The problem of excessive sweat can affect a squash player in multiple ways and in this piece we will try to list out not just those issues but also the various methods which can be used to overcome the problems associated with the sweat issue.
The first issue is the sweat trickling down any protective eye-wear worn by the player, thereby reducing visibility.
The second main problem is the sweat running down the arms an wrist and making it tougher for the player to grip the racket.
The other issue associated with sweating is dehydration and as a result of those loss of fluids, it becomes tougher for the player as the game goes on. This issue needs a long article by itself but we have added a few pointers towards the end for this too.
What we are trying to describe here is how to overcome issues caused due to perspiration during a match and what can be done to minimize its impact for a squash player.
Visibility Issues Due to Sweat
In one of our previous discussions around squash, we had spoken about the need to wear protective eye-gear while playing squash (check here). The short answer to whether player need to wear protective goggles during squash games is yes, it’s bordering on imperative whichever level you are playing at.
This is because each year there are scores of players who suffer eye or head injuries due to an errant squash ball or the back-swing of the opponent’s racket.
Some of these injuries are career-threatening while others even end up with the players losing their vision partially.
More and more players are moving towards wearing protective eye-gear while playing squash but with that comes another problem – the topic of our discussion today, sweat and fogging causing visibility problems for the players.
These visibility problems only add to the probability of injury, not to mention the reduced efficiency of play as a result of that too.
Grip Issues Due to Sweat
The second major problem associated with excessive sweating while playing squash is gripping the racket. While profuse sweating isn’t a phenomenon restricted to squash alone, the issue for this sport is how difficult it is to keep using a towel during a set.
In tennis, for example, ball-kids handle towels for the players and those can be used by these tennis players after almost every point.
Things might change after the sport returns from its suspension because of the pandemic but even then players would be able to handle their own towels, managing to wipe the sweat off their hands.
It’s no different for cricketers, who carry mini-towels with them while bowling and fielding. And batsmen take consistent breaks during play where they are served drinks and offered towels as well.
It’s tough to do that in squash because of its enclosed area and the speed of the game.
How to Overcome Sweat-Related Visibility Issues in Squash?
Considering how vital the use of protective goggles is for squash, it makes sense not to trade safety for lower visibility. A few ways you could overcome the sweat-related visibility issues have been mentioned below:
- Use a headband
- Use a visor
- Combination of the above two
Use a Headband
The need to wear protective eyewear is often mandatory in few of the squash clubs. While not everyone at the highest level opts to go for it, more and more awareness about the damage to one’s eye an errant ball or a squash racket backswing could cause is forcing players into using those goggles.
The challenge then is to prevent the sweat from making its way on to the glasses and thereby reducing visibility. There is a simple solution to this; use of a headband.
While some players, especially at the amateur level, opt to fold up a large handkerchief or other cloth to double up as a headband or a bandana, the best bet is to use an expert-recommended headband. One of the headbands we can recommend while playing squash to overcome your sweat-related problem is Halo V Sweatband.
Using a Visor Like iMask
An iMask is a visor or a mask made of optically clear polycarbonate which is supposedly, nearly unbreakable. The biggest advantage of using an iMask it prevents fogging, which is also one of the reasons behind visibility issues.
It also helps players overcome peripheral vision issues and nose discomfort and it also provides protection to those players who are using prescription spectacles while playing. An iMask lightweight goes a long way in helping players not really feel they are wearing anything.
Combine the Two
At times, you still don’t want sweat to drip down your eyes, for instant, even when you are wearing a visor and the best is to combine the use of a headband and an iMask-like protective equipment.
How to Overcome Sweat-Related Grip Issues in Squash?
There are multiple ways to help you reduce the problems caused by sweaty palms. Here’s what you can do and the same has been extensively explained below:
- Sweatbands or wristbands
- Overgrip for the racket
- Dry them on the sole of your shoes
- Wall of the squash court (not really!)
- Anti-perspiration ointment or cream
- Strengthen forearm muscles
Use Sweatbands or Wristbands
One of the most straightforward ways to help yourself if you sweat a lot and keep finding it tough to grip your squash racket as a result is to use sweatbands on your wrists.
The sweatband or the wristband as it’s also called would help prevent the sweat from running on to your palms and make the racket easier to grip. Also, a wristband is useful in helping a player wipe the sweat off the forehead and face as well.
Get an Overgrip for the Squash Racket
The second way to improve your grip which has become a problem because of the constant sweating is to change the squash racket grip. Try to replace it with one which is customized it to suit your palm.
Stock squash grips are good to hold on the racket but they don’t provide enough protection against sweat. This is when an overgrip could play an important part, reducing the effects of sweat on your grip.
Run Palms On the Shoe Sole
One other solution is slightly out of the box and might not work for all. Have you seen basketball or NBA players run their hands over their shoes during a game?
There are multiple reasons why they do this but one of them is to get some of the dust from the soles on to their hands to dry the sweat off quickly and give them a better grip on the ball.
I have seen some squash players at lower levels do that too and while it’s not the most hygenic thing to do – especially in the kind of environment we live these days – it’s worth putting it out there.
Using the Squash Court Walls
Another solution is the players often use the walls of the squash court to wipe their palms off the sweat but this comes with a problem of its own. While most squash court walls at the professional level are cleaned as regularly as even between matches, this might not be the case at the lower levels, in clubs and gymkhanas.
If everyone were to start rubbing their sweaty palms on the squash court walls and they weren’t cleaned regularly, it might invite trouble in other ways.
Hence, while you might have watched your favourite squash player do that at the highest level, be careful not to mimic it at lower levels of play where the walls might not be at their cleanest best.
An Anti-Sweat Cream or Lotion
If you could combine the use of a good-quality overgrip with a lotion called Dry Grip (or Dry Hands) it might go a long way in helping you as well.
These two are anti-sweat creams some players use for their palms to help repel moisture without giving a feel of greasiness.
Improve the Forearm Strength
There is a longer term option, not really to reduce the impact of sweat but to ensure a stronger hold on the racket. You can do this by getting in touch with a squash fitness expert who can advise you on your exercise requirement to help strengthen your forearm muscles, in turn negating the effect of sweat on your racket hold.