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Playing equipment

'Standard' rackets are governed by the rules of the game. Traditionally they were made of laminated timber (typically Ash), with a small strung area using natural 'gut' strings. After a rule change in the mid-1980s, they are now almost always made of composite materials or metals (graphite, kevlar, titanium, and/or boron) with synthetic strings. Modern rackets are 70 cm (27 inches) long, with a maximum strung area of 500 square centimetres (approximately 80 square inches) and a weight between 110 and 200 grams (4-7 ounces).

Squash balls are made with two pieces of rubber compound, glued together to form a hollow sphere and buffed to a matte finish. Different balls are provided for varying temperature and atmospheric conditions and standards of play: more experienced players use 'slow' balls that are smaller and have less bounce than those used by less experienced players (these 'slower' balls tend to 'die' in the corners of the court, rather than 'standing up' to allow easier shots). Depending on its specific rubber composition, a squash ball may have the property that it bounces more at higher temperatures. Players tend to warm up balls by bouncing them on the ground prior to play. As a rally progresses, play is complicated as the ball usually becomes hotter and speeds up.

Small coloured dots on the ball indicate the level of bounciness and hence, the standard of play it is suited for. The recognised colours and 'speeds' (indicating the degree of bounciness) are:

* Double Yellow - Extra Super slow (very low bounce)
* Yellow - Super slow (low bounce)
* Green or White - slow (average bounce)
* Red - Medium (high bounce)
* Blue - Fast (very high bounce)

Balls are manufactured to these standards by Dunlop, Prince, Pointfore, Wilson and others. The 'double-yellow dot ball', introduced in 2000, is currently the competition standard, replacing the earlier 'yellow-dot' which was long considered the competition standard. There is also a high-altitude "orange dot" ball, used in places like Mexico City, Denver and Johannesburg. In North America the Dunlop "green dot" ball is often used at high altitude.

Other balls available are:

* Dunlop 'Max Blue' (aimed at beginners) which is 12 percent larger and has 40 percent longer 'hang time' than a 'double yellow' dot ball and has 'instant bounce'

* Dunlop 'Max Progress' (red) (for players wishing to improve their technique) which is 6 percent larger with a 20 percent longer hang-time than a 'double yellow' dot ball and has instant bounce

Because of the vigorous nature of the game, players need to wear comfortable sports clothing and robust indoor (non-marking) sports shoes. In competition, men usually wear shorts and t-shirt or polo shirt. Women normally wear a skirt and t-shirt or tank top, or a sports dress. Towelling wrist and head bands may also be required in humid climates. Eye protection with polycarbonate lenses is also recommended, as players may be struck by a fast-swinging racket or the ball, which can typically reach speeds of well in excess of 200 km/h (125 mph). In the 2004 Canary Wharf Squash Classic, John White was recorded driving balls at speeds over 270 km/h (170 mph). Many squash venues mandate the use of eye protection and some associaton rules require that all juniors and doubles players must wear eye protection.