06 June 2022 / 3-Min Read
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One of the constant issue new players have with squash is the balls. I am not going to lie: the way squash organizes and promotes the different squash balls is ridiculous. However, this article is about a related topic and that is shiny balls. What are shiny balls you ask? and I say, look at the photo.
Can you see how the balls are not completely black? How they have a whitish surface? This is a combination of being old and collecting the paint/plaster from the wall. Think of it like a piece of sticky tape that has lost its stickiness. The fact is, that it hasn’t lost it’s stickiness but dust or other particles have stuck to it.
Never play with balls in this condition
When a squash ball is shiny, it skids on the floor. Skidding means that instead of bouncing higher it stays low and is very difficult to hit. This makes squash boring. Who wants to try to hit a skidding ball? Not me. This all comes back to the fact that because the ball is not “broken”, too many people continue to play with these balls. As a player, when somebody gets a ball like this out of their bag, refuse to play with it. make sure you have a newer one available and use that.
A beautiful new squash ball!
I recommend putting them in the washing machine with your sports kit at 30 degrees. the abrasion of the clothes with the ball should be enough to remove 90% of the shine. other people simple rub them on carpets or even use sandpaper, and those methods definitely work, but since I am lazy, cough cough, really busy, I use the washing machine. So, make sure you clean your squash balls!
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Somebody actually made a device to “scrap” squash balls clean, but after 5 minutes searching I couldn’t find it on the internet. I am sure it was because I was using the wrong search terms, so if you know its name, please tell me and I will add the details here.
Squash balls are made of rubber, well special compounds of rubber and other materials and just like a rubber band that is very old, a really old squash ball will lose its bounce. It will become hard. It will break when you try to stretch it. That’s what happens to old squash balls. I don’t know exactly how old a ball has to become before it becomes useless, but it is quite a few years. So even if the ball has never been used, if it is too old it shouldn’t be used.
I’ve created a comprehensive guide to squash balls that covers everything you ever need or want to know about balls. It has posters for you to download and use if you find a lot of people using the wrong ball, plus some other resources: Use The Right Ball.
Playing with the right ball can be the difference between loving squash and hating it. Don’t use old or shiny squash balls.
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