Surely the most important factor in a game of squash – the ball.
We throw ourselves around a square room in chase of it, and it’s the cause of so much frustration at times… But what types of ball are there and why is your choice of match ball so important?
What’s in a Squash Ball?
Squash uses hollow rubber balls made from two pieces of rubber compound glued together. There a different types of balls in squash, each with different characteristics and aimed at different levels of player, so your choice of ball largely affects the type and quality of match you’ll have.
The balls are mostly the same in terms of the general ball appearance, and the material they are made from; but they all behave differently when they bounce off the wall and floor.
Squash balls are usually black or dark blue, with the different ball types distinguished by small coloured dots on the ball, as in the image to the right.
Different balls have different bounce levels and affect the overall speed of play.
The ‘beginner’ ball is a single blue dot. These balls are the most bouncy, allowing players the maximum time to reach the ball before the point is dead, therefore encouraging longer rallies and a giving most chance to improve.
The most advanced ball on the other hand, the double yellow, is the least bouncy and moves the slowest off of the back wall, forcing players to react and move quickly in order to reach the ball and keep the point alive. Double yellow is the standard ball for professional competitions, having been introduced in the year 2000 to replace the slightly faster single yellow dot ball.
The single yellow and the red ball fall in the middle of the scale.
So here’s how the ball types breakdown:
This fancy graph represents a little more clearly the different bounces you can expect with each ball type:
Warm up your balls…
Remember! All levels of squash ball require some warming up prior to achieving ‘normal’ bouncing levels. A cold squash ball will struggle to bounce no matter what the level, so will take a good warm up rally to get the ball working.
And also remember that using a bouncier ball when you are just starting out is nothing to be embarrassed about, and you definitely shouldn’t rush to use the yellow balls if you are not yet ready. All that will happen is the balls will not bounce enough, you won’t manage to get any competitive rallies going, and you’ll be put off playing squash again very quickly! Start with the blue or red and get a feel for the game, that’s what they are there for!
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