You might have noticed many squash pros or opponents touching the wall during an intense game of squash. But why do squash players touch the wall?
Squash players have a habit of touching the wall. For many players, touching the squash court walls may be more of a habit than anything else. Though there is no one-size-fits-all response to this topic, some research has been conducted to understand why some players have the habit of touching the wall after, before, or during the game.
Some squash players like to touch the wall for grounding. This could be fueled by proximity or the establishment of an unseen barrier between them and the world. Therefore, players believe that by placing their palms on the court walls, they will be able to focus more intensely on the job at hand.
Moreover, most squash players will touch the walls to get rid of sweat during the game. Other players use the walls to maintain or regain their concentration during the game. The wall is used as a physical mark in several training drills.
After conducting research and speaking with various experts, we have put together this guide to help you learn more about why squash players touch the wall.
Why Do Squash Players Touch the Wall?
Getting in the Zone
Many squash players believe that touching the wall puts them in the zone of the court, and helps them stay present and in the moment. It also helps remove any potential outside distractions in order to get a sense of where they are.
We all have our own routines and peculiarities, and this is especially true when it comes to sports. As a result, you might notice that certain players touch specific portions of the wall at the beginning of their match, almost routinely, and then do so every time they begin a new match.
Practicing for the Big Game
Many squash pros touch the wall while practicing for the big game. As a result, they get in the habit of it. When training or attempting solo squash, many squash members, whether seasoned pros or new to the game, prefer to choose a specific place on the court and constantly touch the wall on their side.
Visualizing the Target
There is another reason why squash players frequently touch the wall – and this may be the most common one. Players often pick a spot and visualize it as their target for the next strike. The habit apparently helps them aim better and focus on the target spot. It also helps them use the spot as a tactic to defeat the opponent.
You'd know if you've ever played a couple of games of squash. We know that it sounds disgusting but a few squash players often touch the wall to wipe off sweat from their hands. You might notice a lot of players rubbing their sweaty palms against the wall in the middle of squash! Aside from the clear incorrect or correct etiquette for any ball court, discussion revolves on such practices, including the implementation of this strategy.
According to some squash players, sweat dripping down your cheeks and eyes during a game might take your attention away from the job at hand, which is to win the next point. Plus, if the court is wet and slippery, it could cause a serious injury.
So it may sound disgusting, but anyone who has ever played a competitive game of squash knows how much sweat is involved. You risk losing grip on your racket and maybe dropping it if your hands are overly sweaty. As a result, the palms sweat fast, which might make it difficult to have a firm grip on the racquet.
Ways to Prevent Sweat During Squash
While most players will go back to utilizing the towel they carried onto the court, having a towel to clean away sweat is impossible for many due to lack of room. Therefore, some players resort to rubbing their hands against the court walls!
Although a towel appears to be the most obvious solution, grabbing your towel in between points to remove extra perspiration is an impractical solution. However, if the situation permits, you may attempt to grab your towel. Since there are no predetermined time gaps between points, this may be more difficult in practice.
Many players find the act of wiping sweaty palms along a court wall to be undesirable. As a result, the more you can defy the impulse to do so, the better. If you notice that your palms are sweating and making it difficult to grip your racket, consider the following options to using the wall:
Sweatbands are an excellent alternative and are specifically intended to keep sweat away from your hands. This works for a lot of people, which is why you'll probably see a lot of squash players wearing them - and it's not just for looks!
Sweatbands for the head and wrist are designed to absorb sweat during sports and are quite popular in a variety of sports, including squash. Many squash players keep a stash of extra sweatbands in their bags so they may swap them out when the hands become wet with sweat.
Using a grip tape for the handle on the racket is also an option. As your hands begin to sweat, this increases your grip on the racket, enabling you to hold it a little longer. When used in conjunction with wristbands, they can completely erase the feeling of sweaty hands.
Use a replacement grip or an overgrip with additional absorbent properties as needed. Replacement grips are attached directly to the racket's handle. For added comfort, replacement grips have multiple layers with cushioning. Perforations are included in certain replacement grips to enable greater perspiration drainage and absorption.
Overgrips, on the other hand, are thinner grip that goes over the normal grip to provide a better grasp and control of the racket. Overgrips, like replacement grips, are designed to absorb moisture and keep your racket from slipping out of your hand while you're playing.
Shield Gel or a Dry Hands Grip Solution
These aren't for every player, but they do provide a protective shield to keep your fingers and hands from slipping while using the racket. They also claim to start working right away, so you won't have to wait for them to dry.
Chalk and Absorption Lotion
Chalk is extensively used in a variety of sports to improve grip, which could be beneficial for moist palms. Absorption lotion is another option for improving your grip. Rub your hands together to create a white non-sticky layer that looks like chalk to absorb maximum moisture.
Another piece of advice is to wipe your palms using shoe soles, which is similar to the actions used by basketball players. If you can avoid wiping your sweaty hands on the court walls during play, please do so by all means. It's only a basic courtesy for other members and court users, and it helps to keep squash courts clean and safe for everyone.
Using a mark that you must physically touch has the advantage of preventing you from taking any shortcuts. As you become more tired, you may feel compelled to make some compromises in order to conserve energy and keep going. The true benefit of physically touching the wall over a mental mark is the prevention of cutting corners.
About THE AUTHOR
Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.Read More About Michael Stevens