Rules of Racquetball: A Basic Guide

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Racquetball is an entertaining indoor sport. This interesting sport, like all other sports, has specific rules and regulations. These guidelines when followed religiously can help score points.

Racquetball tournaments comprise of “Singles” (2 players) or “Doubles” (4 players) game only. There is also a game called Cut-Throat (3 players) which is not held in tournaments but enjoyed by players.

A Basic Guide to Rules of Racquetball

Rules of Racquetball

This is a basic guide to racquetball rules covering Racquetball Serve Rules, Court Rules, Scoring rules and some idea on hinders and rally. The Racquetball rules mentioned here are limited, but are enough to kick-start the game as a new player. The rules stated are mainly with regards to the “Singles Racquetball Game” played between two players.

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Racquetball Serve Rules

  • First Serve Selection: Usually, a toss decides which player would get to serve first. The one who wins the toss gets to serve first. Once rallying begins, the player who wins the rally gets to serve next. This continues until one player wins the set.
  • Player Serve Position: The serve has to be made from the Service Zone. The service zone is rectangular shaped, marked on the court floor by 2 parallel solid red lines and 2 vertical lines (when facing the front wall).
  • Line Over-stepping: Stepping on the red line while serving the ball is fine, but the player cannot step outside the line.
  • Ball Placement: While making a serve, the ball has to be within the service zone.
  • Ball bounce: The player needs to drop the ball on the floor area (within the service zone) for a single bounce before making the serve strike.
  • Wall to hit: The player has to serve the ball and hit the front wall. Although all the 4 walls (including back wall) and the ceiling is used in racquetball, the served ball has to specifically hit the front wall first.
  • Fault Serve: If the player misses the serve at the first attempt, he/she has a second chance. If the second attempt is missed or an incorrect serve is made, known as the fault serve, the other player gets to serve.

Racquetball Hinders: Court Rules

In a racquetball game, the same court area is occupied by both the players. Therefore, any form of hindrance created by either of the players is strictly forbidden. In racquetball game, such intentional/accidental hindrances causing the game to halt in between are known as hinders.

“Hinders” are not allowed in racquetball game. Here’s a list of the common hinders:

  • A player blocking the other player from viewing the ball’s position.
  • The ball hits the opponent by accident on its way to the front wall.
  • Blocking the opponent from taking the best possible strike at the ball.
  • The ball bouncing back unexpectedly due to hitting something in the court such as a door knob, fan ventilation, lights and so on.
  • Passing the ball between the legs.

In case any of the above hinders occur during a game, the rally is replayed.

In a racquetball court, these rules are a must follow:-

  • The opponent has to provide space to the player so that he/she has the required room to strike the ball as per their desire.
  • The opponent has to allow the player to have a direct shot at the front wall.
  • The opponent has to allow the player to also have an angular shot, the outcome of which is usually a crosscourt shot leading up to the opposite back corner.

Racquetball Rally: Scoring Rules

Game Sets

Racquetball game comprises of 3 sets.

  • Set 1- 15 Points
  • Set 2- 15 Points
  • Set 3- 11 Points

To win the game, a player has to win 2 sets. If a player wins the first two sets in a row by scoring 15 points before the opponent, then he/she is the winner. In such a case, the third set is not played. If each player wins a set, then the winner is decided by the third set comprising of 11 points.

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Scoring Rules

The player of a racquetball can score a point only by making a correct serve and winning the rally. In case the opponent wins the rally, then he/she gets the chance to serve but does not score any points.

Rally

After a player serves the ball, the opponent needs to receive the ball and hit it. This alternate hitting on the ball between players is called rallying.

After the ball is served appropriately, the players are free to hit the ball in any of the 4 walls (side, front & back wall) and the ceiling during rallying.

Racquetball game scoring rules

Listed below are- Racquetball game scoring rules! The occurrence of any of the following will result in the player losing a rally:

  • If any part of the player’s body or outfit comes in direct contact with the ball
  • If the player strikes the ball and the ball goes and hits the other player
  • If a ball aimed at the front wall fails to do so because on hitting a player
  • The ball bounces more than once on the floor before being struck by the player
  • The ball is not in the air and rather hits the floor thereby failing to touch the front wall
  • If the game referee calls out a penalty hinder. This happens when a player makes an illegal shot and the referee calls a hinder, then that particular rally stops and the rally is played again. No party scores any point.
  • The player slings or carries the ball off the racquet.
  • A racquet wrist-safety cord is not by the player.
  • During a rally, the player changes his racquet holding hand.

I have deliberately put aside the in-depth details of racquetball game rules! These rules are enough to start playing the racquetball game. It is easier to understand the advanced rules of Racquetball after having a clear grip on the basic gaming rules.

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