Squash Ball Letter (regarding Winter Interclub 2018)
A member of our club has raised the issue of the current ball use for different grades during the Dunedin Metro Winter Interclub and is suggesting a change for some grades to use a ‘bouncier’ ball due to our colder climate.
Please see below for their reasoning and note this has been written more in mind of some divisions moving from a single yellow dot to a blue dot.
From the Pirates Club Member:
The reasons for this are:
The single yellow dot ball currently in use has insufficient bounce for lower graded players to learn good techniques and to have rallies lasting more than a few strokes. Consequently, there is little opportunity for many lower graded players to easily improve techniques or develop running skills.
(Could this be a significant cause for why squash clubs have lost large numbers over the last 30 -40 years?)
Otago court temperatures during winter interclub:
- Cloudy day winter temps in Dunedin are typically 6-8°C so courts unlikely to be much warmer if nobody has been using them during the day. Clutha, Milton and Taieri courts can be much cooler when frosts persist all day.
- Dunedin sea temperatures in winter drop to 8°C. By contrast, sea temperatures in Auckland and Tauranga in winter drop to 15°C. (https://www.seatemperature.org/australia-pacific/new-zealand/) Inland Otago temperatures are likely to be a further 5° cooler.
- So, a rough assumption is that the large majority of NZ squash players will be playing on courts at least 7° warmer than coastal Otago for the first few games of interclub in an evening.
Should we insist that courts are heated to a minimum temperature of, say, 18°C? This would not only be comfortable for players, but very much nicer for spectators!
Or should we use a faster ball such as a blue dot?
Players and clubs can definitely afford to buy blue dot balls but can they afford to pre-warm courts to, say, 18°C?
Reasons for using blue dot ball:
- For beginners and lower-graded players, the ball doesn’t die so quickly encouraging more running. This is a very important feature for beginners with slow reactions or running speed.
- Allows those with poor hitting power to get much better length. – Many beginners have a lack of strength or poor hitting technique, and put most effort into hitting hard, but don’t develop good accuracy. Placement of the ball is the key to setting up winning shots. (Remember the old rule of thumb: 20% less power gives 80% better accuracy!)
- Better bounce encourages players to develop better technique for returns from rear corners rather than just giving up, or trying to shovel with two hands.
- A blue dot ball bounces on cooler Otago courts more like a yellow dot on hotter northern courts. This would help teach Otago players better techniques for playing in northern competitions.
- A-grade players apparently use a blue dot during practice to improve techniques. (Scott Gardiner in Christchurch was one example mentioned to me.)
- Squash Canterbury winter interclub rules for 2017 show:
- Double dot default ball Men’s Div 1.
- Single dot default ball Men’s Div 2 & 3 and Women’s Div 1 & 2
- Blue dot default ball Men’s Div 4 & below and Women’s Div 3 & below
- A change in the ball used may be allowed but must be by agreement between the captains.