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What’s in Your Bag?

Manta 3 Compartment Squash BagLast night, my squash team (Extreme Slammers) played our last match of the regular season. We beat the other team 5-0 and, as a result, are now moving on to the playoffs. This means that I will be playing the two most important matches of my season next week.

My tradition at this time of year, is to go through my squash bag in order to A) make sure that I have everything I need for the playoffs and B) to get rid of the extra weight that I no longer need.

So since I have to do this project tonight anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of what is in my bag insofar as it might be helpful to new players who are trying to decide A) what they should have in their squash bags and B) what size bag they will need to purchase to get through their squash season.

Without a word of exaggeration, this is what I find in my bag as I empty the contents on the floor.

Racquet Compartment
– 3 squash racquets
– 1 i-Mask squash visor

Central Compartment
– 1 pair squash shoes
– 1 pair running shoes (explained below)
– 1 three ring binder (my training log)
– 1 shower kit (containing body wash, hair gel, brush and hand sanitizer)
– 1 first aid kit (they are not always around when you need them, so I carry my own)

Clothing Compartment
– 4 pairs black shorts
– 2 face towels (for sweat management)
– 1 shower towel

Accessories Compartment
– 12 new squash balls
– 5 used squash balls
– 11 head bands
– 1 wrist band

Side Compartment 1
– 1 pen

Side Compartment 1
– 7 quarters (for coin-op lockers)
– 3 loonies (for coin-op lockers)

I should mention at this point that my squash bag doubles as a gym bag, which is why I also have running shoes in there. Rather than carrying one bag for squash and another for indoor/treadmill running, I just carry everything in my squash bag. That way, if I show up for a match and my partner doesn’t, I have the right shoes to do a 5K on the treadmills upstairs.

Do I need to carry all of this stuff? Yes, I do. I often go straight from the store to the court, so I need shorts in my bag. The same is true for towels and headbands. I keep a stack of towels and headbands in my closet and fill my bag with extras as needed. Since I am usually going back to work after playing, I need to be reasonably clean.

The only thing I consider optional is the first aid kit. However, I am around squash teams a lot and we seem to have need of the kit once a month or so. Without fail, the kits at the facilities are either behind locked doors or out of the essential stuff, so I choose to carry my own.

What you will not find in my bag is a full shower kit. After a match, I will wash what I need to wash and I will usually fix my hair, but I don’t work in an office environment and I don’t wear a suit and tie, so I don’t need a full shower kit like many squash players.

Every player, of course, has their own circumstances that will determine what they need to have in their bags. What I have learned from being around squash players for the past 30 years, though, is that most new players carry bags that are too small. They think they can save $10 or even $20 by buying a smaller bag. Then once they start playing regularly they realize that they have to throw out the one they just bought because it’s not big enough. So they end up wasting $75 or $80 instead.