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Equipment

These articles have something related to equipment in them. This includes rackets, strings, balls, grips, shoes, bags and any other items.

There are two situations that seem perfect for buying second-hand squash rackets. Firstly, when you are new to the sport and need something very cheap, and secondly when you are experienced and know what is a bargain and what isn’t. Let’s discuss those options.

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. 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…

Squash balls have been on my mind a lot the last few years and I have written quite a lot about which ball is suitable for which type of player. But knowing when and why to try another type of ball is also important, so let’s look at that.

I’m not a huge fan of the blue dot ball. I feel it’s too bouncy. Now, bouncy *is* good, especially when you first start playing squash, but the blue dot just doesn’t feel right. A room temperature red dot bounces more or less the same as a very warm double yellow, which means that new players can become accustomed to similar bounce profiles right from the beginning. At this point it’s worth noting that Dunlop’s blue and red dot balls are larger than the yellow and double yellow. Other brand’s balls are not. At least not in general. Again, given the choice, I would use a standard size red dot. I’m not against making the game easier for new players, especially children, but in this case i don’t feel the larger balls provide any real benefit and the fractured market may only confuse players. As a coach I always ensure that whatever ball I am using with a pupil is the ball that they can also use alone or with their other playing partners. I feel there’s little point in using a yellow dot on court with me, but then not being able to use it when they practice alone. I don’t follow that rule 100%, because they might be an overlap of time when pupils are on the cusp of switching. So, assuming you are playing with a red dot, when is the best time to switch to a yellow, or from yellow to double yellow? The simple answer is to try the new ball and see how successful you are. Yes, that’s an obvious thing to say, but there’s isn’t really an agreed test or hitting pattern that can objectively decide when you should switch balls. If you can keep the ball going and it increases in temperature then that’s a clear sign you should probably use that ball. The easiest way to know if the ball increases…

Most times this is because one player believes that the ball feels dead. That is, the ball doesn’t bounce with the same responsiveness as it did at the beginning. But there might be other reasons too.

Before we look at the first reason properly and talk about the other two (visibility and mind games) let’s check the actual rules. Now remember, this is for PSA and official tournaments. If you are playing with your friends, then these rules don’t apply and you can do pretty much what you want. The Official Rules Regarding Changing The Ball. Section 11 relates to the ball and I want to highlight two points: 11.5 and 11.10, although i do recommend you look through the rules if you have tike, it’s quite fun to see them try to cover all possibilities! If both players agree, then a ball must be changed, with or without the referee’s approval, or if one player wants it and the ref agrees. I don’t watch enough pro squash anymore but I have only once seen a player say that they didn’t want the ball changed. I don’t remember the details, and can’t even remember the outcome of the request, but nowadays it seems that there’s little problem. Let me know if I am wrong. THE BALL11.5. The ball must be changed if both players agree or if the Referee agrees with oneplayer’s request.11.10. No let is allowed for any unusual bounce. The Dead Ball This is the reason I gave in the introduction and in my experience it was the reasons for nearly every request I have seen. A dead ball is basically a ball that has lost its bounce. When you have hit as many squash balls as pros have, you get a gut-feeling about the ball and some balls just don’t feel right. They might even have a slightly inconsistent bounce, although you nor I might notice it, well I might but only because of my coaching, not because of my skill! At the same time, a split might have appeared in the ball and it’s clear that the ball will break soon. Rule…

The simple, direct and honest answer is: When it breaks. But players’ equipment is a delicate topic for some.

Should You Use 2 Squash Rackets The Same Or 2 Different?

There have been some major changes in squash racket technology over the years. Between hand made wooden rackets to factory production, from factory production wooden rackets to early graphite, from early graphite to teardrop shaped frames and beyond. Let’s ignore steel- or ceramic-shafted, and aluminium frames as they didn’t really result in better rackets. There was a time, when every couple of years the difference between rackets was big enough to justify buying or at least consider buying a new racket. I don’t believe that is still true. So nowadays, if you are happy with your racket I suggest you consider buying another one just like it, as the likelihood is that in a year or so, you won’t be able to. Manufacturers Have To Update Their Range Often Squash rackets (and probably other racket sports too) are not too dissimilar to mobile phones. They went through a massive change and we have reached the point where each year the changes are smaller. Manufacturers need you to buy their rackets as often as possible. In the past you had little choice because they broke much easier than nowadays, but I find that in general modern rackets are pretty strong. Unbreakable rackets would be BAD for business – at least from a manufacturer’s point of view. That’s why every year or so, brands need to update their range and try to sell you the latest technology and design. I don’t blame them but we need to realise that not everything they say is completely true. Would You Really Notice An Improvement? Unless a racket has a distinctive feature, e.g. the Prince PowerRing, if I were to take , say 10 rackets made between 2012 and 2022. Remove all the paintwork and any other distinguishing marks and had the average club player test them, I highly doubt they would be able to notice a clear improvement. Yes, they would notice a difference…

Today’s writing is an essay more than an article. In addition, it’s a thinly veiled piece about beginners spending too much time worry about squash rackets and not enough time working to improve their skills.

This topic seems to be one of my favourite because I keep writing about it. In case you haven’t guessed or in case you didn’t read the intro: Beginners spend way too much time and effort worrying about squash rackets. But today, I realised that I am just like new squash players worrying about which racket brand, model, weight, balance, string and string tension. And I realised it because I do the same with video cameras. Let me explain. I started making squash videos back in 2013. I came back into squash after a long break and wanted to “give back” to the sport I love so much. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money of equipment in case making videos wasn’t like I hoped, so I bought a Kodak ZX5 PlaySport for about 100 Euros. Then after a few years, I decided to invest in something better, so I bought a 500 Euro 4k Panasonic camcorder. Now, I’m dreaming about the latest Sony FX30 (about 2,500 Euros with lens). The above image is not a perfect or even fair representation of the actual quality of the cameras, but clearly the phone is good enough. The problem is that my actual technical knowledge has hardly increased since the first videos. Yes, I definitely have a better understanding of basics like shutter speed, frame rate etc, but after almost 10 years making videos, I’m really not as good as I should be. Therefore, any camera I get above a point and shoot would be wasted on me, unless I actively begin to learn some skills. Even if I could afford that Sony FX30, I wouldn’t be able to really use it to its potential. And in my particular case, with the terrible lightning the squash court I use to record has and the limited scope for “quality” would it really make any or much difference? No. But it doesn’t…

Here are 3 small things that could make a huge difference to your squash. Things that require little effort, but bring big improvements. We all want “something for nothing” and this is as close as you will get in squash.

THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE VIDEO I MADE BACK IN 2020. I am posting it now as an article just for entertainment. By all means try the tips detailed below, but don’t take them seriously. There’s a video version of this article at the bottom of the page. Tip 1: Use string to stop your rackets from breaking When mass-produced rackets became popular, they all had a disclaimer on the side of the racket as shown below. When graphite and composite rackets became available, they still had that disclaimer. By the mid to late 1990s, that disclaimer had disappeared from rackets, but they still weren’t guaranteed not to break. Even modern rackets, which in general are much stronger than ever before, occasionally break. But with a little ingenuity, some string and 5 minutes of work, you can almost stop that from happening. This took me about 2 minutes to carefully wrap the strings around the frame. Take a length of string and wrap it around the top corners of your squash racket. As you can see from the image above, you don’t need to do too much, just the part of the frame that normally hits the wall. Of course, do this on both top corners of the racket. I just wrapped the last part of the string under previous parts and pulled tightly, but for a more permanent solution, use a little super glue. Adding the string, will change the weight and balance of the racket. it will become a little head heavier than it was, and you will need to see whether this is a big enough difference to warrant the extra protection. Some players have told me that the extra weight has helped them hit the ball better, but I haven’t noticed anything difference when I used it. Tip 2: Sleep with a racket in your hand Changing your grip can be one of the most…

In today’s world of waste, pollution and climate-change, anything we can do to save ourselves money and help save the planet should be considered. Buying second-hand items does those two things. Here are some thoughts on buying second-hand squash rackets.

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. Starting Point 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. 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…