In the past, I always recommended ambitious players use two of the same squash rackets: the same brand, model, string and even tension. I recommended that they were played with alternatively, so they each racket played as similar as possible to each other. You never see pros playing with two different rackets (maybe the same racket but with different tensions, but that's impossible to know), so why would club players do it? Well, one of my taglines is "YOU ARE NOT A PRO!" and when I say that I mean we nave to accept that you don't spend hours and hours per day on court hitting the ball, so in this case, why not have different rackets?
The idea here is that you might have different rackets for playing with different tactics. At its simplest interpretation, you might have a "power"" squash racket and a "control" squash racket, although it could be much more subtle or subjective than than that.
Let's look at the For and Against arguments for using different rackets for different tactics.
The Arguments For
Club players never have enough time to practice and improve their skills as they would like. They have family, work, school, and other commitments that make squash lower on their list of priorities than many would like. Any shortcut to helping their game should be welcomed. Why spend hours on court developing power, when you can buy a new racket that gives you the extra 10% hitting speed you need? Why spend hours in the gym getting stronger when you could buy a new racket and get the same effect? yes, of course it's true that improving my control and getting stronger are better long-term solutions than new rackets, but who knows what will happen in 3 months! Better I get the benefit now.
Another reason to use a different racket is that psychology boost. When you are playing badly or not doing as well as you would hope, switching a racket at the game change can be enough to improve your mindset. You wouldn't get that boost if you simply changed your racket for exactly the same one, would you? Different rackets make you feel differently and switching is almost like switching clothes. You have a different mindset when you wear a smart suit than when you wear Bermuda shorts and a t-shirt. Why would it be any different with squash rackets? It isn't. If a different rackets changes your mindset, that's enough reason to do it.
The final point I would like to make is that unlike pros who are given bundles of rackets each season, amateur players can't always afford to buy two of the same racket at the same time. They have to purchase them in the sales or even buy models a few years old. getting the same brand and model can be difficult, so instead of fighting against the inevitable, embrace it! That way I can rotate rackets every few years and never worry about having the latest release. I just need to find something I like, even if it is different from my other rackets. Heck, who says I have to stop at two squash rackets? Why not 3 or 5? That way, I have even more tactical choice.
The Arguments Against
The arguments used above make it sound easy - just pick up a different racket and suddenly you'll be playing a different type of game. But is it really like that? I don't believe so. Many players take time to get accustomed to different squash rackets and that change can cause a lot of trouble in the short term. Maybe after doing this for a few months, you might feel more comfortable switching rackets, but do you want to take that chance?
Having more power and more control with different squash rackets doesn't suddenly mean you will start winning or even playing better. It's an easy excuse to stop looking at yourself and putting the blame and responsibility on the equipment. There is a phrase in English (and probably a similar one in many languages) "A bad workman always blames his tools". Now using an aluminum racket would be an excuse for not playing your best, but switching from a Dunlop to a Technifibre and saying your bad play was due to the Dunlop is unfair.
For long-term improvement, you need to keep your equipment as consistent as possible. As was said in the introduction, if professional players don't use different models then it can't help, because they would do anything to improve their game, right? Adjustments made with your swing and tactics are more effective than a quick switch of the racket. What are you going to do if the other rackets doesn't help? Switch to yet another one? How many rackets can you carry? By using the same racket and developing power and control through proper technique you will ensure more control over you game.
It is true that buying two of the same racket can be difficult, but with some patience and forethought it's possible. Remember, the easy option doesn't mean the best option.
I have tried to be fair and play the devil's advocate. I feel I have presented both For and Against arguments with commitment and passion. The reality is that each player must decide for themselves which option works best for them. As I said in the introduction, in the past I said having two different squash rackets was not the best option, but I have mellowed as I have got older and now accept that for some it *is* the best option.
I will always believe that developing skill and power through technique is better than switching rackets, but if that option is not available, then different rackets is a good plan B. Email me your thoughts.
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