I decided I wanted to give a racquet with a smaller head a go again as I believe it compliments my game. My game is not a power game it is more about moving my opponent around the court. I like to volley, I like to take the ball short and I really like to lob. When I am playing well and having success it is generally because I am moving well and because my control of where the ball is going is on. I try to make the court big for my opponent by hitting in to the corners and by hitting in to open spaces. The Head Graphene XT Xenon 135 Slimbody AFP Squash Racquet is really designed for control. While Omar Mosaad, "The Hammer of Thor" can certainly crush the ball with this racquet (he used its predecessor last season) it is designed around control and not power.
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.
We started carrying doubles squash gear a couple of years ago but have been busy increasing our selection this year. Being located now at Northfield Racquet and Fitness in Waterloo which has a beautiful new doubles court having a good selection of doubles squash gear is important for us. Doubles is an incredibly fun game that the members of the club have come to love and it is an incredible game to watch at the professional level.
From a racquet perspective you might wonder what characteristics make a racquet a good choice for a doubles player. There are a few things to consider and most come back to the type of ball that is used in doubles. The hardball that used in doubles travels at an incredibly fast speed, much faster than the standard ball that is used for single. As it is hard and travelling at an incredibly fast pace the impact on the racquet from the ball is much greater and the racquet needs to be capable of withstanding that. As such one of the primary characteristics of a doubles racquet is that it is stronger and more durable so that the frame of the racquet withstands the stress caused by the impact of the ball. The strings also have to withstand the impact of the ball though. Stringing pattern and the gauge of the string are important when selecting a doubles racquet. Stability on contact with the ball is also important. Off centre hits can lead to the frame itself twisting if the racquet is not strong enough. This can lead to breakage but it is also a performance issue as it definitely impacts the control the racquet can provide.
As a creature of habit and player who has become accustomed to certain types of racquets, I was naturally somewhat reluctant to give the Head Graphene Cyano 135 a whirl on the courts. A recent elbow injury added to my initial reluctance but quickly gave way to the solid first impression I was left with soon after the match began.
To begin, as a player who relies on the racquet to generate the power needed to hit the ball to the deep court, I tend to gravitate toward racquets that either carry more mass through the frame or are balanced head heavy. After my first few hits with the racquet I quickly realized that generating power with the Cyano 135 would be no trouble at all despite the fact that it carries with it a head light balance. While the mass of the frame (135g) sits in the typical range of the average racquets on the market today, the mass and open throat style renders this racquet a powerful piece of equipment. This combination of mass and throat style left me with the comfort knowing that I could hit the ball past my opponent using a racquet which turned out to be quite maneuverable.