How to choose the right squash racket
the right squash racket is not necessarily a straightforward process,
particularly if you have been playing with the same model for
a number of years and it's now no longer available. There are
a number of key variables in each model of squash racket that
determine why each racket feels and plays differently. While this
article attempts to describe these variables to help your choice,
in reality no amount of reading is an adequate substitute for
testing your prospective new racket on court. The following points
should help you narrow down which frames will best suit your style
players tend to have an obsession with the weight of racket that
they use. However, whilst the manufacturer quoted weight is probably
the most considered point of reference in choosing a racket, it
is probably the least helpful measure in guidance for consistency
or point of reference from one racket brand to another. The lack
of consistency in exactly what is being quoted from the bare carbon
frame, to the unstrung frame, to the strung weight makes the quoted
weight a useless brand to brand comparison.
models do however have different weights to suit different styles
and preferences of play. Typically a light racket (particularly
with a head light balance) will be best suited to a touch or feel
player or an avid volleyer with a high degree of skill. A light
racket is easy to manoeuvre quickly allowing the player to really
feel the ball, helping achieve the most accurate placement of
shots. The caveat with a light racket is that the player needs
to generate the power for the shot, for this reason a good level
of technique and skill is required to avoid any loss of control
with power shots. Juniors, beginners and ladies also often select
light rackets but the reduced power, and high degree of skill
level required often mean that whilst such a racket may be easy
to swing and feels fantastic, it might not be the best choice
in delivering the best game improvement or squash performance
on court. A frame at the heavier end of the scale is suited more
to players who tend to focus on the power, length and retrieving
style of play.
swinging a racket what is often described as feeling light or
heavy is due to the balance as much as to the inherent weight
of the frame. At the extremes a head light balance will be best
suited to the touch and volleying players. But the "correct"
balance is really down to individual preference and when it's
right it simply "just feels right", and what suits one
player will not be suited to others.
strips of lead tape can be used to adjust the balance of the frame;
this technique is more usually used in tennis but can also be
applied to squash. In the same way adding an extra grip will effectively
make the racket feel more head light and adding bumper tape will
make the racket play slightly more head heavy.
simple terms the bigger the head of the racket the bigger the
sweetspot. A racket with a bigger sweetspot will be more forgiving
on shots that haven't come right out of the middle of the racket.
Hence there is a bigger margin for error on less than perfect
ball contact and bad shots in all likelihood will turn out to
be better than they really deserve to be.
small headed rackets are really only well suited to experienced
players with a high degree of skill. Whilst a smaller headed racket
has a smaller sweetspot it could be described as being a better
quality of sweetspot. So, in the hands of the right player the
VENDETTA racket for example, will offer the best control and
the best power; but used by a beginner or a player who doesn't
regularly "middle" the ball it will make an already
challenging game even more difficult. It is for this reason that
many top professionals play with small headed frames, and why
these frames are often not well suited to the masses who need
as much help as possible from their chosen frame. (It is also
worthy of note that in squash as in tennis, top professionals
will often play with a frame customised to their exacting specifications
but displaying the same graphics as the mass produced brand frames.)
very stiff frame is ideal for the player who can control it,
that is, a player with a well-honed, robust technique, as it
will allow for excellent shot making, control and power. For
example the TITAN
SIDEWINDER is a very light racket but it is also very stiff
- hence, used by a player of the sufficient calibre, the stiff
flex allows significant power to be generated whilst the lightness
allows for excellent feel and manoeuvrability.
that are not ultra stiff will be more forgiving and hence will
provide more margin for error. But more importantly the correct
flex or stiffness of the racket is simply the flex that feels
right when you hit the ball
it's primarily a case of personal
preference. There are plenty of excellent players who prefer to
play with a racket with a mid flex such as the TITAN
GTI in preference to a much stiffer frame. The only way to
know what suits you best is to try the frame on court.
shape of the grip is again down to personal preference. The
both have a slightly square grip, whilst the other TITAN frames
have a more standard oval grip. The grip can be altered easily
in a number of ways by adding another full grip over the top,
using an overgrip over the top or changing the grip to your
preferred type eg the TITAN Contour grip to achieve what feels
comfortable in your hand.
mentioned above, adding additional grips will change the balance
and feel of the racket.
string type and tension make a tremendous difference to the way
that a squash racket plays, particularly if your tension preference
is either at the high or low end of the typical spectrum. The
right string type and tension are purely down to personal preference,
with many players typically having rackets strung at around 26lb.
The rule of thumb is that the higher the tension the more control
and the lower the tension the more power. Some manufacturers put
in a cheap plastic hollowfibre string that breaks within a couple
of games adding an additional cost to your new racket. All TITAN
squash rackets are supplied with a quality string selected for
that frame, hence the racket should be ready to play straight
"out of the wrapper".