Squash Referees & Rules
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Fair Warm Up
What is an unfair warm-up?
This letter from Graham Waters, WSF Director Referees and Rules Committee, just to remind us all about referees ensuring a 'fair warm up'
There is a growing trend in some areas of squash for some players to engage in what is an unfair warm-up. This happens when one of the players preparing for a match dominates the warm-up by hitting the ball back to himself or herself over and over again, and only sending it over to the opponent occasionally. The intent of the warm-up is for the two players to hit the ball equally and fairly. This does not mean that players must hit only cross-courts back to each other, but it does mean that any one player should hit only a few shots consecutively before passing the ball over for the opponent to hit. This situation came to a head at the recent World Junior Championships in Chennai.
Compounding this problem is that sometimes the referee is not watching for this. Refereeing assignments are such that the referee may be coming from another court and may not be present when the players take to the court and the warm-up begins, or they take the opportunity to run to the toilet, particularly if they are doing back-to-back matches. Also, some referees do not take the warm-up seriously enough and take the opportunity to chat with a friend, colleague, or the audience, or to fill in their score sheet.
Rule 3.2 is quite clear that the referee must make sure that both players are able to warm-up fairly:
3.2 In the warm-up, both players must have equal opportunities of striking the ball. A player retaining the strike for an unreasonable time is warming up unfairly. The Referee shall decide when the warm-up is unfair and apply Rule 17.
I would ask all WSF Referees to take note of this problem and for all National Squash Federations to pass this email to all their Referees and to those within their jurisdictions who are responsible for running tournaments, leagues, or pennants.
Thank you all for your attention to this matter. I hope we can rid our sport of this unseemly trend.
Director, Referees and Rules Committee
World Squash Federation
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