What is Racquetball and How is it Played

What is Racquetball and How is it Played?

The Game
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. 

The Court
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.

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