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Safety

These articles have something related to safety in them.

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…

I was recently asked this in an email and the sender had been told by somebody that their courts that they had to wear shorts – no tracksuit bottoms.

There used to be a time when squash players were forced to wear all white clothing, including the shoes. I played and coached through this era, but now it is considered old-fashioned. The reason given was that if the ball passed across the body of a player wearing dark colours their opponent would lose sight of the ball and be at a disadvantage. They also wanted to keep the “image” of the sport as formal. Nowadays, players wear any colour or design they want. But what about the style of clothing? Did you know that back sometime in the 1930s and 1940s, ladies were asked not to wear skirts during play? The reason given was the same as for the white clothing: a “flowing” skirt may cover the ball. So back to the title question. No, you don’t have to wear shorts or skirts when playing squash. But, I do want to mention three points for your consideration. Distraction I looked through the current rules but couldn’t see anything about the clothing you wear when playing squash. So, does that mean you can wear ANYTHING you want? Yes, and no. If your opponent believes your clothing is a distraction then they can ask the ref for a let. Now this is tricky because I don’t believe that can say that the colour or design itself is a distraction, just during the rally. It would be ridiculous for a player to keep saying the pattern or design distracts them. Although, if the design has particularly rude wording or is what most people would consider acceptable, then maybe the ref could rule to change it. More on that later. Knocking up in a tracksuit. The more important point about distraction regarding your clothing would be something that is not tight, but very loose and flaps about a lot. I know this is a silly example, but it’s a perfect illustration of the…

It may seem like a silly question, especially if you’ve been playing squash awhile, but it’s also one of those questions people are afraid to ask. Luckily, I’m not afraid to answer it.

Believe it or not, there was a time when you could because it wasn’t specifically against the rules. That changed on 1st May 1985 after the Annual General Meeting of the International Squash Rackets Federation in October 1984. Originally the rule stated: The game of squash rackets is played between two players with standard rackets ……pre 1st May 1985 And after the meeting it said: The game of squash rackets is played between two players, each using a standard racket…….post 1st May 1985 So, there you go: No, you can’t use two rackets at the same time. Even if you could, you would have to be very good with both hands to even try. But, perhaps we should ask the question… Would Using Two Rackets Be Better? Just like the article about swapping the racket between your hands, it raises the question of “would it be better?”. Well, the first issue is to realise that you would have to play forehands on both sides. For most players, the forehand is the side that allows them to hit the ball harder, but is it more accurate? Not for me, but I might not be representative of club players. Another racket would definitely be in the way in this situation! The second point is one of safety. Holding a second racket would make many club matches dangerous. It can be hard enough to avoid your opponents’ rackets when they have one, imagine with two! You would have to put it out of the way for each shot and it would limit your ability to reach and balance yourself, or at least it seems like it would. You know what? The next time I go on court, I’ll try it and report back here. Final Thoughts Questions like these are asked in sports centres around the world by new players. It’s natural to want to push the boundaries and find new tricks to…

No, they are not. But probably 99.99% are. There are exact specifications for the dimensions and reboundability of the walls, but those are really only applicable if you want to run official matches.

What Is Ghosting In Squash?

This is one key element that seems to be forgotten when discussing rules, specifications etc: there’s nothing stopping you and your friends from building a squash court to any size you want and using equipment to any specification you want. That’s exactly how Squash came about! Sport is littered with people taking sports and changing it slightly. Rugby and American Football are perfect examples. Rugby was invented when a player picked up the ball during a football match and ran with it. American Football was created from football and rugby. There is nothing stopping you from inventing a new sport today. Still not convinced? Checkout 360Ball. Invented in the 1980s by two brothers, using their hands and a board, it has now evolved into a global sport. Sarcastic Comment: “Will probably get into the Olympics before squash!”. Looks fun, doesn’t it? Back To Squash, Phillip! Okay, sorry I got a little carried away in my introduction. My point being that unless you want to play official tournaments and matches, you don’t need to worry about the World Squash Federation rules and specifications. Most people do though, so yes, squash courts, rackets and balls are all specified in official rules. Size Yes, But Not Playability No matter the size of the court, each facility has a slightly different environment. In 95% of cases the differences are too small for the average player to notice, but in some cases the temperature or humidity can make a big difference. Some courts are fast, some slow, some hot, some cold. You can’t regulate that aspect. Narrow Courts About 45 minutes away from where I live there are 3 courts in a sports centre. The town is called Eibar and my understanding is that they had this area that could be used for squash courts but it wasn’t big enough for 3, so they had a choice. Build two proper sized courts and have an…

This article has been prompted by a recent incident in the professional squash tour. It’s aimed at beginners, new players and club players and will only briefly discuss the incident.

Let’s start by looking at the incident in question. Warning: it shows one player being hit with the ball. If you prefer not to watch, the thumbnail for this article shows the moment before the player is hit. https://twitter.com/bettersquash/status/1580083665912020993 What Is Turning? There is a little confusion regarding this rule and that’s mostly because of its name. Essentially, “turning” is when the ball passes one side of the body and comes back around the other side. And here is the part that many people don’t know: The player doesn’t have to turn their body for it to be considered “Turning”. It’s a small distinction, but an important one. It’s important because if the player physically turns or spins, they lose sight of their opponent. The history and development of the rule aren’t important here, but as with some other rules, the turning rule can’t just be viewed in isolation, other aspects must be considered. That’s one other reason for the confusion. Safety First If turning happens, in general, a let would be played. For many situations, this seems unfair to the striker because they feel they should have won the point. The fact that unless the non-striker hinders the swing of the striker only a let is played, has in my opinion, caused some players to hit the ball hoping to win the point, rather than stopping. Let me be very clear: I advise you to stop every single time turning occurs. Yes, there will be times that you should have won the point as the striker, but it’s better to be safe than to hit the player and potentially cause an injury. This should be one of the first things a new player learns: Safety first! When Does It Happen Most? It’s my experience that this happens most with serves and service returns, but not only then. A player decides to leave a serve instead of volleying it and…

There’s a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding squash rules and one of the biggest areas is serve and service return.

Can I Use A Red Dot Ball In Squash Solo Drills?

Let’s get straight to the point. You can stand anywhere to receive serve as long as you don’t interfere with the server. It really is that simple. But there are two sections of the rules that must be considered. Interference The same rules for interference during a rally apply during a serve. So, yes, the returner *can* stand anywhere they want as long as they don’t interfere with the server. What to stand in the front corner on the same side as the server? Sure, go ahead, but you won’t reach the ball. Want to stand in the back corner on the same side as the server? Sure, go ahead, but you’ll probably won’t reach the serve. Obviously, the best place to stand is in the corner where the ball is going, but there isn’t one exact spot that you *have* to stand on. Depending on your confidence in your ability to volley, how fast your reactions are and most importantly, the kind of serves your opponent hits, your position to receive serve will vary ever so slightly. Distraction The next point to consider is distraction. You can’t be jumping up and down and singing when your opponent is about to serve. You can’t be trash talking to them as they serve, although that would be kind of fun. Trash talking is when you say things like “Your serve is the worst serve I have ever seen. I’m going hit it harder than your father used to hit you as a child” or similar! What you do want to do is stop your opponent’s ball from getting too deep into the back corner and limiting your options. To do that you could certainly move forward as the begin their swing. Or turn your shoulders a little if you think they are going to try to hit a hard, low serve down the middle. Rush Your Opponent At lower club levels,…

The rules state that there must not be prolonged contact between the ball and racket (strings). If this occurs it is often called a carry.

Please Play The Lob When Under Pressure!

As I have just stated in the introduction. A carry is when the ball stays on the strings for longer than a normal shot takes. In fact, here is the exact wording under the definitions section: CORRECTLY: When the ball is struck with the racket, held in the hand, not more than once, and without prolonged contact on the racket. The rule says “racket” but it means strings, because it defines racket as the frame, strings and grip. I’ve seen this shot/action called a scoop, as the movement of the racket almost certainly describes a curved trajectory. It occurs most often with beginners trying to get the ball out of the back corners. I can actually be dangerous and I have seen a few near-injuries because of it. I’ve also seen it happen at the very front of the court with low, soft shots, where the player has got their racket underneath the ball and somehow managed to scoop it across the front wall. Many times beginners don’t even know they are doing it as they haven’t yet developed the awareness through their hands about different types of contact with the ball. Over time and practice, players get better at hitting the ball more cleanly, with straight frame trajectories. Ignore the tongue and focus on the balance, wrist and almost perfectly-centered contact point of the ball and strings. Let’s Look at Some Other Similar Contact Issues. If the frame makes contact with the ball and it is clean, i.e. hits only one place once, then the shot is legal. However, if it hits the frame and strings on two separate occasions, although very quickly, it is illegal. Honestly, that happens even less often than the carry. The ball is NOT allowed to hit the hand, or any other part of your body, but if can hit any part of the racket and still be legal. However, the racket must be…