Well where do you start?
One place to start is price. If I had a pound for every person who has said ‘this was a bargain, it had an r.r.p (recommended retail price) of £99.99 but it was on sale for £29.99 I would be rich by now! I’m not quite sure who comes up with the r.r.p but to me it seems is pretty much a number plucked from obscurity. Although to be honest it clearly makes the consumer believe they are indeed getting a bargain. One thing I have noticed over the years, is that most rackets, both squash and racketball, being sold for under approximately £30 – £35 are constructed with aluminium. This was a popular material for squash rackets post wooden racket era in the late 70’s early 80’s, but it didn’t last long, and for good reason. Although the appearance and design of the racket may look pretty snazzy, underneath the artwork you are getting a racket that will be very head heavy, will vibrate considerably and most likely begin to bend out of shape after a month or two.
£40 plus should see you reaching an area of the racket market using mostly graphite in its construction. This will begin to cure the above issues found with aluminium rackets. The £40-£90 price range is a trusted area to shop for club players of box league level, a perfectly adequate racket can be found within this range. Advanced juniors, county league team players and above tend to prefer emulating their squash idols and delve into the high performance rackets. These are more recently manufactured rackets designed with the most advanced and up to date technology using fancy words such as Basaltex, carbon, nano, titanium etc allowing rackets to be light weight, powerful and to have great feel.
Obviously anyone can buy high performance rackets, but you should be prepared to pay anything from £90 – £150, which can be bit of a pinch when you smash it against the side wall and crack it on only its second outing! Unfortunately price doesn’t indicate strength, in fact quite the opposite. For high performance rackets to perform as they do, often strength is sacrificed. However, the majority of players at this level should have more playing experience and in theory a better judgement of the walls and how to return tight shots.
Just remember, no racket at either end of the market is guarded from smashing against the wall or floor in frustration! I did it once (only once honest!) when I was about 17/18 years old after losing in the 2nd round of the nationals. I was 3/4 seed so losing in the second round was not ideal and it ultimately cost me my England selection for the European junior team championships. After smashing my racket (3 or 4 times just to make sure!) against the outside wall of Grantham squash club’s car park I immediately regretted it………………it was my favourite racket!!