ball—and penalize the offending player with a ‘stroke’ or ‘no let’ call.
Officiating can often feel complicated, however the expectations for players are simple:
- make play as continuous as possible
- take a direct line to play your shot
- fully clear to allow your opponent to play
- call your own balls down, out or not up—don’t leave it up to the officials
As a coach, fan or family member, the expectations are equally clear: cheer positively, let the players play, and allow the referees to perform their duties without interference.
Many parents have expressed support, even appreciation, for the unique part of junior squash in which players who just finished competing then immediately work together to referee their peers.
Unfortunately, the most challenging and corrupting part of the refereeing experience is not making the calls on the court, rather it is enduring the reaction of parents and coaches, and sometimes the players, to the calls made by the referees—whether they be fellow players or higher-level certified officials.
We encourage all parents and coaches to take the opportunity the sport provides to model for your children how we should all behave in the moment—by showing respect for others, and by taking personal responsibility.
We are of course not letting the players themselves off the hook in adhering to our Code of Conduct. In addition to sending conduct letters to coaches and parents, this season we have also sent dozens to junior players reminding them of our expectations and have suspended players for a periods of time due to their infractions.
A few other points of reference in the area of conduct for players to remember include:
- if there is contact, stop once you reach your opponent, refrain from using excessive force—it’s dangerous
- avoid arguing with the referee or officials, it’s against the rules and will likely result in conduct penalties
- celebrate on court—however, at the right moment and with respect for your opponent—fist pumps and shouting after every point simply isn’t appropriate or welcome.
Roles and Expectations
You can expect US Squash to establish and enforce the expectations for the squash community, including the Rules of Play and Code of Conduct. You can also expect us to act with integrity, in the best interests of safety and in support of the fair outcome of the competitions we manage.
My expectation of everyone involved in squash—players, parents and coaches—is that you hold each other accountable to the standards we set and that we all value.
If you are a parent who can’t control your own behavior while watching your child, remove yourself.
If you are a coach who struggles to refrain from coaching during play, recognize you are violating the rules, and simply don’t do it.
If you are a player who consistently violates the rules, expect to be penalized for it.
We all—US Squash, players, parents and coaches—have a joint responsibility to uphold the standards of sportsmanship that makes squash unique, and our experiences in the sport so valued.
Providing an enjoyable, healthy and safe environment at competitions remains our goal. With your help and support we are confident in our ability to achieve these worthy ambitions together.
President & CEO, US Squash