This is my second article about second-hand rackets (see what I did there?), but it’s focus is a little different. Buying anything second-hand can be risky. It’s easy to get cheated, either by accident or by design; sellers can make genuine mistakes or know they are cheating you. In fact, I’ve been cheated, but that’s because when I was buying rackets, I had them delivered to an address in the UK )I live in Northern Spain) and didn’t see them until months later, which was too late to complain. I bought a cracked racket in case you were wondering!
So why the heck would I recommend buying second-hand if you could get cheated? Well, firstly, unless you are buying a very special and unusual vintage racket, you should always go a see it directly from the seller. That does limit your options, but it also mens less chance of buying a bad racket. Of course, depending on the price and your rush, you could easily take a chance, or make sure you write and ask the seller if there is any damage or problems. That way, if it arrives damaged you have proof that it’s not supposed to be. Then it becomes a fight with the seller and courier, because you should be able to reject it.
Buying a second-hand squash racket could be a great way to save money.
Case One: Beginners
When you are beginner, it’s easy to become obsessed with the technical specifications of rackets in the hope (dream, actually) that it is going to make a big difference to your squash. It almost certainly won’t. It’s like buying a Ferrari to learn to drive. Sure, people will look enviously at you, but you won’t know how to get the most out of it. If you have a lot of money to spend, great, but it’s a waste of money too.
Many times, people just need something functional. Something that is better than the basic aluminium rackets used as hire rackets in most locations. You might not be sure you want to keep playing yet. You might want to play every now and again, so why spend money on a racket you will hardly use? Honestly, there could be lots of reasons.
I suggest not spending more than about 20 Pounds, Dollars or Euros in cases like this. That doesn’t mean you should spend 20, it means that’s the maximum. There are plenty of rackets that are 5 years old that are perfectly fine to use. Now, you probably want me to give you a list, but I am sorry, I can’t. I can say this though: anything with two shafts, even if it has something in-between them, like in the thumbnail, should be avoided. They will be mostly made of aluminium, so not better than the hire rackets.
Next, do a little research. Find a racket that seems like a good price and search for it on the internet. This should be able to tell you whether it really is a good price, or whether it just looks like a good price. If you really want to, you can email me the link and ask my opinion.
If you live in the UK, charity shops are absolutely fantastic for you. I’ve seen graphite rackets about ten years old (good enough for a beginner) selling for under 5 pounds. Even if it only lasts 3 months, it’s s till a bargain!
Case Two: Experts
Clearly you have been following brands, models and prices for a while. There’s little doubt, you know more than me about the current prices of recent models – I couldn’t even tell you the name of the currents models! If you are one of these people, then buying second-hand can save you a lot of money. Perhaps you’ve never considered it before and this article is the catalyst to get you looking. Perhaps, you’ve already bought a few from friends within your club, in which case you know what you are doing.
As I said in the intro, if you can go and see the racket in person, even better. But bargains can be found and you should always be on the lookout for them.
By writing about the two cases above, I’m not saying that other people shouldn’t buy second-hand squash rackets. You just have to be careful to do some research and make sure the racket you want is cheaper enough to warrant the trouble of taking the risk.
Remember, buying from places like Ebay means that you are bidding. The price you see the starting bid might not be the final price, so CONTROL YOURSELF! set the maximum price in your mind first and DO NOT GO ABOVE IT. There will be plenty of other rackets available in the future.
Writing this article has made me decide to record a video of my looking for bargain second-hand rackets similar to a livestream, in fact, I might do it that way and let people know so they can watch it. I’ll visit the main online places and show how to look through and do the research etc. I’ll try to do that sometime over the Christmas period.
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