Time to get practical about which ball to use!
By PHILLIP MARLOWE – Squash Mad Correspondent
Every sport has its aficionados; people who love to talk about the subtleties of the equipment. And squash is no different, from whether this string at this tension is better than that string and that tension to which racket weight and balance is perfect for which type of player. However, one thing we shouldn’t be arguing about is which type of ball to play with.
A month or so ago, there was an interesting question of the squash subreddit entitled “How does your club encourage the use of different balls“.
We all know about the constant fight to get people to use the single yellow instead of the double yellow and the arguments used by the “Double Yellowers” to stand by their “right” to use the “ball of the professionals”, but is there any actual PRACTICAL advice or information?
Alas, I was disappointed to find that nobody posted anything useful. Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any out there, it’s just none presented itself.
I was aware of Richard Millman’s excellent One Dot Revolution and the interesting discussion it generated.
The problem is that WITHIN our squash community, there are plenty of people; coaches, administrators, players who do a great job of trying to convince players to use the right ball, but what about the multitude OUTSIDE the community.
The beginners, the improvers, the casual players who all play in sports centres etc, that get their information for other causal players, sports shops, notice boards etc. We must not let them be forgotten.
With all those things in mind, I built a website called SQUASHBALL.INFO. Its objectives are:
1. To provide a central resource for information related to squash balls.
2. To provide at least one usage-guidance poster for the different balls available.
3. To provide some simple tests that can be performed quickly on-court to ensure the correct ball is being used.
4. To provide a variety of posters encouraging the use of single yellow dot instead of double yellow dots.
Point 4 also connects to the creation of catch-phrase style sentences that can be easily remembered and repeated when discussing which ball to use. A perfect example is “If the ball is not hot it’s the wrong dot!“.
The purpose of this article is to illicit contributions from our community. Yes, your help is wanted. I would like players, coaches and other interested parties to pick apart the website and its resources (usage-guidance poster, tests and other posters) to produce the most useful resources possible.
I also hope that we could get some professional players to record 10-second clips using the agreed sentences or saying whatever they prefer for people to see and use when in doubt about which ball to use. Before you say it, yes, I think coaches would be great for this, but I believe pros would have more effect.
I freely admit that the website might be too big and might need condensing – I tend to be a little verbose, both verbally and textually and any feedback is welcome.
Specifically, I would like feedback on:
1. The overall information provided.
2. The style and information presented on the usage-guidance poster. Do you agree with it? If not, why not? I hope to create a different style of poster, in addition to the one available, so that people/centres can choose the one they feel is most impactful.
3. Do you feel the tests are useful? I freely admit that since I no longer coach “on-court”, I just sat at my desk and invented what I thought might be good. Ideally, we could have a list of 5 tests and say that if BOTH players can pass at least one test, then a double yellow dot ball can be used. Now, before you comment without reading the website, NO!, I don’t think one or any combination of tests will accurately define a player’s level, but having some practical test may convince a lot more people to use the right ball instead of some abstract posters or video clips. If it transpires that the inclusion of the tests are counter-productive then I will remove them from the website completely. If we manage to agree on some tests, I will create very short videos demonstrating them and have a QR code on the usage-guidance poster and other posters for players to quickly view.
4. The Sentences and Posters are better than nothing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. Again, once we have agreed the phrasing, I will consider getting them professionally made. I created the current ones from some templates I found and they seemed okay to me.
Phew! Hopefully you are still with me. Please take your time and read through the website carefully. It’s been updated twice since it went online a few weeks ago, so thanks to those people who have already provided feedback.
Feel free to comment here, or send me an email ([email protected]) with your thoughts and hopefully we can make a real difference.
Thanks for reading and remember:
DO SOMETHING EVERY SINGLE DAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SQUASH!