The Rules of Squash for Let and Stroke

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To a beginner, the rules of squash may seem confusing. Two of the points about which newcomers often have questions are the let and the stroke, and the differences between them.

Definitions of Let and Stroke

According to the HobbyStop website, a let describes a rally in which there is no clear winner. A stroke describes a situation in which a player's swing to the ball suffers directly from interference, resulting in a point (or stroke) for the swinging player, states the SquashClub website. Both can be related to interference, but have differences and are handled differently within the rules.

Rules Related to Let

Let occurs when play is stopped and the score point in question is played over again. According to the University of Texas at Dallas, situations leading to let include:

  1. If a ball that is in play touches a player, that player will lose the point, with the exception that "the point shall be replayed as a let if the return except for interference would have hit the front wall fairly and (a) would have touched some other wall before so hitting the front wall or (b) has hit some other wall before hitting the striker's opponent."

  2. The let rule also applies if the ball could have been fairly returned and it is impossible for a player to stay out of the way of his opponent's shot, when interference is otherwise unavoidable, when the striker passes on a shot so that he will not injure his opponent, and if the ball breaks.

Rules Related to Stroke

Rules related to stroke relate to swinging at or "striking" at the ball. While almost every rule involves an aspect of striking, some rules are specific to it:

  1. "Until the ball has been touched or has hit the floor twice, it may be struck

at any number of times," states the University of Texas at Dallas.

  1. According to SquashClub, a player "cannot carry the ball or hit the ball twice, but ... can make several attempts at striking the ball as long as only contact is made once."

  2. "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 whose shot was obstructed," states SquashClub. The website also offers a measurement as a rule of thumb in deciding the difference between "let" and "stroke":

If the interference from the ball is far from the ball (a distance greater than 1m) and the striking player could have returned it successfully, it is a let (replay point). Otherwise there is no let.

If the interference is close to ball (a distance of less than 1m) and the striking player could have hit it, it is considered a stroke (a point for the striking player). Otherwise it is considered to be a let.

A final rule involves turning (rotating 360 degrees prior to hitting the ball). Turning is legal, but if it results in the striking player hitting his opponent, the opponent gets the stroke, unless he tries to intercept it. If this happens, the person striking the ball gets the stroke regardless of the turn, according to SquashClub.

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