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 ​The sport originally made use of the YMCA and Jewish Community Center handball courts, and as a result, it was able to grow rapidly across America.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.

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​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!