Changing Tradition

By Steve Edgar

Most club players use a Dunlop Pro, even though they get a low or dead bounce. An obvious question is, "Why?" Here are some of the reasons, with some of my own recommendations (in italics) on how to improve the situation.

Tradition. It is what everyone else does. Players are told the Dunlop Pro is the "standard ball" of squash, and if they use another ball, they are changing the game, or doing something wrong.

Players - realize you have a choice. Different balls do not change the game, they keep it from being changed. Choose the ball that best suits your skill level.

Teaching pros - promote the right ball for the right skill level. Your lead will help change the tradition of "deadball squash".

They do not realize they are getting a low or dead bounce. Many players assume that because they use the "same ball as the pros", they are getting the same ball behavior. But ironically, the opposite is true.

Players - realize most club players who use a Dunlop Pro get a low or dead bounce, and play a different version of the game.

They like a low or dead bounce. A low or dead bounce changes the game of squash. It removes the high degree of skill required to hit "shots", it is easier to volley, less fitness is required, there are fewer tactics, and it is harder to rally. Some players prefer this version of the game.

Players - if you like a low or dead bounce, I think that is fine. Squash is what you make it, and there is room for everyone. But I think it is important to remember that is a different version of the game.

It is specified for intercollegiate, tournament or league play. In the US, intercollegiate squash specifies that all matches must use the Dunlop Pro. (Almost all the intercollegiate women players I have seen get a low or dead bounce, but they have no option to use another ball.) USSRA tournaments specify that all matches must use the Pro. Many squash clubs specify that all league matches must use the Pro.

Intercollegiate squash - convince Dunlop to modify their Competition ball, such that it has a higher rebound curve (right now it is too close to the Pro), and move intercollegiate women's competition to that ball.

Tournament and league play - use different balls for different skill levels.

Dunlop's Max Progress and Max balls are oversized. Until the Pointfore Red and Blue Dot balls became available in the US, club players had a tough choice: either play with an oversized ball, which feels heavy on the racquet, or play with a low or dead bounce.

Players who get a low or dead bounce - consider a Pointfore Red Dot or Blue Dot.

Dunlop - change the size and weight of the Max Progress and Max balls to match the Pro, and bump up the rebound curve of the Competition.

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