What Squash Racquet to Buy? Should I get an open or closed throat?

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So what is better for squash an open throat teardrop racquet or a closed throat racquet with a bridge? The answer is it depends on the player! To better understand that answer we need to know what the pro’s and con’s of each type are.

Head Graphene Cyano 115 Squash Racquet

Open Throat or Teardrop Racquet

The racquet to the left, the Head Graphene Cyano 115 has an open throat or a teardrop style of head. The primary benefits of an open throat are a larger sweet spot and more power. The larger sweet spot is provided because of the larger distance between where the string contacts the frame. This is also why a teardrop head will generally provide more power.

The elasticity of the string, its give on contact with the ball and its snapping back in to place is how the string imparts force on the ball.  The more the string can give and then snap back the more velocity the ball will have coming off of the strings. The longer the strings the more they can give and thus the more power can be achieved.

The main drawback with an open throat is there is less control over the ball. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that when the strings flex and then snap back they do not do so perfectly the same every time. The more they give the more variance there will be and thus less control. A tear drop head will also generally not have as stable of frame. The lack of a bridge will allow the frame to twist a bit more on off centre hits. This is not a huge issue in normal singles squash as the ball itself doesn’t have a lot of mass but in North American doubles it does have more impact.  The doubles ball is harder and heavier and off centre hits require the racquet to have more torsional strength to keep them from twisting.

Dunlop Biomimetic Pro GTS 130 Squash Racquet

 Closed Throat or Bridged Racquet

The racquet to the right, the Dunlop Biomimetic Pro-GTS 130 Squash Racquet has a closed throat or a bridge. The shorter length of the string to where it contacts the frame of the racquet helps provide better control.

The reason for this is of course the string has less give. As it gives less when it springs back it does so with less force. This also often called the trampoline effect.  The shorter give in the string is also why a closed throat racquet provides more control.  The string has less give and therefore less variance when it snaps back.

To summarize if you are looking for a racquet that will help produce more power it would make sense to look at a racquet with an open throat. If you have no problem with producing enough power on your own and are looking for better control a closed throat would be a good choice. As with all things though there is an element of personal preference though. As you play more and more you will know best what suits your own game and what feels right in  your hand.

If you are looking for more information about how to choose a squash racquet check out our guide to buying  a squash racquet by completing the form below.

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3 thoughts on “What Squash Racquet to Buy? Should I get an open or closed throat?

  1. An interesting article, much of which I agree with. One issue that I would raise is that I believe that you have the “open” and “closed” throats labelled the wrong way round. E.g. The Dunlop Pro GTs has an Open throat. The shaft splits in two at the yoke and there is a bridge. The triangle formed by the bridge and the split yoke, is open, ie you could put your finger through the hole – because it is open, therefore an open throated racket. Conversely the head cyano (teardrop) has no hole therefore the throat is closed, and much smaller. The stringers digest produced by the United States Racquet Stringers Association and also mirrored in the European Racquet Stringers Association version, has a diagram entitled anatomy of a racquet, where every part of the racquet is named and it specifically describes this part of the racquet as being “open throat”. I’ve been stringing rackets since the early 80s, most squash rackets were the same in those days, straight shaft leading to a small head, usually made of wood. They were nearly all closed throat then, although the term itself wasn’t in use because there was no alternative. Until the first “open Throat” rackets arrived, an example of which was the dunlop black max. It still had a small head, was made of wood but the shaft split in two at the yoke and there was the open triangle formed by the bridge and two sides of the split shaft (yoke). I’m sure some if not all of your stringers would have a qualification from the USRSA and therefore access to a copy of the Digest, to look at the diagram etc, if not, send me a message and I’ll be happy to email you a copy.

    • Nick,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment on this post. It is great that someone with so much experience has added their input to this topic! I will have to confess I do not have as many years in the game as you do. Interestingly I have always read that a closed throat was a bridged racquet and open throat a tear drop style head. I did some quick “Googling” and found a few resources that list them the same way I have. A couple of quick examples:

      http://www.ask.com/question/which-squash-racket-shall-i-buy
      http://store.dunlopsport.com/dunlop-biomimetic-ultimate-squash-racket-733078

      The Dunlop reference is interesting as it is from the manufacturer and they refer to the Ultimate which has a bridge as being a closed throat in the description. There were other examples from some competitor websites in their buyers guides, including PDHSports in the UK that discussed teardrop as being an open throat and a bridged racquet as being closed.

      I do see your point though and found this form a tennis site that references the triangle space as being an open throat exactly as you do.

      http://www.tennis101.com/anatomyofthetennisracquet.htm

      I also found a squash store in South Africa that showed an open and closed throat the same as you do.

      http://squash-shop.co.za/racquet-selector-tool.html

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment on this it is really appreciated.

      All the best,

      Jeff

  2. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for your reply. I’ve seen similar examples as well on both sides of the fence. I wouldn’t put too much faith into the manufacturer’s website, it’s very new and the same company’s brochures often show some of their top stars playing with the wrong hand in their pictures! Paul from PDH is a knowledgeable guy. He posts some very useful videos on the web, testing and reviewing rackets. His business is well regarded and he’s certainly one of the good guys in my view. But something like these definitions, may just have been passed on down to him incorrectly. It’s only people like me that pick up on these things, he’s probably never discussed it with any body. I am certain because I was in the game back in the 70s and early 80’s when the new “open throat” rackets started to appear, these were wooden and then graphite started to appear. Very well known examples were the injection moulded dunlop max 500gs series. I don’t know if you remember, but the next stage was the introduction of the prince extenders(and others), these were the first “teardrop”rackets, where simply the bridge was taken away and the centre main strings were longer (closed throat). Thereafter the development was rapid and all sorts of shapes were created leading to the much larger headed rackets around today. As a description the term teardrop can actually refer to either a closed or open throat racket, A racket with the open triangle type throat that I would call open throat, way have a long head with only a small open triangle and the racket head shape may still resemble a teardrop. A good example is the dunlop biomimetic evolution 130 as used by Nick Matthew, this has a teardrop shape but still has the open triangle at the throat. Personally I’ll be sticking to my theory, based on my own first hand knowledge, but also corroborated by the digest of both the US and EUROPEAN Racket Stringers Association, which is widely regarded as the ‘bible’, which I had to study extensively to become a Master Racquet Technician. I am a ridiculous enthusiast and have a large collection of many of these older racquets covering this period of their development and evolution. One day, when I get around to it, I will photograph them and put them on the web. I’ll send you an email with the section of the digest to which I am referring.

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