Tuesday, October 3, 2023

‘More bounce’: Squash Mad launches Right Ball campaign

Squash observers say that the double yellow dot is “killing large parts of the game” and new players are being put off from continuing in the sport by simply using the wrong ball.

This week, Squash Mad launches its Right Ball campaign to make sure alternative balls are being used from grassroots up. 

Ten years ago, this publication ran a series of articles on the issue, which remain one of the most widely read and commented pieces.

Now, we have the backing of Joey Barrington plus plenty of readers as we set about asking:

  • What has changed over the decade?
  • What questions are being asked on balls within ruling bodies’ corridors?
  • Are manufacturers in tune with clubs on what ball works best?
  • And what can be done to combat change?

Two years ago, Squash Mad founder Alan Thatcher, who ran the original pieces, persuaded Dunlop to agree to relaunch their ball range to coincide with World Squash Day. 

Can squash bounce back?

However, after months of planning he said “they suddenly went quiet and did nothing.”

Thatcher added: “It’s quite clear that the double yellow ball is killing large parts of the game. Most clubs don’t stock anything else, and I’ve seen so many clubs welcome newcomers to a club night by giving them a shiny old double yellow ball that hasn’t bounced in years.

“They swing and miss and don’t come back.”

While the double dot ball is essential both at professional and elite level of play, Barrington feels that in more amateur environments “any ball where you have to work hard to warm it up just to get it bouncing is completely unsuitable.”

He told Squash Mad: “There is a lot of opportunity to develop a ball that can suit a lot of different levels. Originally they used to have the white dot, red dot, blue dot from Dunlop and they were brilliant.

‘Double dots don’t work at amateur level’

“So I am a big believer in the benefits of other balls. Looking back, even as a young pro, when we went on court growing to train, we used red dot balls to work on our short game and to get used to playing with different challenges, but when it comes to the amateur game and those taking up squash, double dot balls just don’t work.”

Barrington is not the first voice to have his say on the matter. Squash Mad has published the following on the issue:

Now, we are aiming to take the theme further and seeking proper answers from administrators.

Barrington added: “Really squash is a continuous rebound sport and is unique in this respect as a racket sport. That means the ball should be bouncing and coming back as much as possible. I feel that is essential for the amateur and beginner players.

“It is a different story for elite level players, but for the other levels it is 100% good to get more life into the balls and any campaign to make that happen is of value.”

Squash Mad is asking readers to get in touch at [email protected] as we seek a global viewpoint

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  1. So so true. Masters Squash matches have disappeared off a cliff time wise. Since PAR11 was introduced with a double yellow, match times have evaporated by 50% at best. Of course, more players are crammed in to the Tournament in question, but it’s driving the core players away from the game, as it just isn’t giving value for money , any which way. As Chairman of England Seniors Cricket, I refused point blank to allow the Australians to implement their ridiculous policy of batsmen retiring at 35. It’s a similar situation here. Masters over 65 should be single yellow, minimum, period…in my opinion!

  2. Absolutely right. Double yellow dot balls suit county-level players and above. For anybody below that they make rallies ridiculously short.

  3. Clubs could mandate single yellow for almost all leagues and everyone would find they had better games. For those below a certain level perhaps a white dot? I would like to see some innovation in ball design but unlikely whilst the sport remains niche. UK racketball would never have been needed if we had used a bouncier ball- thats why people move to it. Why not use a squash ball that behaves like a racketball ball?

  4. I completely concur. Many intermediate-level players seem somewhat resistant to playing with a single-dot ball. However, in my view, this actually extends the duration of the game, enhances enjoyment, and necessitates more strategic point construction. Ultimately, it contributes to a more fulfilling playing experience and offers a better workout.

  5. I completely agree!, surely the “bouncier” the ball the more enjoyable the game,and it will encourage players to have longer rallies and improve their skill levels,and bear in mind that all squash courts are not heated to the same level,I have played at some courts where you just could NOT get any heat into the ball, no matter how long you played,and how hard you could hit the ball.

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