Racquetball is a sport played on an indoor or outdoor court with a hollow rubber ball. The game was created by Joseph Sobek in 1950. It combines the popular sports of handball, Tennis, Squash, and Jai Alai, creating a fun racquet game. You can play racquetball with two players (singles) or four players (doubles).
As Racquetball grew more popular in the mid 1900s, more and more leagues started to become organized. A Racquetball league is made for people who want to have a bit more competition when they play. It is organized so there can be a schedule of matchups and there will be standings as the league goes on. Most racquetball leagues also include a postseason to determine who the best players are.
International Racquetball Tour
The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) is the most popular league in the world for the sport. The IRT was founded in 1990, and features 300 players competing in over 20 Top-Tier tournaments in Latin America, the United States, and Canada. The IRT also has Pro/Am tournaments that can draw over 700 professional, collegiate and amateur players. These players range from junior to master competitors.
The IRT has a ranking system that awards ranking points based on a rolling twelve-month calendar. This means that points earned from the previous year can be included in the tally for the rankings. Certain cash prizes are given out depending on what the event is and its magnitude. A player’s lowest scores can be dropped based on the number of Tier 1 tournaments that they participate in. If there are less than Tier One events, only one score is dropped. If there are between 12 and 20 events, then two scores are dropped. If there are more than 20, then the three lowest scores are going to be dropped.
IRT has numerous sponsors that help them get through their seasons. Some of these sponsors include TransCostal Mortgage, VW Credit, Motorola, and Verizon. The IRT has been broadcasted on ESPN, ESPN2, and the Tennis Channel.
Starting A Racquetball League
Creating a racquetball league will allow new members of a club to join in the fun of playing racquetball. If you are a member of a club, creating a club will be quite easy. At your local club, you can organize a signup sheet for people to register for the league. After that you can arrange for round robin matches making sure everyone plays each other. Then you create a schedule for each game to be played. This is usually done by week. After playing the match, the two opponents will submit the scores to the league manager. The league manager can easily submit the scores to an excel sheet to make sure everything is staying organized.
When you create the league, it is also a good idea to have an entry fee. This entry fee can be used to cover any necessary expenses, and also reward the winners. Awarding prizes at the end of the league will make it more fun, and a bit more competitive. Depending on how you want to format the league, you can organize a championship match with the two leading scorers at the end of the league, or you can just reward the prize to whoever has the most points at the end.
Length of Racquetball Seasons
One thing that is great about racquetball is that there is technically no off-season! Professional racquetball has tournaments throughout the entire year, with no official rest period. The International Racquetball Tour has a season that goes on for roughly nine months. The tour usually takes a pause in May and doesn’t have many events throughout the summer. However, for many professionals, there can be Pan American Games, lower tiered pro stops, IRF events, and outdoor events. Therefore, for numerous avid racquetball players, there is no off-season when it comes to racquetball.
Amateur racquetball leagues can be organized whenever people feel fit. Racquetball can be played indoors or outdoors, therefore there should never be a concern about weather when you are organizing a league. The amateur league at Lifetime Racquetball runs every six weeks throughout the year.
Cost To Join
The prices of joining a racquetball league vary depending on what club you are at and how many people are also joining the league. If it is an intense league that is going to be really competitive, it is likely that the entry fee will be a bit more money.
Playing racquetball at LA Fitness will cost you $7 a month, however that does not include the cost of the actual entry fee (which will vary depending on the league you are joining) and whatever you may be spending on equipment.
For equipment, you are going to need to buy a racquet, court shoes, and eyewear. It is essential to have these three items otherwise you will likely not be able to participate in the league. A racquet can cost you anywhere from $20-$120, depending on how nice of a racquet you want to get. A pair of goggles will cost you about $25, and the shoes will cost you anywhere from $40-$60.
Professional Racquetball Leagues
International Racquet Tour: The leading professional racquetball organization for men’s competition. Events take place mainly in the United States but can take place in other parts of North America as well.
Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour: The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour is the latest name for women’s professional racquetball. It features the world's best female racquetball players, with several events throughout the season that runs from September to May.
Pan American Games: Racquetball is also one of the many sports that takes place in the Pan American Games. The event has a total of 60 athletes representing a total of 14 countries. The most recent Pan American Games took place in Lima, Peru last August, 2019.