Racquetball – A Primer on Rules

As one of the worlds more popular indoor sports (around 14 million enthusiasts around the world and 10 million in the U.S.), racquetball owes much of its popularity to the simplicity of the game itself. The rules are easy to assimilate and implement, and the nature of the game itself is quite simple.

For amateurs who may have forgotten how the game is played and for people who don’t know the way to play the game but are wondering it and its rules, the following are the major game makeup.

Single double or trio

Racquetball games are played by two people against each other (singles) or four people with two for each team (doubles) and three people (cutthroat) where every one plays the other two.

Players who are serving the ball score points. Losing a serve is called a sideout. In doubles, each player can serve before sideout happens.

The first to win two games (up to 15 points) wins the match. If both teams have one win each, the tie-breaker is performed up to 11 points.

Courts and required racquets

Racquetball courts have four walls – two are 40 feet (length) and two are 20 feet (width) with a ceiling height of 20 feet.

There are markers for the receiving line, drive serve line, service line and the short line.
These lines mark the serving area, serving boxes, and the receiving area.

Racquets for the game have bumper guards (grommets) and grips with a nylon rope to secure the racquet to the wrist. Also, all players are required to wear protective eye gear.

Game proper

A racquetball game starts with a coin toss, with the winner choosing to either serve or receive the first game. In the second game, the server becomes the receiver.

The player or team that scores the most points in the 1st two games chooses to serve or receive during the tiebreaker. (If both have equal scores in the 1st 2 games, there is a coin toss.)

In regular day to day games, players or teams offer the other deciding on first as a matter of courtesy.

More rules

The server has to stop in the service area when serving, stepping on a line but not pass the line. The server can pass the short line once the serve (ball) passes that line.

There ought to be a continual motion throughout the serve while the receiver allows one ball bounce, and hitting it before the second bounce.

In doubles, only one player does the first serve. At the moment, each player serves during every team serve. The non-serving player meantime has to stand erect with his/her back against the side wall and both feet on the ground, not moving until the ball break the short line plane.

Rallies and hinders

A rally (a succession of point wins) remains in force until any of the next happens: the player carries the ball, the ball goes out of court, the ball does not make it to the front wall, and the ball bounces twice prior to the receiver hits it.

Hinders happen for security reasons. Play or the serve is now over if a hinder occurs. These consists of such moves as a screen (opponent blocks the scene of the ball), holdup (holding the swing for safety) or court hinder (court deflect the ball).

Do you feel you can play racquetball now?