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Etiquette On The Court

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It’s a good idea to get there 5 minutes before, and wait in the dedans (the area immediately behind the court) for your time.

One of you should spin a racket and call ‘forehand’ or ‘backhand’. This refers to which face a right-hander would hit a ball with. The winner of the spin can choose whether to serve or receive (99% of the time they’ll decide to serve). They take the balls to the dedans, and the receiver waits by the net post of receive the empty basket.

If you don’t want the result of the match to be recorded for handicap purposes, request this from your opponent before you start. It is up to them as to whether to accept your request (although I’ve never heard of anybody saying ‘no’). If you don’t do this, then the match is being played for handicap points. It’s the responsibility of the loser of the match to write up the results on the board.

During the warm-up, give your opponent a range of shots – forehand, backhand, ground strokes, volleys, straight, and off the walls and penthouse.

Before serving, make sure that your opponent is ready. If you are receiving and the ball is served before you are ready, you have the right to call a let and have the serve repeated.

After each point, the server should announce the score or chase.

When changing ends, the new receiver waits for the new server to change first. In doubles, the player closer to the galleries goes first. During the change of ends, the new receiver should tell the new server the score and the chases. Then, just before playing a chase, the server should announce the chase.

You must not force (i.e. hit forcefully directly to the dedans or guarded galleries) the ball from the hazard chase area. You must ensure when forcing the ball that you do not aim directly at your opponent. If you get a reputation of being an unsafe player, you will find that no-one is prepared to play you (and you may even lose your membership at some clubs). You must also not strike a ball once it is out of play (although of course sometimes people do this unintentionally, not realising the ball is out of play – just make your apology and no-one will mind).

It is a courtesy to remove balls which are lying in the hazard chase area as the server would not want a hazard chase to occur if he or she struck the offending ball. However, the server would want to remove any ball on their side of the court in case it was struck, setting a chase, and thus losing the serve. And probably the main reason for removing any ball from the court floor? Safety - it's not pleasant to roll your ankle!

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