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How to Play Racquetball

written by: Carmen Tomas • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 6/29/2011

Are you looking for a fast-paced fun and enjoyable work out? Learn how to play racquetball and enjoy the many benefits that this sport offers.

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    Racquetball is a sport that is a combination of tennis, squash and handball. It is a fast-paced sport and can be played in singles and doubles like the sports previously mentioned. Joe Sobek, also commonly referred to as the “The Father of Racquetball” is the known inventor of the sport, which he originally named paddle rackets.

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    How To Play

    Since this sport is derived from other racket-type sports and games, the rules have more or less been adapted from those sports with a few alterations to suit the game. The basic goal of the game is to hit the ball so that your opponent does not have a chance to hit it back or return the serve before it bounces twice on the floor.

    You may return the serve by hitting the ball off against any surface, the four walls, ceiling or the floor as long as you get to the ball before its’ second bounce on the floor.

    The players are required to face the same direction. The racquetball court is divided into two zones; the service zone where the player stand to serve the ball and the receiving zone where the opponent places himself to return the serve. The specifications of a standard racquetball court are:

    • 20 feet wide by 40 feet long
    • The court must be 20 feet high
    • Back wall must be at least 12 feet high
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    Rules of Racquetball

    The first player to serve is determined by tossing a coin. The server initiates play by hitting the serve into the front wall (ball must first bounce on floor in the server zone when it leaves the hand and then hit by the racquet) One basic rule of serving is the ball must hit the front wall first and rebound back crossing the short line into the receiver zone. The ball is allowed to hit one side wall but no more.

    If the ball is in play (serve is valid) the opponent must return it by striking the ball after the first bounce or on the fly but not after it touches the floor the second time. The serve may be returned directly to the front wall or after rebounding off the side or back walls, ceiling or any combination of the mentioned surfaces. It must hit the front wall before touching the floor. Failure by the receiver to return the serve will result to a point for the server. Note that only the server can score points by winning a rally.

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    Apparel

    Protective goggles are a requirement when playing racquetball. Most gym clubs will have extras for you to use but to be sure you will have something to use; bring your own. Use clothing that you are comfortable to move around in and wear shoes that provide good traction. Racquetball players recommend gum-soled athletic shoes but if you already own tennis shoes then they will do just fine. You may rent a racquet at most clubs but if you want to purchase one, the least expensive costs around twenty dollars.

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    Other Information

    • The average duration of a game is 20 minutes
    • Racquetball is a good cardio workout. It has both aerobic and anerobic benefits
    • You can burn calories ranging from 600-790 calories per hour when playing racquetball.