I AM ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK REGARDING EVERYTHING PRESENTED HERE.
I specifically want feedback regarding the table, sentences and skill tests. I would like to get the squash community to contribute and agree to those three points. I will then create three printable sheets for clubs and facilities to use. The sentences could be used in a campaign to encourage the use of the correct squash ball. Please send all feedback to [email protected] - thank you.
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 can seem over-complicated. 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.
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. There is a MORE section near the bottom of the page which covers plenty of information related to squash balls.
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.
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
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).
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 guidance table below is for regular matches.
During specialised practices ANY ball can be used.
TEMPERATURE: This is an approximate guide and includes the air, walls and floor temperature. Some courts, especially those with walls that are also outside wall of the actual building get very cold. In those circumstances, use a bouncier ball than you would normally use.
STANDARD: For the purposes of this guide, the following descriptions of standards are used.
Beginner - Somebody relatively new to squash.
Improver/Casual - A person who has been playing for a little while, but doesn't take it too seriously.
Club Player - Somebody who plays regularly and maybe even in a league or occasional friendly comeptition.
Tournament Player - Somebody who players very regualrly, practices to improve and probably plays in tournaments.
Advanced - A player who has reached a level where they can play any shot and trains specifically for tournaments.
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.
With a double yellow dot, if both players can hit 15 side-to-side shots quite hard with no mistakes, you should be use a double yellow dot. If not, use a single yellow.
If both players can bounce the ball on the floor with your racket 10 times very quickly with cold double yellow dot, you can use it in the match. If not, use a single yellow.
If both players can hit 5 consecutive straight drive shots off the back wall on their backhands with a hot double yellow dot, use that. If not, use a single yellow dot.
Here are 3 suggested sentences that can be used in publicity and campaigns to get players using the right ball.
Below are the types of balls available. They are split into 2 sections: STANDARD and SPECIALISED.
This ball is designed for complete beginners. It is bouncy from the beginning and requires no warming up.
This ball is designed for people who have been playing for a little while. It's not as bouncy as the red dot ball, but bouncy enough that you don't need to warm it up.
This is no longer considered official as it is not listed by the World Squash Federation in their Ball Specifications2.
Designed for the club player on normal courts and for better players on colder courts. This ball definitely requires some warming up before it becomes sufficiently bouncy for fun play.
Designed for players who can play the ball after it has hit the backwall. Requires constant hard hitting to reach its optimum temperature.
This ball is 12% bigger than a standard squash ball and has been specifically designed for beginners. Its size and bounciness make it perfect for people who have just started playing squash. It is ONLY made by Dunlop.
This ball is 6% bigger than a standard squash ball. It is designed for improver; players who have passed the beginner stage. It is only made by Dunlop.
The white ball is a single yellow dot ball, created specifically for glass courts. It is equivalent to a double double dot black ball. Some glass courts have been designed to use black AND white balls.
This ball is designed for high-altitude locations. At altitude, in Denver USA for example, a standard double-yellow dot would play too fast. In my experience they can also be used in very high humidity/temperature situations, for example right next to an indoor swimming pool. They are very difficult to buy outside of the locations that use them.
I honestly believe that the images, charts and graphs used by squash to explain the different dots of balls are at best confusing and at worst misleading. Below are the three most common examples.
Perhaps you think I am being over-critical, but the fact that the bounce originates from the floor seems useless. It would be better to have the bounce originating from the middle of the imaginary front wall and the ball initially travelling in a more or less straight line and then showing where it would bounce on the floor and how high it would bounce thereafter.
The problem is that the differences wouldn't translate well into graphic images. The difference in bounce height is quite small, but during play even small differences make a big difference to the ability of players to reach and hit the ball.
I fully understand that graphics used to explain ideas and concepts do not have to be realistic - their job is to quickly explain ideas that would take too long in text form. However, just because something is nice to look at DOES NOT mean it has effectively communicated the concept.
Another area we could improve upon is how we label the balls. I actually believe that Dunlop does a pretty good job here because they call the balls "Pro for Advanced players" (double yellow dot), "Competition for intermediate players" (single yellow dot), "Progress for improvers" (red dot) and "Intro for beginners" (Blue dot), although this does contrast with the WSF specifications which calls a double yellow dot a "competition" ball and the single yellow dot a "club" ball. Other manufacturers define their balls by speed; Super slow (DY), slow (SY), medium (red) and fast (blue).
Yes, there is some good and correct information available but it is mixed in with wrong and confusing information. What is needed is a redefinition of the types of balls, and an agreed and consistent message given to squash ball purchasers.
WHO IT AFFECTS MOST
Two groups of players are most affected:
1. New players: They are confused by the terms used and specifically by the speed definitions.
2. Club players: These are the players that should be playing with a single yellow dot, but play with a double yellow. Experienced older players are often guilty of knowing which ball to use, but tell their younger opponents that they should play with a double yellow. They do this because a cold double yellow dot gives them a chance to hit easy winners. This then makes for a boring game and maybe even makes the younger player believe that this is how squash is supposed to be played.
Beginners: Sam and Bobby have just started playing squash, somebody told them to try the double yellow dot, because "it's the slowest ball". They bought one and tried to play with it, but because they are complete beginners they are unable to get it hot and therefore bouncy. The game is not much fun for them. They now think that squash is not much fun.
Sam is better than Bobby and could probably play with a single yellow dot and get it quite warm, but because Bobby can't hit the double yellow dot ball cleanly or often enough, the rallies don't last very long.
Clever Old Dog: Jack is over 50 years old and has been playing for over 20 years. He can't move around as well as he used to. He has watched pros play and even had a lesson or two. Jack believes that the only proper ball to play with is the double yellow dot. Anything else is for beginners and he certainly isn't a beginner. He has started playing with Albert. jack insists on playing with a double yellow. Albert is fairly new to squash, but the combined inexperience of Albert with the clever court craft of Jack makes it a close game. Jack tries to hit lots of winners to keep the ball cold. Albert can't reach them all.
Albert recently played against Victoria and had a great game. Victoria and Albert are the same standard. Victoria has had a few lessons and her coach told her to play with either a red or single yellow, depending on who she is playing and how hot the court is. Victoria suggested to Albert they try the single yellow dot. He agreed and they both were able to hit lots of shots and get the ball quite warm. Albert asked Jack to use a single yellow dot. Jack refused saying "We are too go for anything other than a double yellow dot".
WHAT THE PROS AND COACHES SAY
More quotes will be added ASAP.
DUNLOP vs THE REST
Firstly, I would like to mention that I was Squash Promotions Manager in the early 1990s. Dunlop make the most popular squash ball on the market. There are plenty of other manufactures, well brands at least, and these behave and play differently to Dunlop's ball. Not better or worst, just different.
A perfect example is the Artengo brand from Decathlon. They make two double yellow dot balls; one WSF certified and the other not. The certified one was very similar to Dunlop's double yellow dot, but the non-certified one wasn't. It was a little bouncer at the beginning, but became almost the same as a hot Dunlop double yellow dot ball, but lasted much longer.
Some coaches and players believe new players should start with double yellow dots. The idea behind this thinking is that eventually they will have to play with double yellow, so they might as well get used to the ball now.
This is an actual quote from a squash website "For beginners, the best squash ball is a Double yellow dot ball, NOT a Blue Dot, or what companies call a "progress ball".
Now, taken out of context that's incredibly foolish to suggest. The author goes on to say "Beginners who can actually hit, and have some hand-eye coordination, should build up good habits with a Double Yellow ball right away." and I do agree that if new players (be they beginners or juniors) can consistently hit a double yellow dot so that it gets hot then that's a great ball to use, but the reality is that most new players can't do that and for them squash is not fun.
CHANGES IN BALL TEMPERATURE
If you were to hold a double yellow dot squash ball after two professionals have both been hitting it very hard for a few minutes, you would be shocked at how hot it is. It's almost too hot to press into the palm of your hand.
Compare this with a room temperature double yellow dot and the difference is extreme. Not only is the temperature very different, so is the bounce. The bounce of a very hot double yellow dot is similar to the bounce of a room temperature blue or red dot.
My point is, Yes, pros play with double yellow dot squash balls BUT they get it very hot.
All dots of squash ball change bounciness when they change temperature. It might seem obvious to you if you play squash, but to new players that could be vital information - the hotter a ball becomes, the higher it bounces.
Do you know of any other sport where that is true? Think of tennis or table tennis, cricket hockey etc, none of those balls change based on how often and hard you hit them.
I believe that squash balls reach their maximum bounciness at 45 degrees C. This is why the WSF tests them at this temperature.
THE LIFE OF A SQUASH BALL
There is no exact moment when a squash ball becomes unusable, except when it bursts. Some balls become shiny due to the paint on the walls and just from being used a long time. You can rub them with sand paper, use a special devices to roughen them or even put them in the washing machine at 30 degrees. However, due to the fact they are made of rubber, they will eventually lose their bounce and should be replaced. I have heard people say that after 3 hours of use, you should change them. The better you are at squash, the less this becomes a problem. The reason is that after a few hours of hard hitting a ball will burst anyway.
BRIEF SQUASH BALL HISTORY
In July 1999, Dunlop switched from selling green squash balls to selling black squash balls. It was at this time they removed the white dot ball and added the double yellow. It is my understanding that the white dot (green ball) and single yellow dot (black ball) are the same and the single yellow dot (green ball) and double yellow dot (black ball) are the same.
Other manufacturers continue to make and sell white dot balls, but since there is no WSF specification for them, I do not know their properties.
BLUE AND RED DOT BALLS.
To add to the confusion, there are differences in Dunlop and other manufacturers' blue and red dot balls. Dunlop make the Intro (blue) and the Progress (red) balls. They are bigger than other manufacturers' blue and red dot balls. The difference in size is designed to make it easier to learn to play. I am all in favour of making the game easier to play for beginners, but if different manufacturers have different standards for the dot colours, that just adds to the confusion.
WHITE SQUASH BALLS & GLASS COURTS
I honestly do not know (but I am trying to find out) why they have single yellow dots. A lot of people believe that glass courts are colder and deader (the rebound from the walls is reduced) and that might have been true in their early use, but it's not really a factor now. Remember, a lot of glass courts were initially located in very large open areas. In addition, the sound is significantly different as well as the echo. I always planned to make a video comparing different types, brands and colours of balls, but never seem to have time. other people have done similar experiments3.
HIGH ALTITUDE BALLS
At high altitude, a standard WSF specification double yellow dot ball is apparently too bouncy. At the time I worked for Dunlop, we produced orange dot balls for this situation which were less bouncy than a double yellow dot. The current high altitude dot designation is green. The only difference between the green and double yellow according to the WSF specification2 is the Rebound Resilience at 23 Degrees C, 9% against 12% respectively.
MORE RESEARCH NEEDED.
If you know the answer to any of these questions or know somebody who does, please contact me: [email protected]
I read a lot of webpages when researching the creation of this website. 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 SITE
I built this website 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.
Hi!, My name is Phillip and I call myself a "Remote Squash Coach".
I create squash-related content for use online.
I used to be a professional squash coach and was lucky enough to work and play with the biggest names in squash.
You can learn more about me on my website: SquashCoachPhillip.com
I have a number of other squash-related projects. Some are still in development. If you have a project or collaboration ideas, please contact me.
This is my main focus and contains all my videos as well as hosting the community section that acts like a blog.
Easy-to-use filter of my coaching videos.
Send a video of yourself playing and have it analysed by an experienced squash coach
Videos made for squash beginners. Includes text pages & videos.
A HUGE list of website links, plus a random button, just for fun!
A website that explains and promotes the correct squash ball to use.