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Refereeing Course From Players’ Perspectives

Firstly, sorry if this post is a bit of a ramble. I have been thinking about this for a while, but can’t seem to express myself clearly. Here goes…

Refereeing Inconsistency

The squash subreddit, other forums, facebook groups and in-club discussions often talk about rules, their interpretation and application in real world situations.

It’s clearly an important aspect for the squash community as a whole and for players individually. I have no doubt that the rule-makers within the game have done their best to make those rules as clear-cut as possible, with as little room as possible for interpretation, but you only need to watch a refereeing decision clip and see the difference of opinion, even from very experienced players, to know that it’s still a tricky subject.

If you play competitive squash, then you have probably marked, and for some it’s a minefield, especially with the pressure of spectators standing or sitting next to you.

The fairly newly launched World Squash Officiating website and course seem fantastic. I haven’t researched much into the course, but the presentation looks great.

But all of the course and resources I have seen, are for refereeing somebody else’s match. Now, I freely admit that knowing the rules and how to interpret and apply them is absolutely essential, but how does that help two players who simply play recreationally?

What percentage of matches per year are played with a separate referee? I don’t know, maybe 10%, maybe 50% maybe even 80%! What’s needed are resources and maybe even course purely from the players perspectives.

Looking down on a court from the balcony or through a glass back wall is totally different from standing on court and seeing things from the first-person view. Distances feel different, angles less or more sharp etc.

Ideally, I suppose, courses would be taught from both perspectives and players could make a decision, discuss the reasons, then see a recording from the ref’s vantage point as a comparison.

These courses would be purely for the benefit of players, although, I do feel that refs might also benefit from feeling their decisions from the players limited perspectives.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, this is never going to happen. The people it would benefit most would be the people who would never take the course anyway, because they won’t see a need if they just play among their friends or colleagues. Who is going to pay money for something like that?

That said, perhaps more consideration could be given to understanding the player’s perspective in refereeing course, and trying to explain things to players while recognising their limited viewpoint.