The Right Ball Debate in Squash

Recently the “Right Ball” Campaign in Squash has been the subject of much talk regarding the choice of ball used in competitive matches or playing against someone of the same ability, so the question at the heart of this debate is which ball is the right one?

Squash ball debate

Photo credit: Dziennik Squasha

Now this campaign has come about new Squash players being deterred from fully embracing this exhilarating sport – hence a rally for a change!!

Just last year the debate was brought to the Squash world in an article by Squash Mad – who have now stepped onto the court with its Right Ball campaign, advocating for a ball switch-up from grassroots to the summit of Squash.

The issue is multifaceted, encompassing considerations of player skill, court conditions, and the essence of the game.

As we know in the dynamic world of Squash, a subtle yet impactful debate has been quietly bouncing around the court – the choice of the right ball.

Speed factor in Squash balls

Before delving into the debate, it’s crucial to understand the different types of Squash balls that are available.

Traditionally, Squash balls were categorized based on their speed: double yellow, yellow, and red, each one denotes a specific level of bounce and speed. Furthermore, in recent years, the categorisation has evolved, with additional variants introduced to accommodate players of varying skill levels and court conditions.

For instance, the Double Yellow Dot, typically used in professional and high-level amateur competitions, the double yellow dot ball offers the least bounce and requires advanced skill to control effectively. Its low bounce demands precise technique and rewards players with quick reflexes.

Whereas the Yellow Dot is slightly softer and faster than the double yellow dot, the yellow dot ball is favoured by intermediate to advanced players. It provides a balance between control and speed, making it suitable for a wide range of playing styles.

The Red Dot ball is often recommended for recreational players and beginners, the red dot ball offers greater bounce and slower pace compared to the yellow and double yellow dot variants. Its forgiving nature allows novice players to develop their skills without feeling overwhelmed by the speed of the game.

The Right Ball debate

The debate over the “Right Ball” in Squash primarily revolves around two key factors: skill level and court conditions. Proponents of each ball variant argue passionately in favour of their preference, citing various reasons to support their stance.

Advocates of the double yellow dot ball, often synonymous with the professional circuit, argue that it represents the true essence of squash. Its low bounce demands exceptional skill and reflexes, separating the elite players from the rest. They contend that using any other ball would compromise the integrity of the game and diminish the challenge it presents.

On the other side of the spectrum, proponents of the yellow dot ball advocate for its versatility and accessibility. They argue that while the double yellow dot ball may be suitable for professionals, it alienates recreational and intermediate players who struggle to cope with its low bounce. By opting for the yellow dot ball, they believe that the sport becomes more inclusive and enjoyable for a wider audience.

Meanwhile, advocates of the red dot (or blue dot) balls emphasise the importance of adapting to varying court conditions. They argue that rigid adherence to a single ball type overlooks the practical challenges posed by factors such as temperature and humidity. By allowing for flexibility in ball selection, players can ensure a fair and consistent playing experience regardless of external variables.

For instance, professional tournaments could continue to use the double yellow dot ball to maintain the highest standards of competition, while recreational leagues and beginner clinics might opt for softer variants like the yellow dot or red dot ball to encourage skill development and enjoyment.

While the debate over the “right ball” in Squash may seem contentious, there is merit in considering a more nuanced and balanced approach. Rather than advocating for a one-size-fits-all solution, players and governing bodies could explore the possibility of introducing dynamic ball selection based on factors such as skill level, court conditions, and competitive context.

Education on ball types

Efforts to educate players about the characteristics and advantages of each ball type could foster a greater appreciation for the nuances of the game. By equipping players with the knowledge to make informed decisions, squash can evolve into a more inclusive and dynamic sport that caters to a diverse range of participants.

When it comes to grassroots Squash, selecting the right ball is crucial for fostering skill development, inclusivity, enjoyment, retention, and safety. Choosing the appropriate ball directly impacts players’ ability to learn basic skills without feeling overwhelmed, which in turn promotes confidence and encourages continued participation.

Offering a wide range of ball options tailored to different skill levels ensures that the sport remains accessible and enjoyable for players of all ages and abilities. Additionally, starting with softer balls reduces the risk of injuries, creates a safer playing environment, and makes it easier for newcomers to get started. As players advance in their skills, they can transition to faster balls while still building on the foundational skills developed at the grassroots level.

All eyes focusing on LA 2028

While the Right Ball campaign primarily focuses on advocating for a change in the type of ball used in squash, its impact on Squash Olympic inclusion is indirect but potentially significant.

With the campaign, it addresses issues related to the accessibility and appeal of Squash – especially for new and amateur players. By advocating for a more beginner-friendly ball, the campaign aims to attract and retain a broader base of participants in the sport.

Overall, selecting the right ball for grassroots Squash programs is essential for long-term growth and success in the sport.

To sum up, the “right ball” debate in Squash reflects the sport’s rich tapestry of tradition, skill, and innovation. While opinions may differ on which ball is superior, it’s evident that each variant offers unique benefits and challenges. By embracing diversity in ball selection and promoting a culture of education, we can help squash evolve into a more inclusive and dynamic sport.