This page hopes to answer any questions regarding squash balls for beginners to the sport. There are several types of squash ball and choosing the wrong type at the start could make your game unnecessarily difficult!
What do the dots on a squash ball mean?
Not all squash balls are the same, and when you’re new to the sport choosing the right ball can be confusing. Squash balls can be differentiated by the number and colour of the dots printed upon them. These dots indicate how bouncy the ball will be – the more bounce the ball has, the easier it is to play with.
The best squash balls for beginners have a single blue dot as these balls have the most bounce (they are also slightly larger than other balls). After that the balls become progressively less bouncy (and therefore more challenging to play with) in this order: red, orange, green, white, yellow and double yellow. Double yellow dot squash balls are only recommended for experienced players, and are definitely NOT the right squash balls for beginners.
Here is a breakdown of the four most common squash balls:
Blue dot – High bounce, fast speed, suitable for beginners or children
Red dot – Medium bounce, medium speed, suitable for training players
Yellow dot – Low bounce, extremely slow speed, suitable for advanced players
Double yellow dot – Extremely low bounce, extremely super slow speed, suitable for experts
According to the World Squash Federation, the standard ball for competing professionally is the double yellow. If you are new to the sport then a blue bot squash ball is an ideal starting point.
How other factors might affect ball choice?
Altitude: In areas with low air pressure (at high altitudes) players often prefer to play with a squash ball with less bounce than usual. The green and orange dot balls are the most suitable for high altitude playing.
Temperature: Some courts are colder than others which tends to “deaden” the ball making play more challenging. In these instances you might wish to use a more bouncy ball than usual to counteract this effect. In winter, even advanced players may choose to use a single yellow dot ball over a double yellow.
Warming up a squash ball
As the bounce of a squash ball can vary with temperature, the majority of squash balls will need warming up prior to play.
A ball that requires warming up will underperform if used cold. It is very common to see players hitting the ball around the court prior to play simply in order to warm the ball. Simply hitting the ball against the back wall repeatedly is enough to ensure that the ball plays with its optimum bounce.
However, some balls are made of materials that ensure that they are at optimal playability even when cold.
When should I change my ball?
There are two signs that indicate when a squash ball is passed its optimal condition.
Firstly, if the ball comes branded with a logo then over time this logo will become word through play. When the logo is completely worn away this is the first indicator that you may need to replace your ball.
Secondly, the texture of the ball will change over its lifetime. The surface of a new ball is textured and has a “gritty” feel. When the ball becomes smooth this is a sure sign that it needs replacing.
Buying squash balls
Although there are plenty of brands out there producing squash balls, Dunlop is the most recognised and professionally accepted. They have four types of ball corresponding to each of the four most common types previously mentioned above:
- Pro (double yellow dot)
Official ball of the World Squash Federation, Professional Squash association and Women’s International Squash Players Association. Suitable for professional and very experienced players. You can buy them here.
- Competition (single yellow dot)
The same size as the Pro ball but designed for club players or for use on very cold courts. It has more bounce than the Pro. You can buy them here.
- Progress (red dot)
This is the ball for improving or intermediate players. It is 6% larger than the yellow dot balls and has more bounce than the Competition. You can buy them here.
- Intro (blue dot)
The Intro is 12% larger than the standard size squash ball and is the ideal squash ball for beginners due its increased bounce. If you are totally new to the sport this is the perfect ball for you. You can buy them here.