Tag Archives: squash racquet

Review of the Dunlop Force Evolution 130 Squash Racquet

Recently I took out the Dunlop Evolution 130 for a hit and I found it to be a very interesting racquet. It features a tear drop design with a small bridge, a dense string pattern (14×18), 130 frame weight, and an even head balance. I played a couple matches with this racquet as I tried to figure out how it played best. A racquet that doesn’t fail to deliver in either control or power and with an even balance, the EVO 130 is great for players who tend to be more patient on court. It also a great feel on contact when hitting the ball as it provides great stability due to its string pattern.

At first, I tried an aggressive approach: volleying on the midcourt, using my wrist more, increasing the pace, and hitting hard and low shots. I found out that this was more challenging to do with this racquet. This is due to its weight of 130 grams and even balance which in reality, in my personal opinion, felt slightly head heavy. Volleying on the midcourt was not an easy task since I was not able to maneuver the racquet very easily and using my wrist put extra stress on my arm. Also, increasing the pace was harder once again due to maneuverability (it was harder to get the racquet ready on time). However, my main focus in squash is speed and accuracy rather than arm strength and power (I get the power from the racquet I normally use) so it is fair to say that this is why the EVO 130 didn’t suit my aggressive play. Having said this, if you are an aggressive player with good arm strength, you won’t find it a problem to maneuver this racquet easily.

Dunlop Force Evolution 130

Dunlop Force Evolution 130

Since aggressive play didn’t work for me using the EVO 130, I tried a more patient approach to the match. I started making more fluid swings and keeping the ball at the back of the court. This worked perfectly since the balance and weight of the racquet allowed me to go through the ball easily without much effort but providing me enough power to get the ball to the back of the court. This was also a more pleasant experience in terms of comfort as I felt great when hitting the ball; the racquet is very forgiving mainly due to its stability but also to its dense string pattern. It also provided me with great feel and control when dropping the ball whether it was from the midcourt or the front court. Another nice thing about this racquet is its head design, which is reminiscent of the Black Knight Quicksilver nXs (tear drop with small bridge), since it helps with power generation. Although I have made it sound like this is a racquet not suitable for aggressive play, this racquet didn’t fail to deliver when I wanted to put the ball away; whether it was a loose shot from my opponent giving me time to hit a hard and low shot or a nice and easy drop shot, the EVO 130 gave me all I needed. The reason for this is the racquet’s stability and string pattern which helped me control the ball much easier than with my usual racquet.

In conclusion, this racquet can be amazing in the right hands. Even though it is hard to use aggressively, it is not an impossible task to do. But, if you plan on using it for long and fluid rallies where you want to create opportunities to put the ball away, this racquet will fit you very well. With an interesting design which allows it to have a bigger sweet spot and better stability, this racquet will feel amazing when hitting any type of shot!

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Review of the Head Xenon TB 120 Squash Racquet

Recently I took the Head Graphene XT Xenon 120 Slimbody for a hit and I have to say I’m happy with the results. This racquet weighs 120g, has an even head balance, has a smaller head size, and features a very thin beam. Overall a very nice racquet to play with as it is very maneuverable and provides great control due to its bridged design and small head. However, you need to hit all your shots on the sweet spot in order to avoid movement and vibration through the racquet.

Head Graphene XT Xenon Slimbody 120 Squash Racquet

The first thing I noticed is how easy it is to generate head speed with this racquet. I was able to make quick swings easily which allowed me to maintain power which is a nice thing since I had to generate most of it myself without the aid of the racquet (due to its light weight and head balance). I was able to attack more on the mid court and, because of its bridged design, I could take full advantage of my attack with better accuracy. Furthermore, even if I couldn’t attack right on the midcourt, I was still able to retrieve shots before they reached the back court since the racquet’s light weight and thin beam allowed me to be more flexible with my wrist; this was also a great thing when I needed to ‘dig’ shots off the back wall. The racquet’s thin beam is a feature I found interesting as it aids racquet speed; but, before using it, I thought this would impact control negatively which ended up not being the case.

The control this racquet provides is good. Not only could I hit better and more accurate drop shots, but I was also able to control the ball better on harder shots. I like to think that this is due to the racquet’s amazing sweet spot. Whenever I would hit the ball on the sweet spot it felt like I wasn’t even hitting it since all vibrations were completely damped; this is where I found I would hit my best shots as the racquet would let me whit my shots wherever I wanted to hit them with amazing accuracy. However, if I hit the ball off the sweet spot the racquet was not too stable which is a minor setback but not really a big problem at all. Having said this, I would recommend using this racquet if you are the type of player who tends to hit the ball on the middle of the racquet more often than not. I also found that even though it is a very light racquet with an even head balance, it was not hard to take the racquet through the ball unlike other similar racquets where the player needs to make a greater effort to achieve this. The only time I found I had to do this was when hitting drop shots but this is expected from such a light and thin racquet.

Overall a great racquet with great control, maneuverability, and head speed. This was the first time I tried out Head’s Xenon series and I am very happy with the results I got with the Head Graphene XT Xenon 120 Slimbody. Being able to attack shots on the mid court with increased accuracy was a nice advantage as well as being able to use my wrist more on harder to retrieve shots. My favourite thing about this racquet is its sweet spot since the feeling I would get when I hit the ball there was amazing: barely feeling anything and knowing my shot was going to go wherever I wanted it to go. I highly recommend this racquet for an overall type of player who likes to be aggressive but needs reliability on accuracy. Also, I would very much recommend this racquet to any advanced player who will be able to most of their shots right in the middle of the racquet. Give it a try, find its sweet spot, and enjoy playing great squash!

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Review of the Prince Pro Shark 650

I have never played with a Prince racquet before and I am very happy I got to try out the Prince Pro Shark 650. This racquet is very light yet very powerful with an amazing amount of grip. I play with a slightly heavier racquet with very similar balance to the Pro Shark (should be able to generate more power with mine) and I found out that I could generate the same amount of power with the Prince racquet. Featuring a more open string pattern, 14 x 15, I was also able to get tons of cut on the ball. This racquet not only looks great, it plays amazingly.

Prince Pro Shark 650 Squash Racquet

Prince Pro Shark 650

Weighting 129 grams when unstrung and with a balance of 35.3mm this racquet has a great combination between light weight and power. This is a great advantage as there is increased maneuverability without a significant loss of power. The racquet’s maneuverability comes from its light weight which helps with aggressive play when volleying on the middle of the court. The power is generated by both the head balance and the string pattern; the head heavy balance keeps the head stable and lets the racquet go through the ball more easily while the open string pattern provides a higher trampoline effect.  Also, due to its weight, it was easier to prepare the racquet thus giving me more time to hit my shot as well as letting me use a shorter swing without compromising power. In addition to this, I noticed that hitting the ball on the racquet’s sweet spot felt amazing and created a larger amount of power; however, racquet stability is decreased on off-centre shots but this shouldn’t be a big problem. These are not the only great features of this racquet since its more open string pattern provides something really important: cut.

When trying to hit hard and low shots or drop shots, it is essential to create a good amount of cut or ‘bite’ on the ball. For the Pro Shark 650 this is no problem at all. Its open string pattern lets the strings ‘grab’ the ball more and thus creates more grip between the ball and the strings. I was able to hit better low shots since the strings gave me the extra cut needed to reduce the distance between the ball and the tin; I found these shots to be the most effective ones when using this racquet. Furthermore, my drop shots improved as well as I was able to put more backspin on my shots which led the ball to a shorter bounce making things more difficult for my opponent. Not only did the increased cut help me in the front court, it also helped in the back court. The cut on the ball also reduced the ball’s bounce when coming off the back wall making it harder to retrieve the shot.

The Prince Pro Shark 650 caught me by surprise. At a first glance I didn’t expect much from a light racquet with such an open string pattern. But, once I took out for a hit, I remembered not to judge a book by its cover. I was impressed by how fast I could swing the racquet and how much power I could generate on short swings. I am usually not an aggressive player but with this racquet I felt I had to be since all its features are great tools for aggressive play. Being able to hit quick volleys, powerful shots just above the tin, and very short drop shots gave me a great advantage over my opponent. I would recommend this racquet to the more aggressive type of player who likes to combine great power with fast and short swings. I know it could be an odd looking racquet but give it a try and you will not regret it!

To learn more, or purchase the Prince Pro Shark Powerbite Squash Racquet click on the “View in store” button below.

Prince Pro Shark Powerbite 650 Squash Racquet

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Review of the new Black Knight Quicksilver MAX and Quicksilver LT

Recently we received the new Black Knight Quicksilver LT and Black Knight Quicksilver MAX. These are Black Knight’s new racquets from the Quicksilver series and, even though they are very different from each other, they are both amazing for different reasons. I took them out for a hit earlier this week and was impressed with what these racquets can do. Also, I got Cameron Seth, the University of Waterloo Squash varsity team’s captain, 2014 OUA champion and MVP, and 2014-2015 Men’s All-Stars, to try them out as well and give me his thoughts since he has been using the previous Quicksilver nXs model for a couple years now. I will give my opinion about each racquet in different categories with some of Cameron’s comments as well.

Power and Sweet Spot

Both racquets where able to generate a good amount of power but in different ways. As for the Quicksilver MAX its power is generated from its weight; weighting 135 grams (5 grams heavier than the Quicksilver nXs) with an even balance, this racquet can generate good enough power. Also, it was easier to get the ball to the back of the court with a slower swing which is a great advantage since it takes some effort off the player when swinging.

Hitting with the Quicksilver LT I noticed a big difference on how I was able to generate power with it since it is only 125 grams (5 grams lighter than the Quicksilver nXs) with a slight head light balance. Featuring the first teardrop design of the Quicksilver series: this is where all its power comes from. At first, just by holding the racquet, I thought I would not be able to generate as much power with it but once I took it on court I was proven wrong. This racquet snaps the ball incredibly fast which allowed me to be more aggressive. Also, my low and hard shots would fly by my opponent giving them a really hard time returning the ball.

Each racquet had its own sweet spot in different places. The MAX felt like the whole head was its sweet spot since every single shot felt so smooth on my hands and I felt little to no vibration through the racquet at all. I absolutely loved hitting the ball with this one. For the LT, Cameron took it for a hit first and told me its sweet spot was harder to find as it is higher up on the racquet. This is due to its long vertical strings that come from the teardrop design. But, once I hit with it and was able to hit the ball on the sweet spot, my shots would fly towards the front wall as the trampoline effect due to the longer strings was maximized.

Control and Stability

As expected, both racquets are very different when it comes to control and stability. This is because of both the weight and design of the racquet. A heavier, bridged racquet with a thicker beam such as the Quicksilver MAX will generally provide better control than the lighter, thinner teardrop Quicksilver LT.

Black Knight Quicksilver MAX Squash Racquet

Black Knight’s Quicksilver MAX

With the MAX, I could feel the racquet going through the ball very solidly thus creating more spin and control on the ball. Also, the bridged design decreases the trampoline effect thus providing less variability in the direction of the ball as it comes off the face of the racquet. As for stability, I will rely on Cameron’s opinion since he uses the previous Quicksilver nXs. The first thing he noticed was how much more stable the MAX was than the nXs; this is due to the MAX being thicker and heavier. He found this feature to be a great improvement from Black Knight as the racquet was much more forgiving while dampening vibrations better.

With the LT it was harder to control the ball which is natural since the trampoline effect is greatly increased by the racquet’s teardrop design. But don’t get me wrong, this racquet was still able to provide good control whenever I needed to hit precision shots. As for stability, being a light racquet with a slightly head light balance, this racquet is a bit less stable; but, an accurate player will find this not to be a problem and will enjoy the racquet’s full potential.

Maneuverability

A racquet’s maneuverability can be greatly exploited by a player if the right type of racquet is chosen; this is a very personal choice and each one of these racquets provide their own type of handling that will benefit different types of players.

The Quicksilver MAX being heavier is harder to maneuver on shorter, quicker swings. With a more solid and fluid swing racquet control is remarkably good though. Having said this, a player with a more controlled and fluid swing will find this racquet very helpful. However, a player with a shorter swing looking for a more stable racquet can also benefit from this racquet if they are able to swing a bit of a heavier racquet fast enough. For example, Cameron has a short swing but since he has enough strength to swing the racquet fast, he ended up wanting this racquet over his Quicksilver nXs.

Black Knight Quicksilver LT Squash Racquet

Black Knight’s Quicksilver LT

With the Quicksilver LT maneuverability is absolutely amazing; this is not surprising due to the fact that it has a head light balance while weighting only 125 grams. Using this racquet I was able to use very short swings to attack my opponent at the front of the court. I was also able to implement deception much better since I could hold my shot for a longer time. Furthermore, my racquet preparation was much faster which allowed me to intercept shots in the form of volleys at the middle of the court. This is greatly favorable for an aggressive player who likes to put constant pressure on their opponent. Also, someone with a shorter, quick swing with profit from this racquet as well.

Conclusion

These racquets are amazing. Whether looking for more control and stability or more power and maneuverability, these are two great racquets to keep in mind. I think these racquets will benefit many players with different play styles at different levels. If you can generate great power but are looking for more control, go for the Quicksilver MAX. If you are very accurate but want to generate more power on short swings, take the Quicksilver LT. For the Quicksilver LT I have to say that I absolutely enjoyed a great deal using all of its power and handling. As for the Quicksilver MAX, I will put it in Cameron’s words: I love this beauty.

To learn more about the Quicksilver MAX click here. To learn more about the Quicksilver LT click here. If you are in our area feel free to come to our Pro Shop and try out these new additions to the Quicksilver series and tell us how you like them!

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The Benefits of a Head Light Squash Racquet

I have been playing with Black Knight Ion Element PSX Squash Racquet this season and must say I love it. It is not the normal type of racquet I have played with for the past few years though. I had been playing with tear drop racquets with a more even or head heavy balance. I like the more natural power they create. I originally tried the Element PSX to get my opinion on it and write a review of it. I liked the feel on contact of it. I really like the thin beam and have come to like the smaller head and sweet spot of the racquet. What I have really come to like is the relatively light weight of it and its head light balance. It is very quick to play with. I find that has really benefited my game. It has helped me to volley more, it has helped me be more deception with my shot selection and I am still able to generate good power. Continue reading

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What makes for a Powerful Squash Racquet?

For any of you who have already gone through the process of choosing a racquet, you’ll know that it can be a time consuming process requiring a great deal of thought before coming to a final decision.  Certain racquet specifications often will enhance one area of a player’s game at the cost of compromising other areas. Striking the ideal balance between for example power and control can be a tricky task especially when faced with a truckload of racquet specs to keep track of. With this in mind, we at Control The T have decided to put a small article together to help guide racquet selection for a player looking to maximize the amount of power they can attain from their racquet. Continue reading

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Harrow Spark Review

I recently switched to the Harrow Spark after several years using the Black Knight Magnum Corona. The primary difference between these racquets is the lightness of the Spark. The Corona is, in my opinion, a fairly standard racquet in terms of weight and balance. The head is almost completely circular while the Spark is more oblong.

There is, of course, a trade-off with a lighter racquet. The Spark is a very “maneuverable” racquet, meaning you can hit the ball with a compromised or improvised swing and don’t necessarily need a full backswing to make good contact. However, to generate power you need ample racquet head speed. It took me a few weeks to adjust to this difference; the Corona was heavier and thus more powerful. Overall I prefer the freedom afforded by the Spark. It is much easier to dig the ball out of the back corners, and to hit the ball when it’s behind you (or otherwise non-ideal positions). Having to generate racquet head speed is also a good thing for shot consistency and accuracy. I would recommend it for players who feel their current racquet is sluggish or difficult to control.

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Squash Racquet Review – Black Knight Magnum Corona6 Squash Racquet

 
Black Knight Magnum Corona6 Squash RacquetThe Black Knight Magnum Corona6 Squash has just been released and it is an excellent edition to Black Knight’s lineup of squash racquets.   Anyone that has played with the original Magnum Corona will feel right at home with this racquet.  The head size, weight, and balance are the same.  The big difference is in the addition of the Thermal Core Technology.

Thermal Core Technology is a new process that heats the racquet core to higher temperature during the curing phase, so that the racquet structure is cured uniformly inside and out. This TCT modification to the carbon fibres makes the frame extremely responsive – stiff yet playing with the reactive properties of a more flexible frame. The resulting hit is the best of both worlds – the control of a very stiff frame with the power of a more flexible frame.

The addition of the Thermal Core Technology does change the feel of the Corona6 from that of the original Corona.  So while the weight, head size and balance are all the same the actual contact feels different.  The Corona6 is a stiff racquet yet because of the Thermal Core Technology does not feel like a board like some overly stiff racquets do.

The head is relatively small at 475cm2.  The smaller head size definitely helps with control. Like the older Corona it is head light.  It is a 140g racquet but Black Knight lists it dynamic weight at 135g meaning it plays lighter than it is.  This makes it great for volleying and quick exchanges at the ‘T’.  While it is head light it is only by a bit which I think is generally good for most players.  Mass in the head is important for most players as it helps you feel the racquet in your hand when playing drops and other touch shots.

Overall the Black Knight Magnum Corona6 is an improvement over the already good design of the original Magnum Corona.  Anyone that is replacing the original Corona should check this racquet out as should anyone that is looking for a good control racquet.

We have it in stock and ready to ship should like pick one up.  You can find it here at our online store.

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Squash Racquet Review – Tecnifibre Carboflex 140

Tecnifibre Carboflex 140 Basaltex Squash RacquetTecnifibre Carboflex 140

The specifications:
Technology: Graphite + Basaltex
Bare Frame Weight: 140g +/- 5 g
Balance: 355mm +/- 5 g
Frame Size: 500cm2
Beam Width: 25mm
String Pattern: 14 x 18
String: X-One Biphase 1.18 for ultimate string response.
Grip: Matching Tec Dry Squash Grip for ultimate control

This is the racquet of Thierry Lincou. The current model has two main new features that its predecessors did not. It features Isopmorph shaft technology and Basaltex trasmitters. Both features really help provide great control and reduce vibration.

This racquet is listed under the control series when looking at Tecnifibre’s website which makes sense based off of my experience with it. It has reasonable power due to its long main strings and 140gram weight but where it really shines is in its control. Coming with such great strings as it does, the X-ONE Biphase18 guage string definitely helps in this department.

Swinging this racquet just feels right and definitely gives you a sense of confidence in the racquet. The same can be said of when you hit the ball with it. It inspires confidence. It is also very reasonably priced for a top end racquet. It is definitely worth checking out.

We have it available here and on sale.

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