Finding your perfect squash racket can make a huge difference to your game, helping you to hit the ball better, hit it more accurately, and swing it through the air easier. In this guide, we will take a look at everything you need to know about squash rackets, so that you can make an informed decision.
Types of squash rackets
There are two things that you should consider when searching for your ideal squash racket, those are balance and head shape. Where the racket is balanced will affect your playing style, with certain balances favouring power hitters, while other balances favouring technique and speed. You also have head shape (open throat vs tear drop) which has a similar influence.
Squash racket balance
There are three different balances available for squash rackets: Balanced, Head Heavy, and Head Light. Squash rackets will indicate the balance by writing a number for where the centre of the racket is. If your squash racket is 68cm long (industry standard) then a 34cm (or 340mm) number will indicate that the balance is directly in the middle and your racket is balanced.
1. Head Light
If your racket has a centre of balance that is less than half of the total length, then it is considered head light. This balance is ideal for highly skilful players who prefer to focus on their short-game, rather than relying on power. Big hitters may prefer head light rackets as a way to balance their game better.
2. Balanced (Even)
If the racket has a centre point measurement that is exactly half the length, then it is considered balanced. This is a very popular racket, as it is the ideal compromise between powerful shots and controlled shots. This racket is great for players who have a pretty even game, or perhaps haven’t determined what their strengths and weaknesses are.
3. Head Heavy
If your racket has a centre of balance that is greater than half of the total length, then it has a head heavy balance. These rackets are great for providing you with more power. This suits two types of players. Ones that have an excellent game but aren’t naturally powerful enough yet, and ones who are very powerful, and want to lean into their natural talents.
Squash Racket Head Shape
There are three different head shapes available to choose from. Known as open throat and closed throat (or tear drop) and hybrid. Open throat rackets have an oval head and then a triangular gap between the head and the grip. They slightly resemble tennis rackets. Closed throat rackets are shaped like a tear drop (hence the nickname) and are similar to badminton rackets in that there is no triangular gap between the head and the grip.
1. Open Throat Rackets
The open throat racket is perfect for beginners, they are designed to allow more control, a larger sweet spot, and therefore an increased chance of hitting the ball cleanly. They are amazing for playing the short game.
2. Close Throat Rackets
Ideal for power players, and ones who prefer to stay at the back of the court. The sweet spot is smaller, making it harder to get a good connection. But when you do, the ball will travel faster and cleaner. These rackets are best for more experienced players who want to dominate the court.
3. Hybrid Rackets
There is now a hybrid option to choose from, which is somewhere in between the two. In a perfect world they would give you the best of both rackets, but this isn’t really the case.
Other Things to Consider
While racket balance and head shape are clearly the two most important factors, there are so many other considerations when it comes to finding your perfect racket. Here are some of the more important ones:
- Head Shape – As we mentioned in our squash racket head section, you can choose between open throat (ideal for beginners and for more subtle players), closed throat (ideal for power hitters and advanced players) and hybrid rackets (compromise).
- Frame Weight – Heavy rackets (140g or more) are ideal for power hitters but are also slower through the air. Medium weight rackets are suitable for most intermediate or advanced players who prefer to volley and play at a fast pace. Light rackets (under 125g) are ideal for players who focus on playing as fast as possible and tend to prefer playing close to the front wall.
- Racket Beam – This is a measurement of the thickness of the frame. The average beam is around 19mm, narrow beams are thinner than that, while wide beams are thicker. Thinner beams are ideal for skilful and fast players. Thicker beams tend to suit power players.
- String Size – Most rackets come pre-strung with a tension of 26lbs. Unless you are quite advanced and have your own preferences, this is probably fine for your racket. String thickness should be around 17 or 18 gauges.
- Skill Level – How skilful you are at squash has a massive influence on what racket you should pick. If you are new, then a balanced squash racket with an open throat, a medium/light weight, and an average beam is probably the right fit for you.
- Junior – If you are a junior, or are buying for one, then picking a lighter racket with an open throat and a balanced or head heavy balance is a good shout.
- Warranty – Does your squash racket offer a warranty? If so, then how long does that warranty last? What does it cover? Finding out the answers to these questions is a great idea and could save you a headache if there is a manufacturing fault.
- Your Budget – Finding the right squash racket for your needs is all well and good, but you need that racket to fit your budget. If you are new, then spending a fortune on a top of the range squash racket is unnecessary. But if you have been playing for a long time and play regularly, then spending that extra cash to get your perfect racket is probably a good idea.
Squash Racket Maintenance
Many squash pros say that getting your squash racket restrung by a professional can make a huge difference to your performance. Finding a place to get your racket strung by an expert can sometimes be a challenge. Other than that, it’s simple things like keeping the racket covered and supported when not in use, and not keeping it in conditions that are excessively hot or cold (which could affect the frame and the strings).