BETTERSQUASH

Use The Right Squash Ball

Using the right ball can be the difference between loving squash and disliking it. Read this guide to fully understand which ball to use and why.

Last Updated: June 2024 / Translate


Introduction

Squash balls come in a variety of sizes and speeds. These differences are defined by the number and colour of dots on the ball. There are good reasons for this, but from a beginners’ or casual players’ point of view, it is unintuitive. The types of balls and their use is covered further down this page. The World Squash Federation only has specifications for 3 types of balls: Single Yellow, Double Yellow and Green.

The actual colour of the rubber is unimportant. Squash balls can be any colour.

The Challenge

To communicate EXACTLY which ball should be used AND why.

I propose three ideas that, with the support of all sections of the squash community, could help more players enjoy the sport. Before I describe them, let’s look a little closer at the current situation.

The Problem

Some players use the wrong ball. They do this for two reasons:

1. Miscommunication: Squash uses two concepts to differentiate the types of balls: “hang time” and “speed“.

“Hang time” describes how long the ball stays in the air. Essentially, it’s saying how bouncy a ball is. “Speed” obviously describes how fast a ball moves.

Now, imagine you are new to squash and you see two balls advertised “Slow” and “Fast”. Which ball are you likely to select as a beginner? The “slow” one of course! When you are new to a sport you want to avoid “fast” balls because they would be harder to hit.

2. Ego, Pride, Snobbery: I have often heard people say “If the pros play with a double yellow dot, then so should I!“. It’s WRONG. You should play with a ball that you can easily hit and have longer rallies. I am basing this on my experience, but a club player using a single yellow dot ball will get the same sort of bounce as an advanced player using a double yellow dot ball.

The Correct Ball

The correct ball is one that gets and stays hot during a game.

How hot the ball gets mainly depends on “How hard the players hit on average“, “How often the ball is hit on average” (which mainly depends on rally length and length of delay between rallies), and “the temperature of the air, walls, and floor” (which can be dramatically affected if there are outside walls).

It’s worth noting that a room-temperature red dot ball acts very similarly to a hot double yellow dot and therefore can be used to practice certain shots, for example drop shots.

What is The Solution?

A chart, some simple skill tests and some carefully worded sentences.

I propose the creation of a new chart that defines the balls based on BOUNCE using both player’s standard AND the court temperature, NOT speed or hang time. I also propose the creation of some simply racket/ball skills tests to help players quickly identify which ball should be used. Finally, I suggest some sentences that could be used in a campaign by pros to succinctly explain the situation.

The Squash Ball Table

The guidance table below is for regular matches. During specialised practices ANY ball can be used.

Use The right Squash Ball Guidnace Poster

Notes:

The Tests

No one test or combination of tests will be able to accurately define a person’s standard. These tests are designed to ensure Improvers, casual players and club players are using the correct ball; either single yellow dot or double yellow dot ball. Try one of these tests to see if you are using the correct ball.

The Sentences

Here are 3 suggested sentences that can be used in publicity and campaigns to get players using the right ball.

  1. If you can't get a double yellow dot squash ball very very hot, it is the wrong ball to play with!
  2. Use the ball that the lower standard player needs, not the higher standard player wants.
  3. The right ball is the one that bounces a LOT.

The Posters

Here are 5 posters that can be used to get players using the right ball. Click the links to view high resolution PDF versions.

I hope to update these posters sometime in 2024.

Use The Right Squash Ball Use The Right Squash Ball Use The Right Squash Ball Use The Right Squash Ball Use The Right Squash Ball

I have left the Squashball.info domain lapse and have lost the original files, so I would have to completely recreate the posters, so I haven't updated them yet - sorry.

The Balls

Below are the types of balls available. They are split into 2 sections: Standard and Specialised.

Standard Balls

Standard balls are the one that most people can buy and use.

All the standard squash balls

Specialised Balls

Use for certain situations.

More Research is Needed

These are questions I’d like answered.

References

I read a lot of webpages when researching the creation of this page. There is a LOT of false and incorrect information available online, but of course there is a lot of good information too. Below is a list of the references I used. This is NOT a scholarly or journalistic article, but I have tried to be as rigorous as possible in my research.

Not all links below provide correct information!

About This Page

I created this page to make it easy for players to find and use information about choosing the correct squash ball for their standard and court conditions.

It was heavily inspired by this post on the Squash SubReddit: How does your club encourage the use of different balls. Unfortunately, there was no real answer to the question.

A little while later, the discussion about World Squash considering lowering the height of the tin for all players to 17 inches, also included using the correct ball.

My objective was to create a guidance chart that made sense to players with some flexibility built-in. I also wanted some sort of test that players could perform to avoid arguments about standard.

Of course, there is no simple test that would quickly and clearly define a player’s standard, BUT if something could be formulated that would avoid players using the Double-yellow dot squash ball, simply “Because the pros play with it!“, that in itself would be good enough.

The chart and test are open to update and change at any time.

I am going to try to encourage the adoption of the guidance chart and simple test by contacting players, coaches, websites and organisations, and telling them about it. if you can help promote this project, please let me know.

This page will also act as the framework for a future video.