Racquetball is a game that culminates in aspects of squash, handball and paddleball.
The main goal of racquetball is to win rallies and score more points than the opponent. The game is played in teams of singles or doubles.
A racquetball court is essentially a confined, rectangular shaped room. The height of the court is 20 feet, along with a width of 20 feet and length of 40 feet. Red lines are used to outline the several zones on the court. These lines include the service line and the short line. Additionally, the dashed receiving line is located behind the service zone.
To start a match, one team serves the ball against the front wall. When serving, a player bounces the ball once and then hits the ball towards the wall. Before hitting anything else, the ball must make contact with the front wall. Afterwards, the ball may rebound and hit a side wall before bouncing on the ground but may not hit the back wall or ceiling.
After the ball rebounds off the wall from a serve, the other team attempts to return the ball by also hitting the ball against the front wall. Besides the initial serve, the ball may bounce off of any of the walls including the ceiling.
The different shots in racquetball can usually be classified as either passing or kill shots. Passing shots are used to keep the rally alive and force the opponent to respond while kill shots are executed in an attempt to end the rally. A kill shot is hit low and should bounce twice near the front wall so that an opponent can not return it.
One type of passing shot is a ceiling shot. For a ceiling shot, a player hits a ball that should first hit the ceiling, then the front wall, and then the floor. Ideally, the ball should bounce into the back corner and drop to the floor, making it difficult for the opponent to return it. Another type of passing shot is the down the line shot. This shot is hit low against the front wall and rebounds down the side of the court without hitting the side wall. Since the shot is low and all the way on one side of the court, it is also challenging to return.
One variation of a kill shot is a pinch shot. A pinch shot is when the ball hits the right wall near the front corner, then bounces off the front wall and quickly bounces twice on the ground before the opposing player can reach it. Another type of kill shot is the splat shot. A splat shot is similar to a pitch shot but is hit when a player is close to the side wall. Unlike the pitch shot, the splat shot is hit towards the middle of the side wall. The ball is hit strongly with the tip of the racket and takes a wider angle before hitting the front wall and bouncing off low.
Similar to tennis, a team scores a point when the other team commits an error. However, only the serving team is able to score points. If the opposing team commits an error but was the serving team on that rally, the other team is awarded the next serve but no point.
To lose a point, or give up the serve, a team has to violate one of several rules. One way to give up a point is by letting the ball bounce more than once before returning it off the wall to the other team. Another way for a team to lose a point is if the ball hits the ground on a hit before rebounding off the wall. Additional ways to give up points include hitting the ball out of bounds, if the ball hits a player's body or is touched by a player, or if the ball hits an opposing player in an intentional manner.
A racquetball game is won by the first team to win two games. Games are generally played to 15 points. However, unlike many other sports, a team does not need to obtain a two point advantage to win the game. If one team wins the first game but the other team wins the next, a third game takes place. To win the third game and the entire match, a team only needs to score 11 points.
The service zone is the area on the racquetball court where a player must serve the ball from. The front of the service zone is marked off by the service line. During a serve, a player must have both feet on or behind the service line. If both of their feet are in front of the service line during the serve, a foot fault is called and the player loses their serve.
The short line in racquetball marks off the back of the service zone and is located directly in the middle of the court. This line is used to measure the distance of a serve. After bouncing off the front wall, a served ball must pass over the short line before hitting the ground. If the ball touches the ground before passing over the line, it is deemed a short serve and a fault.
The receiving line is the dashed line located behind the short line on a racquetball court. This line helps to outline the safety zone which is contained between the receiving line and short line. Players attempting to receive the ball are not allowed behind the receiving line (outside the safety zone) until the ball bounces in the safety zone or travels over the receiving line. If the receiver breaks this rule, a point is given to the serving team.
A "hinder" in racquetball is when a player blocks an opposing player, preventing them from hitting or seeing the ball. When this occurs, the point is usually played over. In the case of a penalty hinder, when a player blocks the opponent from hitting a score worthy shot, the other team is given the point. If the team did not serve to begin the rally, they are awarded the serve instead.