What is a power play in squash

There is a new rule floating around squash called a power play. For cricket fans, this term may sound familiar and relates to fielding restrictions. However, on the squash court, power play takes on a totally different meaning.

What is a power play

A power play is an option by which a player can score two points for a given rally when activated. When a player calls or activates a power play, they set the condition that the next point played will count as two points if they win it. If the point is lost, then the opponent gets only one point as per standard regulation.

This basically gives an advantage to the player who calls the power play, as it can be used to take a big lead, finish a game earlier or save them from game point. Various power play scenarios are discussed later.

This rule provides an alternative to the 10-10 tie break scenario in which a player must win by 2 consecutive points and the game can go on forever. If power plays are used correctly, there shouldn’t be a need for a tie break as a power play literally counts as 2 consecutive points.

How many power plays does each player get?

For a typical best of 5 games, each player gets two power plays that can be taken during the match. For a best of 3, it makes sense for players to get only 1 power play each. However, y’all can agree beforehand whatever you want to do and can fight about it later.

When can a power play be activated

A power play can be activated before a player serves for the next rally. To activate a power play, a player can gesture to the ref by waving their hand or racket around over their head. It does not matter whose service it is. Learn how to hit a corkscrew lob.

It can be called at love-all, 9-all, 4-5, 2-3, 3-3, doesn’t matter. The only time you can’t call a power play is when you’re on game ball because then you need only 1 point anyways. Your opponent could however call their power play if you are serving at game or match point.

A player may not activate a power play when they have already used up their allotted power plays.

Power Play Scenarios

Typical scenario

A typical scenario of a power play could be at any score. The winner of the power play get two points. For example:

The score is 3-2. Player A to serve. Player B activates power play. If Player B wins the rally, the score becomes 3-4. If Player A wins, the score becomes 4-2.

At the same score, if Player A activates power play instead and wins, the score would become 5-2. If player B wins, then the score becomes 3-3.

Early game point Scenario

The score is 9-5. Player A can activate power play and make it game point. If player A wins the rally, the score becomes 11-5 and player A wins the game. If player B wins, the score becomes 9-6.

Saving a game point scenario

The score is 10-9. Player A serving for game point. Player B activates a power play. In this situation if player A wins, they win the game. If player B wins, then the score becomes 10-11 and player B wins the game. In this case the referee would announce, 10-9, game point – game point.

Match saving scenario

The score is 10-9 like in the previous scenario but this time player A is on match point. Player B activates a power play. The referee would announce 10-9, match point-game point.

Will the power play stay?

The future of the squash power play is uncertain at this point. It may be a successful idea and add some and drama to the sport while raising the intensity of aggression. It may just be a temporary experiment in the professional regulated squash world. Its difficult to tell whether it will be adopted in casual play where the players ref themselves. Like who is going to keep track of how many power plays have been used over however many games. Read this post on what to keep in your squash bag.