Racquetball is a fast paced action sport played with standardized equipment with
specific court dimensions worldwide. The sport became extremely popular during the
late 1970's and early 1980's because it was fun, easy to learn how to play and it
is one of the best workouts you can get in a short period of time.
Racquetball/Health clubs sprung up across the country offering great programming
and a clean atmosphere for people to socialize and recreate. Racquetball grew to
over 10 million participants during it's "hey day" of the mid 1980s. Today racquetball
remains very strong as a sport played by over 5 million people each year.
Racquetball can be played either on an indoor or outdoor court with anywhere from
2 to 4 players at a time. A complete explanation of tips on how to play racquetball
is explained throughout this guide.
There are various governing bodies for the sport that provide on-going leadership
worldwide. The most prominent is the United States Racquetball Association with operates
their headquarters in Colorado Springs as part of the US Olympic Committee. Racquetball
is designated as a non-medal "Class A" sport, hoping to become a full medal sport sometime
during the next 10 years. The key events held each year include:
US Open held each year in Memphis, TN featuring the top professional and amateur players
in the world. This event includes over 500 players and a made for television glass court
with the largest spectator seating venue of the year. The event has been televised each
year on ESPN and ESPN II since 1998, Ektelon National Singles - The largest amateur tournament
in the world Ektelon Doubles - The largest doubles tournament in the world.
Indoor racquetball is played on a 20' X 20' X 40' court that has four walls, a ceiling and
a floor, all of which are used during play. Most beginner players will say that the fact than
you can "play the ball" off of any wall anytime during the rally is what make racquetball so
fun right from the start.
The floor is divided into three distinct areas called the "Forecourt," the "Service Zone"
and the "Backcourt." Lines defining these areas have been given names called the "Service Line,"
the "Short Line" and the "Receiving Line." The walls are also given names called the "Play Wall,"
the "Side Wall," and the "Back Wall." Rules apply about these areas, lines and walls and where
players may position themselves during actual play.
Outdoor racquetball is played using the same floor dimensions as an indoor court. However, there
is no ceiling or backwall and the court may or may not include sidewalls. The sidewalls can also
vary in length. Most outdoor play is referred to as "One Wall" or "3 Wall" Racquetball. The outdoor
game is popular in warmer weather climates, and in cities where parks and school play grounds are
present. Contrary to indoor courts where you usually need to join a health club to play, you can
usually get on an outdoor court without paying a fee.
Equipment and Apparel
The ball used to play the game is air filled, about three inches in diameter, and bounces in a
lively fashion. The racquet used is a fixed frame with strings and has a grip at the end for
players to hold securely during play. Safety glasses are worn to prevent eye injury. Sneakers,
athletic socks, shorts, T-Shirts, wrist bands and head bands are generally worn during play.