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Kicking Plastics: Options for Racquet Sports Players Who Care

Organic Racquet String for Tennis, Squash and Badminton

If you are the kind of player who thinks about the impact of plastics on the environment, then you should know what your options are in the category of organic strings. Unlike plastic strings which can take hundreds of years to break down, organic strings are animal byproducts and break down quickly and completely.

Babolat ™ leads the way in natural strings, of course. They started in France (1871) as a string company making strings for musical instruments. Now they are the world’s leading producer of natural gut racquet strings for tennis, squash and badminton.

Once alone in this field, Babolat has recently been joined by Wilson ™ and Luxilon ™, both of whom offer their own versions of natural gut string for tennis racquets.

The vast majority of recreational tennis players can play with fully organic sets. In other words, they can play with natural gut on both the mains and the crosses of their tennis racquets. So they will will want to consider these options:


Organic Tennis String Sets


Advanced intermediate players and extremely hard servers may find they are breaking their strings too often after switching to natural gut. These players may want to switch to hybrid sets in the category below.

Hybrid string sets feature plastic strings on the mains and natural gut on the crosses. This provides durability where durability is needed (on the mains) but opts for organic string on the crosses, which are least likely to break.


50% Organic Tennis String Sets


While nobody makes an actual set of natural gut strings for squash racquets, there is no difference between tennis and squash string other than the gauge. Typically, squash string is 17 gauge while tennis string is 16 gauge.

However, there are lots of tennis players who string their tennis racquets with 17 gauge and many squash players who string their racquets with 16 gauge string. So don’t worry about the label “tennis string”. Squash players should simply look at the gauge. And if they find they are breaking 17 gauge too often, then they should switch to 16 gauge.


Organic Squash String Sets


Squash players who switch to 16 gauge string and find they are still breaking strings too often should come into the store and talk to us. While there are no hybrid sets for squash, we can put together hybrid options off the reel that use half sets of natural gut on the crosses and plastic strings on the mains.

Badminton players who want to kick plastics to the curb don’t need to worry about gauges because Babolat makes several grades of badminton string in a few different gauges.


Organic Badminton String Sets


As with squash players, badminton players may have to experiment with different options in order to find a combination that holds up to steady use. And again, as with squash players, badminton players who are breaking strings too often should talk to our racquet techs in store. We can put together some hybrid options off the reel for anybody that is serious about reducing their use of plastic strings.

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Become a Racquet Network Playtester

Become a Racquet Network Playtester

Racquet Network invites frequent intermediate racquet sports players to become Product Playtesters.

Product Playtesters are brand ambassadors who test racquets, strings, shoes and other products during their regular activities and then write product reviews which are published on our website.

Even though they do not work for us, we consider Product Playtesters to be part of the family and we allow them to purchase everything we sell at staff price.

In many cases, Product Playtesters are allowed to keep what they test. In some cases, they have the option of purchasing tested products at staff price once testing is complete.

In order to become a Product Playtesters, an applicant must be a frequent player at the intermediate level who has been a Racquet Network customer for at least one full year. They must be active in their sport at least nine months per year, must be active on social media channels and must demonstrate enthusiasm for Racquet Network on their social media accounts.

Racquet Network supports a maximum of five product testers in each of the following sports:

  • tennis
  • squash
  • badminton
  • pickleball
  • racquetball

To apply to become a product tester, please send an email to orders@racquetnetwork.com.

Before you do that, however, consider the following points carefully.

  • We only consider applicants who live in Calgary.
  • We only consider customers who have been with us for a year or more.
  • We only consider frequent intermediate players — not beginners, not experts.
  • We only consider people who are active in their sport nine months a year or more.
  • We only consider people who have already shown us love on their social media accounts.

All new Product Playtesters start on a waiting list and remain there for a minimum of three months while they wait for a position to come open. When/if they are accepted as Product Playtesters, they get a maximum term of three years.

Sorry. There are no exceptions. After three years, it is time to step aside and allow somebody else to have this opportunity.

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Squash Eyewear for Over Top of Your Glasses

i-Mask Protective Eyewear System
I-Mask ™ is the only certified over-glasses option for tournament squash players.

Racquet sports, believe it or not, are the No. 1 cause of serious eye injuries world-wide. In squash, it is estimated that one-in-four players will suffer an eye injury at some point if they choose not to protect themselves.

While it is possible to get hit in the eye with the ball during a squash match, the greatest danger, by far, comes from your opponent’s racquet. This is especially true when your opponent is hitting a backhand in the vicinity of the tee.

Protect yourself with certified eye protection. If you don’t normally wear glasses, look for squash or safety goggles with plenty of venting on the sides and out the top of the frame. This will prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the lenses.

If you do wear glasses, consider buying an I-Mask. I have played with one for years. I haven’t won any beauty contests while wearing it, but I haven’t suffered any eye injuries either.

Remember that goggles get scratched and need to be replaced from time to time. So keep that in mind when purchasing a new pair.

Fortunately, the I-Mask system allows players to replace just the lens once the lens become scratched. There is no need to be the entire system all over again.

I-Mask Protective Eyewear

NO FOGGING OR HAZING i-MASK is the player’s first choice because it has eliminated all the disadvantages of competitive products like: fogging, hazing, nose discomfort and restricted peripheral vision.

PROTECTION FOR PLAYERS WHO WEAR GLASSES The visor can be worn over glasses, supporting them & helping to protect the spectacles from impact on lenses or frames.

LETS YOU LOOK LIKE YOURSELF The i-MASK visor does not have a frame around the visor. You look more as though you’re wearing a sweatband than eyewear. And if you’ve just played a great game, isn’t it nice to be able to be recognised?

FULL PERIPHERAL VISION There is virtually no vision restriction. See a testimonial.

LIGHTWEIGHT Because the i-MASK visor weighs so little, you’re likely to forget you’re wearing it.

YOU CAN REPLACE INDIVIDUAL PARTS You can buy replacements for all parts of the i-MASK visor so you don’t have to buy a whole new unit if one part is damaged or lost.

JUNIOR SIZE i-MASK Junior size visor is just 11% smaller than the adult size. It is just perfect for the 7 – 10 year old or the very small adult. The i-MASK Junior visor has all the safety features of the adult size, with more protection for the face than other eyewear, and unrestricted vision

2 YEAR WARRANTY The i-MASK visor is manufactured from optically clear polycarbonate and is virtually unbreakable and has a 2 year warranty on all fixing points.

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Squash Ball Test

Choose the squash ball that is best suited for your skill and fitness level. Your overall enjoyment of the game will go up while the potential for injury goes down.

This brief test is designed to help you figure out which of the four most popular balls is best suited for your equipment and fitness level. Infrequent squash players with older equipment will want to use one of the first two balls. Frequent players with the latest equipment will want to use one of the last two squash balls.

Score one point for each true answer. The ball with the most points is probably best for you and will ensure that you get the highest level of enjoyment from your squash matches. It is possible to score identical results in two categores. In that case, you can either choose one or play
with the ball that best suits your opponent.

Dunlop Max Squash Ball
Dunlop Max Squash Ball
Dunlop ™ MAX Progress Squash Ball:

  • I have played squash fewer than 10 times in my life
  • I frequently suffer from back, neck, leg or elbow pain after playing squash
  • I have reduced mobility due to age, fitness level or previous injury
  • I am more than 30 lbs. over ideal weight for my age, height and gender
  • I have played squash fewer than 10 times per year over the past 5 years
  • I have persistent difficulties with defensive boasts when playing with yellow dot balls (or, I don’t know what a defensive boast is so I am unable to answer this question)
  • I usually wear cross-trainers, running shoes, tennis shoes or basketball shoes when I play squash
  • My squash racquet is more than 10 years old
  • My squash racquet cost less than $100
  • I am under 10 or over 50 years old

Dunlop Yellow Dot Squash Ball
Dunlop Yellow Dot Squash Ball
Dunlop Competition Squash Ball:

  • I have played squash fewer than 50 times in my life
  • I have played squash less than once per month on average over the past 3 years
  • I am more than 10 lbs. over ideal weight for my age, height and gender
  • I have not played squash in the past 12 months
  • I am under 10 or over 40 years old
  • I typically experience discomfort and stiffness the day after doing 20 full lunges on each leg in rapid succession
  • My squash racquet cost less than $100
  • I play squash in order to get some exercise
  • I frequently experience elbow, back, leg or shoulder pain 48 hours after playing squash against an opponent of approximately equal skill

Dunlop Double Dot Squash Ball
Dunlop Double Dot Squash Ball
Dunlop Pro Double Dot Squash Ball:

  • I have played squash more than 20 times in the past year
  • I typically play squash at least once per week during squash season
  • I am less than 10 lbs. over ideal weight for my age, height and gender
  • I workout or train outside of squash (at least occasionally) in order to improve my squash
  • I play on a ladder, in a league or with a team more than twice per month during squash season
  • My squash racquet cost more than $100
  • My racquet is less than 5 years old
  • I typically experience no discomfort or stiffness the day after doing 20 full lunges on each leg in rapid succession
  • I only wear indoor court shoes when I play squash
  • When I play with single yellow dot balls, the ball often hits the back wall before bouncing twice on my forehand drives

Dunlop High Altitude Squash Ball
Dunlop High Altitude Squash Ball
Dunlop Pro High Altitude Squash Ball:

  • I regularly workout or train outside of squash in order to improve my squash
  • Double yellow dot balls regularly hit the back wall before bouncing twice on my backhand straight drive
  • I have played more than 200 squash games in the past year
  • I am over 10 and under 35 years old
  • I typically experience no discomfort or stiffness the day after doing 40 full lunges on each leg in rapid succession
  • I am training for a tournament or working toward becoming a squash professional
  • My squash racquet cost more than $200
  • I have not suffered a rotator cuff injury in the past 12 months
  • I do not usually experience leg, back, or elbow pain 48 hours after playing squash against an opponent of approximately equal skill
  • I am at or below ideal weight for my age, height and gender