Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of our most frequently asked questions, however if you have a question that is not answered in this section, feel free to Contact Us.
IS IT LIKE SQUASH?
Yes, in one way: the principal intention is to win the rally by hitting the ball above a line on the front wall in such a way that your opponent cannot return it. But the differences are huge. Firstly you hit the ball with both hands and not with a racquet. The ball itself is a little larger than a squash ball, hard and covered in white leather. The court is a little smaller, with dark grey walls and a red floor, and you use the back wall much more than in squash. The scoring system is the direct opposite of squash: if you lose a rally you serve and you can only win points when you are receiving service. And you can play both Singles and Doubles. There is much more variety to Fives than there is in squash.
DOES IT HURT?
No. Only if you hit the ball incorrectly! The gloves are designed to enable you to hit the ball hard, as long as you hit it correctly, i.e. with your hand slightly cupped. Then the padding in the glove absorbs the shock. Adults can hit the ball amazingly hard for long periods of time and with no ill effects.
WHAT IS THE COURT LIKE?
It is slightly smaller than a squash court, with a red concrete floor and grey walls, so that you can see the white ball well against them. Courts vary a lot in colour, atmosphere, speed and viewing facilities. Three venues have courts with a glass back wall: the Manchester Y Club, Oxford University and Cambridge University. The website of the Rugby Fives Association has details of where courts are to be found. See Links.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF FIVES?
Yes. There are three basic kinds: Rugby Fives and Eton Fives, so-called because the game originated in, and was formalised at, these two schools and Wall-Ball which was formalised in the United States. There is also a variation on Rugby Fives called Winchester Fives, a product of Winchester College. Derby Moor Fives plays Rugby Fives, which is a form of handball played on a court with four walls, however, we also regularly play the other three versions. You can see videos of these four sports on our videos web-page.
CAN I LEARN TO PLAY?
Anyone of any age, and either sex, can learn to play. All you need is a degree of ball sense and some hand-eye coordination. The more you play, the better you get, and progress comes very quickly. Players at Derby Moor Fives will coach you as you play.
ARE THERE LEAGUES OR COMPETITIONS?
There is no league, but there are regular competitions or tournaments which take place all over the country, for various age groups, in Singles and Doubles. Details can be found on the web site of the Rugby Fives Association (www.rfa.org.uk). There is a lot of inter-club friendly Fives, which, of course, doesn't mean it isn't competitive! Members of Derby Moor Fives play in various competitions and have had a good deal of success. For more details, see our Successes web-page.
IS THERE A CHARGE?
New players are welcome at any time - and at no charge - to come along and try their hand. Anyone who wishes to play on a regular basis will eventually be asked to pay a small subscription on a monthly basis. This money is used to maintain and improve the courts, to finance coaching of junior players and to subsidise their travel to competitions. Derby Moor Fives has long-term plans to enclose the courts and build a wall-ball court but this is dependent on collaboration with Derby Moor Community Sports College whose amenity they are.
IS DERBY MOOR AN ALL INCLUSIVE CLUB?
Very much so. We subscribe to the official Equity Statement of the Rugby Fives Association which can be viewed on our Documents web-page.
We welcome potential players from all backgrounds, sexes, sexual orientations and of all abilities.
IS THE GAME DANGEROUS?
Played correctly and sensibly by all players the game involves very few risks. Derby Moor Fives coaches its members and potential members in good practice. 'Advice to Players and Spectators' is available on our Documents web-page.
CAN ANYONE PLAY?
It is just the same as any sport: you need some basic ball-sense, reasonable hand-eye coordination, a willingness to try and the desire to learn. It might be a game you really take to from the first go, one that you come to excel at with time and practice. Once you learn how to hit the ball cleanly, you'll get the same kind of pleasure as you do from hitting a good tennis stroke or a good golf shot.
I'M USELESS WITH MY 'WRONG' HAND: DOES THIS MATTER?
With practice you can learn to hit the ball well with your 'wrong' hand. It's a matter of attitude and determination: you have to want to get good at hitting the ball with your left hand if you are right-handed, or vice versa. The top players look ambidextrous but weren't when they started!
DOES IT MATTER IF I AM LEFT-HANDED?
Not at all! In Doubles it is a great advantage if you team up with a right-hander, because you will be attacking the ball from both sides of the court. But you will still have to develop a good right hand to play an all-round game.
ARE THERE PROFESSIONAL FIVES PLAYERS?
No, it is a completely amateur game played for pleasure and personal success. There are no cash prizes, little sponsorship and no referees or umpires. Even in the national Singles or Doubles Final the players will keep and agree the scores. If there is a disagreement the players will play a 'let', i.e. play the point again.
HOW DO YOU SCORE?
The basic principle is that you serve if you lose the preceding rally and you score points only when you are receiving the service. So the service is important to get you back into a scoring position; it cannot win points on its own. The scoring system is very different from tennis or squash.
Games are usually played up to 11 or 15 points. Matches can de decided on the total of points scored or the number of games won, depending on the nature of the contest: in competitions it is generally games won that count; in team matches it is the total of points.
WHERE DO YOU PLAY FIVES?
In a roofed court with four walls, which can be indoors, enclosed but not heated, or leading out onto an outdoor viewing area. See WHAT IS THE COURT LIKE? for more details.
IS THERE A PROFESSIONAL ORGANISATION OR GOVERNING BODY?
Yes, the Rugby Fives Association - see Links
All members of Derby Moor Fives are individual members of the RFA.
WHO DO YOU PLAY AGAINST?
On Tuesday and Thursday nights we play against each other - for practice and pleasure. On other occasions we play in tournaments or friendly matches against other clubs. These can take place on our home courts in Derby or at courts as far apart as West Sussex, Bristol, London, Oxford, Manchester, Yorkshire, Edinburgh or wherever the opposition are based.
WHAT AGE DO YOU HAVE TO BE?
The Junior Club at Derby Moor Fives has players as young as 8, though the majority are in their teens. The senior Club has players in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and even one regular player in his 60s.