Squash balls are balls that are used to play squash with. They get whacked with a racket, squashed against a wall, bounced off the floor, until they eventually burst out of their misery. Squash balls come in different varieties suited for different levels of play. These varieties are identified by the dots on the balls:
Click on any of the above colors to learn about what the different dots mean for the balls.
A note on balls and playing level
People usually use the words “faster” and “slower” when comparing the different kinds of squash balls. These are slightly inaccurate metrics because we should instead be saying “more bouncy” and “less bouncy”. Bouncier balls come off the walls faster than less bouncy ones, but also bounce higher off the floor. The difficulty of a squash ball is best described by how high a ball bounces off the floor and not how fast it comes off a wall. This is because balls that bounce higher off the floor are easier to pick up or return compared to balls that do not get as high.
“Faster” gives the impression that it is more difficult to play with when in reality the “slower” ball bounces less and causes rallies to end earlier. In conclusion:
- Faster = Bouncier = Easier
- Slower = Less bouncy = More difficult
Warming up a squash ball
All that whacking and bouncing causes a ball to get hot due to friction, contact, and the constant expansion and compression of air inside the ball. Just like how your tires get hot after driving, squash balls also get hot after some usage. Hot balls bounce more than cold balls, and we squash players become accustomed to the bounce expected from a hot ball.
However, depending on the level, playing with a ball that bounces too much can be just as annoying as using a ball that does not bounce at all. That’s why its necessary to use a ball meant for your level so that you get get the best playing experience from your squash session.
Hard Squash Balls
Yes, there is a hard ball in squash. This ball is like a soft rock and usually comes in blue color and marked with a pink dot. Nowadays, hard balls are used for doubles squash, which is played in too big a court for a soft ball to be used in. These balls bounce like blue dot balls, maybe even more. They don’t even need to be warmed up. These were originally designed for use in super cold climates like Canada where warming up a soft ball was nearly impossible.
Some crazies play normal squash with a hard ball for training purposes because it flies around the court really fast. I encourage everyone to try this at least once in their lifetime. There was also a time when singles hard ball squash was a popular sport played on a “North American Sized” Court, PSA tournaments for hard ball were a thing. Jahangir Khan dominated that too.