A Note On Refereeing – Racket Contact (Affected or Prevented)

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Blog : A quick note on refereeing

Racket Contact


This is a grey area which most club players don’t understand.

20 years ago any contact with your opponent on your swing would be a stroke. This was whether it was on the back-swing or follow-through. This h ave changed now and here’s a quick way to justify whether it is a ‘Stroke’, ‘Let’ or even a ‘No Let’.

A good phrase that World Ref’s are using now at major events with regards to playing a shot is “affected or prevented”. If the shot was “affected” then it is a ‘Let’. If the shot was “prevented” then it is a “Stroke”.

Let’s look at an example with regard to hitting your opponent. If you make a heavy contact with your opponent on your back-swing, it likely completely “prevents” you from playing your shot. This can only mean your opponent is way too close, and completely in your space, so that is their fault and you are awarded the point.

If you lightly clip your opponent or their racket on your back-swing, and you still manage to hit the shot but it’s not quite as good as you would like, then this is a ‘Let’ as you shot was “affected not prevented”.

The most difficult area to judge is when there’s contact on the follow-through;

If there’s slight contact then it probably doesn’t “prevent or affect” your shot as the ball has already left your strings, so really it could be a ‘No Let’. Really the player playing the shot should have stopped to ask for a ‘let’ before they attempted to play the shot, saying they felt cramped for space, and a ‘Let’ would be played.

If there’s heavy contact on the follow-through, you have to judge whether the player hitting the shot has used an excessive back-swing or not;

If they have used an excessive back-swing then it would be a ‘Let’ and a warning could be given to the player for using an exaggerated follow-through (therefore trying to take up too much space for their illegal gain).

If the follow-through was of a normal size, then this is the hardest one to call. Was the injured player deliberately encroaching on their opponents’ space to try to pressure them? If so, then it is probably a ‘Stroke’. If they weren’t encroaching and it simply was an unavoidable accident, then you have to look at the situation on the court. If it is in the front corner, then it will likely be a ‘Stroke’ as the injured player is stuck in a bad position. If it is deeper in the court, behind the central line, then this will probably be a ‘Let’.

There we go – I hope this helps and hopefully prevents so fights on team nights!