Racquetball Rules: How to Get Into This Fun Sport

Racquetball Rules: How to Get Into This Fun Sport

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​Racquetball is not the easiest sport to master. At first glance, it can appear intimidating. The sport requires endurance and an understanding of the geometry and speed of the game. However, for those who play it, racquetball is a rewarding sport that can be enjoyed for decades. All it takes is some time and effort dedicated to learning the game and following racquetball rules.

A Brief History of Racquetball

This sport was created by an American tennis and squash enthusiast named Joe Sobek. His desire was to invent a game that was easy to learn while, at the same time, including elements of paddleball, handball, and squash. Racquetball was invented in 1950, and it was originally called paddle rackets. ​The sport originally made use of the YMCA and Jewish Community Center handball courts, and as a result, it was able to grow rapidly across America. The International Racquetball Association was created in 1969 and shortly thereafter was recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

What Do the Lines on a Racquetball Court Mean?

These lines help dictate the service area and where the ball should go following a serve. The area between the two solid parallel lines is called the service zone. The server must stand between these two lines to serve. The ball must hit the front wall and fly beyond the service zone to be in play.

What Are the Racquetball Rules?

​The racquetball rules may seem confusing at first, but as you learn more about the sport, you’ll fully understand them. Often, the best way to do this is by playing against someone with more experience who can help you learn as you develop your skills. Remember to be patient with yourself.

​​Racquetball can be played as singles or doubles. If you’d like to have a more informal game, three people can play racquetball as two competing against one. The racquetball rules are essentially the same for both singles and doubles. However, the configuration of two competing against one is typically only done in informal settings.

The racquetball rules have established the size of the courts and the equipment used. An official racquetball court is 20 feet high and wide and 40 feet in length. The ball must be 2.25 inches in diameter and made of hard, bouncing rubber. Racquets should be no longer than 22 inches.

The Serve

​The serve is one of the most important aspects of racquetball because you can only earn points when you serve. In order to determine who will serve first, a rally is held where players alternate taking shots at the front wall and returning it before it bounces on the floor more than once. According to the racquetball rules, whoever wins the rally will get to serve.

During the serve, the ball must hit the front wall before it hits anything else and go over the service zone. It should not hit the back wall before hitting the floor. It cannot hit the ceiling. However, it is okay for it to hit one side wall.

If the serve does not do this, it’s considered a fault, and the server has another chance to get the ball into play. If the server does not get the ball in play on the second try, then the serve goes to his or her opponent. According to the racquetball rules, when serving, the ball should not hit or touch the server at any point during the return.

How Is Racquetball Scored?

Unlike tennis, in racquetball, you can only earn points during your own serve. This is similar to squash and volleyball. According to the racquetball rules, you can lose a point if any of the following happen:

  • ​Any part of your body touches the ball
  • ​You commit a double-hit, which is carrying the ball with the racquet
  • ​The ball hits the floor more than once before you can return it
  • ​The ball does not hit the front wall
  • ​The ball goes out of bounds, which could include the wall opening or a viewing gallery
  • ​If the racquet hand is switched during the point

In order to be declared the winner, the player or team has to win two games. A game is won when 15 points are reached. If there is a tie, a third game is played to 11 points. Unlike tennis, it is not necessary to win a racquetball game by two points, according to the racquetball rules.

Additional Racquetball Rules

The first, and perhaps the most important of the racquetball rules, is that you must wear eye protection when playing. In addition, you should also refuse to play someone who does not wear eye protection. The ball travels very fast and wearing protection is necessary in order to prevent an eye injury that could cause blindness.

When playing racquetball, players rally to see who serves first and alternate for the second game. Except for the serve, the ball can hit any wall or the ceiling if it hits the front wall without bouncing. If a player is either in the way of the ball or is blocking the view of the other player, this is called a “hinder.” It’s considered a “let” and the point will be replayed.

Becoming a Racquetball Player

Man playing racquetball

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Racquetball is an enjoyable sport and is a fantastic exercise. However, to the novice, it can be a bit intimidating. First, you must learn the speed, dynamics, and geometry of the game. The best way to learn how to play racquetball is to experience it and gain confidence by playing several games. As your skills improve, you’ll want to challenge other beginners and develop patience and strategy. Eventually, you’ll want to purchase your own racquet and protective equipment. You’ll gain small victories as you continually learn and develop as a player.

However, there’s one important point to consider: You will never get better if you only play other beginners or those who aren’t as good as you. You only truly learn and respect the sport by playing those with more experience. It’s then that you can develop into a better player. Racquetball is a game of strategy, strength, and endurance. You won’t become a world-class player overnight. As long as you realize this, you can enjoy the sport and continually practice your skills.

I play a lot of basketball and racquetball, as they’re both great for your feet and hand eye coordination. Other drills can help as well, such as simply catching a football in distant positions from different heights and velocities.

– Antonio Cromartie

Tips for Improving Your Game

Good habits don’t happen overnight and improving your game takes patience. Do not become discouraged. Play regularly and build up your endurance. Take time to review these useful tips that will help improve your game and your enjoyment of racquetball.

Once you have a good, solid understanding of the racquetball rules, you can create good habits that, over time, will help you improve your game. Following are some useful tips that can help you:

  • ​Remember to warm up before every match
  • ​It’s a good idea to spend 10 minutes hitting a couple of shots and practicing your serve
  • ​Remember to hit passing shots from the center court position as often as possible
  • ​Following through on your forehand is important; remember to do a complete follow-through where your racquet moves from ear to ear
  • ​If you’re new to the game, familiarize yourself with the racquetball rules and do not hesitate to consult an official rulebook if necessary
  • ​Remember that you do not have to run directly at the ball; you should keep to one side at the distance of your reach or your swing circle
  • ​Always take time to ensure you’re using the correct forehand and backhand grip
  • ​When serving, aim for a target on the front wall; this will help you increase consistency and reduce the likelihood of faults
  • ​If you are within five feet of the back wall, go ahead and play a ceiling ball
  • ​Never take your eye off the ball; watch it at all times and watch your opponent hit the ball
  • ​Have your racquet up as early as possible; remember that it should be shoulder height the moment you start heading toward the ball
  • ​When possible, always move to center court position

Conclusion: Following the Racquetball Rules Will Help You Learn the Game

Racquetball has come a long way since its inception in 1950. While you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy this sport, continual practice will help you develop the skills required to be a winner on the court. All it takes is time and patience. Remember that it’s very important to learn from more seasoned players, as this is the only way you will improve your game. Perhaps you have some friends who would like to learn the game along with you. Encourage and support each other.

In order to play racquetball well, familiarize yourself with the racquetball rules.

​Image source: GIPHY​

​Remember how important it is to have a good, solid serve, and take time to study the geometry of the game. Be aware that blocking your opponent’s view is a “hinder” and means the point must be replayed. It’s important to enjoy racquetball safely: eye protection is required when playing official games, and you should always wear it in informal games as well. Do not play someone who does not wear eye protection. Are you ready to play racquetball? Get out on the court and get started!

The World of eSports

The World of eSports

Who would’ve thought twenty years ago that playing video games could make you serious money? 


The internet has enabled gamers to unite across the globe and to challenge each other in an exciting industry that has gained a tremendous amount of prominence in the last decade.

Otherwise known as electronic sports, eSports is a form of competition by using video games.


The sport has elevated to such a high level that participants are referred to as professional gamers. Multiplayer online battle arena, first-person shooter, digital collectible card games and fighters are some of the most common video game genres associated with eSports.


Some of the popular eSports titles include League of Legends, Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.

eSports has gained a lot of prominence in the last decade, but many people will be surprised to discover that the sport’s origin dates back to the ‘70s. 


Many people recognize the first official eSports competition on record to be the Stanford University (SU) held one on October 19, 1972. Since then, the sport has come a long way and contributed tremendously to global wealth. 


The students at SU gathered to compete in Spacewar, a space combat game first developed in 1962. The top prize was a one year’s subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. The winner was Bruce Baumgart. (14)


How Popular is it?

The sport has become so popular that Goldman Sachs analysts have voiced their projections about it. 


A Goldman Sachs analyst wrote that the eSports industry had a larger audience than Major League Baseball, excluding China. 


A New Zoo, gaming market researcher, survey indicated that 167 million people were competitive eSports gamers at the end of 2018 and that the figure would rise to 276 million by 2022. (1)


Here’s who leads the pack in eSports prominence:


“China has been ahead of the curve on this; all of Asia really,” says Menashe Kestenbaum, CEO of Enthusiast Gaming in Toronto. “If you see an arena jam-packed with gamers, it’s probably somewhere in China or South Korea,” he says.


The sport has become so popular in China that the country is building the world’s largest gamer theme park. (2)


The park is currently under construction and set to be the size of an average Six Flags Amusement Park and slated for completion in 2022.


The global games market generated over $138 billion in 2018. China had over 700 million gamers, making it a prime destination for gaming companies. (2)


One of the main reasons that eSports has taken off is due to the support of the Chinese government, which believes that eSports is the future of gaming.


The Chinese government has taken the industry seriously since its gaming market contributed $32.5 billion in 2018 to the economy. (3)


The thriving gaming industry started off in South Korea, but it’s China that has seen unprecedented growth. 


China’s massive expansion meant that it surpassed the U.S. market.


Businesses have seen the impact that eSports has on the economy and have tried to get their share of the pie. Newzoo data revealed that the eSports industry generated $660 million in 2017 with China making up 16% of that. (4)


The global market had a revenue of $900 million in 2018.


Price Waterhouse Coopers has estimated that the global revenue from eSports will be $1.6 billion by 2022. (5)


While China’s gaming industry booms, the rest of the world is playing catch-up.


Japan is another market that contributes greatly to the gaming market. Japanese gaming companies contributed $19.2 billion to the country’s economy in 2018. Sadly, revenue from Japan’s eSports market in 2018 was only $44.2 million. 


Although the comparison of eSports contribution to the economy was less than 1% of the gaming industry, the country’s eSports revenue was $3 million in 2017. (13)


One of the problems that the eSports industry in Japan has faced is legal restrictions. Legislation such as the Penal Code, the Premium Act and the Fueiho Law have gotten in the way of the industry’s prosperity. (13)


Does it Pay?

South Korea is the sixth biggest eSports market, but many people consider the country to be the pioneer of eSports. 


Lee Sang-hyeok (Faker) at LoL World Championship 2013

Lee Sang-hyeok, a South Korean eSports world champion, demands a salary of $3 million annually. Lee Dae-ho, a professional baseball player, receives an annual salary of $2.5 million by comparison. (5)


The average annual salary of a South Korean professional gamer was $150,000 in 2018. (6) 

A government report stated that South Korea’s eSports industry increased by 4.2% in 2017 to $87 million. (6)


The United States Strives to Compete in the World of Gaming

The U.S. is hot on the heels of China. 


Although the gaming industry in the U.S. was making money off video games since the ‘90s, it was Blizzard Entertainment’s release of StarCraft in 2010 that catapulted eSports in the country. 


Major League Gaming (MLG) is one of the most prominent eSports organizations in the world and helped to pioneer the sport in the country. 


The company’s latest tournament, Call of Duty World Championship, invited 32 of the world’s best teams to compete for $1.5 million in prizes. (7)


How’s that for prestige mode?


The highest-earning player in the U.S. made just over $3 million. The second highest-earning player made $2.98 million. (8)


The good news is that you don’t have to be the best player in the country to make a good living from eSports. Thanks to certain leagues, the average eSports competitor can live off of playing video games.


Riot Games’ League of Legends was the first league to provide salaries for every starter in 2013. The company’s goal was to offer stability that no other eSports could rival. Numerous North American professional players make an average annual salary of $320,000 by playing League of Legends alone. (9)


“These days, now that the path to pro is well established, and there are nearly 1,000 pros globally making a living off of playing League of Legends professionally, we look at player salaries continuing to rise and new player benefits (insurance, 401k, etc) as evidence of a healthy ecosystem,” said Chris Hopper, head of North American eSports at Riot Games.


The average annual salary of the pros in the League of Legends averages the same salary as an athlete in the Major League Soccer clubs. 


If the salaries for professional players isn’t enough, they can make up for it in the competitions. Xiao Hong, the Dota 2 operator in China, said that the TI9’s prize pool would be $25.5 in 2019. (10)


Chinese teams finished first or second at the Dota 2 competition for the last few years, resulting in the country netting $18 million from the four-team placements. (11)


The average age of players who made the most money was 25.


Audiences

Professional players can make money from lucrative competitions only if the organizers have audiences to show their advertisements to.


A report that Penguin Intelligence released stated that eSports viewers would grow to 350 million in 2019, a 10.6% year-on-year increase. China’s share of the market would be around 75 million fans.


The report also stated that the growth in China’s audiences would create a market of $2 billion by the end of 2019. The growth stems from income generated from tournaments, sponsorships, media rights and money that the players will earn.

Some of the predictions include that 600 million viewers will watch eSports by 2023, an increase of around 79% from 2017, which recorded 335 million viewers. (12)


According to Activate, 62% of U.S viewers were aged 18-34, and 58% had a positive attitude towards partaking in eSports. (12)


Other statistics revealed that Gen Zers were more open-minded toward eSports than other generations. The statistics stated that 56% of US Gen Z men (aged 13-21) said that non-traditional sports were relevant to their generation, and 44% stated the same for traditional sports.


Salaries and competition prize money isn’t the only way that the eSports industry benefits, as sponsorship revenue reached $359 million in 2018. (12)


That is a 53% year-on-year increase.


The increase in viewership and sponsorship has propelled high profile figures to get involved. The sport has taken off so much that celebrities couldn’t resist investing in it. Basketball legend Michael Jordan and platinum-selling artist Drake have invested in the eSports industry.


Final Thoughts

Figures prove that eSports is becoming more popular every year. Not only are players making more money than previous years but businesses have profited by getting involved as sponsors. 

More professional players have emerged due to the large prize pools, and celebrities have become investors in the industry.


With global audiences increasing annually, eSports is set to become the next big sporting event. 

You don’t have to take my word for it. 


All you have to do is look at the salaries of professional eSports competitors. Some of them are making more money than professional athletes involved in traditional sports.


Games like League of Legends have attracted some of the best players in the world, and the organizers have filled up stadiums with fans. 


Although you might have outgrown video games as Michael Jordan and Drake have, isn’t it worthwhile to look at the investment opportunities?

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