I see lots of posts on Reddit about which racket a beginner should buy. And sometimes their budget is quite high. But honestly, until somebody has tried quite a few different rackets, I feel it’s better for them to have a cheap one. Getting recommendations form the internet is helpful, but ultimately you need a racket you are comfortable with and the only way to know is to play with it.
This article is for new players or players who play once a week with friends. If you take squash seriously then a second-hand racket is probably not your best choice. However, if you have just started playing and need to buy a racket, and good option is second-hand. You can get a model that might be a few years old, but in today’s rackets that’s fine.
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Set A Budget
Your first task is to set yourself a budget. Of course, that’s not for me to say, but you can get some great rackets for 25 UK pounds and I’ve even seen some good ones for under 10 pounds too. I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 30 pounds on a second-hand racket, because at this price you can get a new one.
Do A Little Research
If you are new to squash, it is overwhelming to find many brands and even more models of squash racket available for sale. Use the internet to search for the brand and model. Most can be found with their original price. Then you can make a knowledgable decision on whether the price is fair. if you can't find the racket for sale, it might be quite old. That's doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it, it just means it's probably not a recent model.
Places To Buy
There are plenty of places to buy second-hand squash rackets online; Ebay, Wallapop, Shpock, CraigsList, Gumtree are the first ones I think of, but there will also be some regional ones for you. In addition, if you live in the UK, charity shops nearly always have a few squash, tennis and badminton rackets, stuck in the corner.
Often people say to be that buying second-hand has no guarantee, and that's true, but I've seen brand new squash rackets get broken on their first play and the manufacturer refused to replace it. As was very common on wooden rackets in the past, "Due to the nature of the game, this racket can not be guaranteed". The great price you pay for a racket has to have some drawbacks.
By Post Is A Risk
I've bought a LOT of second-hand rackets, admittedly not to actually play with, but for my vintage collection, and only once have I been cheated. Somebody sent a cracked frame and because I live in Spain and it got sent to the UK, it was nearly 6 months before I saw the racket. It was only 10 pounds, but if you buy by post, there is more risk than if you collect it yourself.
In your case, hopefully, you will receive it within a week or so of buying it and can complain. I highly recommending using your phone to record a video of you opening the package - that way the seller can't say you broke it yourself.
In general, the best prices are for rackets that have to be collected, so if you are lucky enough to live near the seller, you could really get yourself a great racket at a great price.
Cheaper Than A Restring
I’ve received a little criticism for this next point, but I stand by it. For recreational players whose racket costs less or nearly the same as a restring, in some cases, it might be cheaper to just buy a new racket. Now, that does go against what I said at the beginning about waste, but unless you have a good frame, why would you spend more than 20 pounds to restring a racket that cost 25 pounds?
Of course, the string could break on your newly purchased second-hand racket the next day, and that is a point to consider, but if you are able to view the racket before purchase then it might be worth the risk.
I said at the beginning of this article, that second-hand squash rackets were really for newer players, but I have seen some great rackets for sale that serious players could buy. So if you are the kind of person who follows the latest trends in rackets and know which brands sell which model, take a look at the sites listed above and you might be able to find yourself a bargain.
Buying a second-hand squash racket is not the right option for everybody, but if you are new to squash or on a very limited budget, then I highly recommend you take a little time to see what is available in your area. One last piece of advice, unless you need a racket ASAP, don’t rush to buy the first “bargain” you see. The chances are it’s one of many bargains. Good Luck!
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