“ Brand: Wilson / Type: Squash Racquet „
I started playing squash around three years ago with a racquet handed down to me by my dad - he had previously used the racquet in the seventies, and he assured me it would be perfectly acceptable today. Unfortunately it wasn't, and in practise felt like the racquet sport equivalent of a Reliant Robin in a race against a McClaren F1. Constructed primarily from wood, the racquet was extremely heavy, and featured a tiny head which made striking the ball a tricky art. Compared to today's racquets, the 70's version is an outdated antiquity - it's modern equivalents are built from ultra lightweight aluminium, carbon fibre, or ceramic, and feature a huge stringed hitting area.
Safe to say it wasn't long before I bought a modern racquet of my own, and consigned the wooden wonder back to the attic. Squash racquets can be picked up for around £9.99 to £200 from sports shops and online - I often buy from amazon.co.uk where the prices are always reasonable.
Since I first started the sport, I have owned six racquets, which does seems like a lot in the short space of three years, however, that's the problem with the 21st century racquet - they tend to break fairly easily. I'm not talking about a snapped string (which is repairable by your local sports shop for around £7) - I'm talking about a broken frame which will render your beloved ball-hitter useless. I can generally only get two or three months use from a racquet before it decides to break, and I'm not someone who throws my racquet around in a John McEnroe fashion. Breakage doesn't directly correlate to cost either - my most expensive raquet broke within two weeks, whilst my second most expensive provided me with just a month of use.
Nowadays when choosing a racquet, I generally opt for something fairly cheap - a lightweight Dunlop, Slazenger, or Head can be picked up for around £20. It's important to make sure that it feels nicely weighted when you give it a swing in the shop, and feel the strings to check for a decent tension. From my own experience, I have found that the Dunlop brand is generally the most reliable. My current racquet is a Slazenger Xcel Titanium, a metallic blue and white number featuring a nice chunky grip which cost in the region of £20. It has performed well so far, although I have only used it twice, so i'll report back on its longevity in the long run.
Unsquashable is a little known manufacturer of squash equipment, but they offer an excellent range of racquets, bags, grips and so on. Unsquashable racquets are not widely available and are often sold through individuals (such as squash coaches). The racquets are quite expensive, but large discounts are often offered making the racquets more affordable. For this price, you get a much better racquet then you would on the high street. Racquets range in price from around £70 to £200. As the name suggests , Unsquashable only concentrate on squash allowing for more development. The racquets are incredibly light (often less than 150g) and come with a large head and larger "sweet spot" than normal, allowing better shots to be hit more often. They also come with futuristic STAG stringing which (up to a point) get better the more you use them. To help you choose your racquet, Unsquashable give the weight and grading of your racquet on the shaft. Comfort, power and control are all rated out of 10. For example my racquet is rated at 9, 10, 10 showing that it is a good racquet. All Unsquashable racquets come with a cover, but for around £25 they sell large racquet bags. Unsquashable may seem expensive, but they say that you get what you pay for, and with Unsquashable that is very true.
The Prince power ring system works, it really does. It is available on several of Princes raquets from around 69.99 to 149.99. It is basically a stringing system that exaggerates the 'fan' head shape used by most brands now. It does away with the bottom section of 'grommits' as the string wraps around a kevlar throat section, allowing longer string durability,more power and control. Used by such proffessional squash players as Peter Niccol it has made a huge impact on the game and there isn't much to complain about with it. Great.