I was checking up on some squash rules and realised that I have never really grasped the difference between stroke and let in squash. Especially if there is no dedicated ref, how do you go about deciding these?

Here's an interesting video, where three events: let, stroke and no-let happen during some match, but they looked pretty much the same to me. Could someone explain why the calls are made in that way?

  • I'm not an expert, but from my understanding a Let is when the player is in the way but there's doubt about the ability of doing a good return. A Stroke is when the player would realistically get to return the ball or the player did not try to get out of the way. No-let would be the opposite, when the player clearly won't reach the ball in time. (I've only used Let since I played casually with friends for 1.5years)
    – Yousend
    Jul 8, 2016 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


The rules are a bit complex. The word "let" is mentioned 39 times in the online US Squash Rules. Under rule 12, Interference, here are some of the more common uses of "Let", "No Let" and "Stroke":

  • 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.

The main points are that a Let is awarded if the player on the ball was not able to hit the ball due to interference by the other player. A let may also be awarded the the player on the ball does not hit the ball for fear of injuring their opponent (either by the ball contacting them or the racket). it generally needs to meet three criteria:

  1. The interfering player made every effort to avoid interfering.
  2. The player on the ball would have had a reasonable shot.
  3. The player on the ball would not have had a clear winning shot.

If the interfering player did not make very effort to avoid interfering, or if the player on the ball would have had a clear winning shot, then a "Stroke" (and point) is awarded to the player on the ball.

If the player on the ball would not have had a reasonable shot (i.e. the ref thinks they wouldn't have made it, regardless of the interference), then it's a "no let".

I can't watch the video at the moment, but I'll try to watch it later. Ultimately, though, the ref's decision likely hinges upon the three points above.

If there is no dedicated ref, then you and your playing partner need to judge it yourself. Generally I only call "Let" (no "Stroke") when playing with friends, and only call it if I'm fairly confident I would have had a shot. My partners respect my call, and I respect theirs.


Just to clearly link this response to the video, in the first instance (:38) you can see the player in white tries to get out of the way to leave a path to the ball, but just doesn't quite clear out enough. As a result there's a small amount of interference, but it's not really anyone's fault - so Let.

In the second instance (:58), white hits then clearly steps back into the path of the striker, who no longer has a path to the ball. So here the stroke is awarded because white did not make a reasonable attempt to clear the path and blue could easily have hit the ball to the front wall.

In this case, I suspect white meant for that ball to be much shorter and lower in which case it would have been a winner, and resulted in a No Let. This is what happens in the third case:

The last one (1:38) is a No Let because white hits the ball very well (low and short) so that the striker did not have any chance of getting to the ball regardless of the interference. Basically the second and third shots are the same situation, the only difference being whether or not blue had a chance on the ball.

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