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Years ago when I was a student at university, I played squash several times with one of the guys on my course. It was great fun and remarkably different from playing badminton, which was my main sport as a teenager.
These days, tennis is my thing.
I play as often as I can, which is usually only 1 day a week with all my family and work commitments.
Is a squash racket the same as a tennis racket?
Having tried out all three sports, aside from the different rules and styles of play, one of the most striking differences are the racket designs.
In squash and tennis, the rackets are remarkably different in terms of the size, shape and the weight.
In this blog post, l’ll take a look at some of the differences between squash and tennis rackets.
What do tennis rackets look like?
Tennis rackets have an egg-shaped head and the ratio between the width and length is quite high.
They used to be constructed out of wood, before transitioning to aluminium and now in recent years, graphite is the norm.
The only real restrictions on using a tennis racket are the dimensions of the frame and the hitting area. From the tip of the racket to the bottom of the handle, it shouldn’t be longer than 29” (73.66cm) and no wider than 12.5” (31.75cm).
In terms of the hitting area, it should be flat with a criss-cross string design no wider than 11.5”(29.2cm) or longer than 15.5”(39.4cm).
Tennis rackets are heavier than squash rackets. The average weight is around 300 grams (10.6 oz) with 310 grams (11 oz) considered heavy and 285 grams (10 oz) considered light.
What do squash rackets look like?
Squash rackets have tear-shaped or oval head shapes.
Also, like tennis rackets, there are certain rules in place which determine their maximum dimensions.
The maximum length from head to toe should be 27”(68.6cm) and 8.5”(21.5cm) wide. The hitting area should have a maximum size of 77.5 sq inches (500 sq cm)
From this you can see that although tennis rackets are wider, they are both fairly similar in length.
Squash rackets can have quite a wide range in terms of weight; the maximum allowed weight is 255 grams (9 oz), but this is very unusual as most rackets lie between 90-150 grams (3-5.3 oz).
So squash rackets on average are considerably lighter than tennis rackets. This is partly because the ball is lighter, and the technique is considerably different for playing the sport. Also, you’re in very close proximity to your opponent when you play squash so if the racket was very heavy and you got hit by accident it would be far more painful!
How to choose a tennis racket
One of the first things to consider is the head size. A larger head will give you more power, with a bigger sweetspot. However, you will have less control than a smaller head size. Generally higher quality players will play with smaller head sizes.
Although I previously mentioned that tennis rackets shouldn’t be longer than 29”, the standard length is around 27”. If you opt for a racket which is quite long, you’ll have more reach on your shots and a bit more power. However, the swingweight will be greater so it might be more tiring to play with.
Something which is overlooked when you’re choosing a racket is the swingweight, which is how heavy a racket feels when you swing it.
Rackets which feel light when you swing them require less effort but they’re not as comfortable or stable. They are suitable for beginners. More advanced players will choose rackets with heavier swingweights.
Heavier tennis rackets help the player generate more power with a bit more stability. A lighter racket is easier to use, particularly for beginners and some intermediate players.
Once you’ve determined the ideal weight for your tennis racket, you need to consider how it’s distributed throughout the racket. Some rackets will have more of the weight in the head, which offers more control, but less power. When the weight is more towards the handle with a lighter head, it’s easier to swing and generate power.
You should consider the string pattern when choosing a tennis racket. If you chose a closed string pattern where the strings aren’t that far apart, you can play with more control, generate a good amount of spin and the strings will last for longer. On the other hand, with an open string pattern, you can generate more power.
How long does a tennis racket last?
It really depends. The main factors are how often you play and playing style, but as a guideline, you should find that a racket lasts at least 2 years before you need to think about changing it
How long does a squash racket last?
This also depends on how often you play and your playing style, but a squash racket should last a couple of years, similar to a tennis racket.
How to choose a squash racket
Squash rackets can also have their weight distributed differently throughout the frame. If your game is based around quick volleys then a light head would be a good choice. However, a frame with a heavier head will give you more control with faster shots.
Racket Throat Shape
There are 2 choices with squash rackets when it comes to shape; open (or “teardrop”) and closed
Open squash rackets will give you a larger sweetspot and more power.
Closed squash rackets will give you more control, and really suit more advanced players
As I explained earlier, squash rackets can have a huge range between the heavier and lighter rackets. However, most lie in the 90-150 gram range.
A lighter racket will suit a player who likes to attack with a fast swing. A heavier racket will benefit players with slower swings and they also offer a bit more stability.
A frame which is a bit thinner will benefit more advanced players who like to play quick shots. A thicker beam width will offer more control on receiving faster shots.