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Racquetball Tips & Advice

Updated on December 4, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

I've played racquetball for over 25 years. I've played in many tournaments, winning championships, and at best, ranking in the top three.

Glass Courts

Pro Player Alejandro Herrea

Keep it simple

When new players first watch the game, they feel overwhelmed by all the random motion in such a small court. If you have ever watched a game, you know that it looks more complex than it appears. Understanding the basics of racquetball is the key to keeping the game simple and fun for a great workout.

The first thing to understand is that racquetball games include two people on the court which are singles and four people we call doubles. If you have three people, we call the game cut-throat, which is a non-tournament game. You score points when serving the ball. It is side out when you lose your serve. In playing doubles, each player serves before it is their side out with a coined term ``half-out" when the first partner loses his serve. But, the team to serve first in a game gets only one side out for the very first serve of the game. The remaining serves of the game both players serve when it is their time to serve. The first side to win two games to 15 points wins the match. If both sides have one win, then a tiebreaker occurs to 11 points. The winner of the tiebreaker wins the match.

Racquetball Court

Four Walls

Racquetball is played on a court with four walls, two are 40 feet in length and two are 20 feet in width, with a ceiling height of 20 feet. The court may feel small but don`t let that bother you. As you learn the game, keep in mind the walls never move, only the players and the ball move. You will notice the court floor is made of wood with red or black lines. The court lines mark the receiving line, drive serve lines, service line and short line. These lines tell you where the serving area, serving boxes and receiving area are located.

Hit the Ball

Racquets are similar to tennis racquets but are smaller. They include grommets (bumper guards) and handles with a nylon rope to secure the wrist to the racquet. Flying racquets are not allowed in the game. It is very important that every player wears eye protective gear not prescription glasses, but eyewear designed for racquetball.

In order to get familiar with the racquetball rules and the game, beginners need to just hit the ball around on the court and even attend an hour clinic to get some guidance. When you improve and feel more confident, you can play in a tournament. In Tournaments the game is more formal and rules must be applied.

Right Equipment

At the start of each racquetball game, there`s a coin toss. The winner chooses to either serve or receive the first game of the match. At the second game, the player who served first is the receiver. The player or team that scores the most points in the first two games chooses to serve or receive at the start of the tiebreaker. A coin toss determines the problem if each player or team scores equal points in the first and second game. For everyday games, players lag. Lag is when players stand at the back of the court and hit a rebounding ball from the front wall closest to the serving line before it bounces. The closest one to the line gets to serve first, or offer the other player or team to go first as a polite gesture.

The key to learning how to play racquetball is to have the right equipment and practice by hitting the play around on the court. It`s a fun game and a great workout for any level of player. My next article on racquetball will tell you more about serving and rallying the ball around the court. Racquetball is a great sport. Thanks for being interested in the game. I love it and hope you do, too.

Which Racquet?

You rather play tennis or racquetball?

See results

Greens for Racquetball

After or before a racquetball game, I love green smoothies because my body does so well after I've had one. They are easy to prepare, and kids love them after a sports event, too.

Smoothies are so much better than juicing your vegetables by the way. The fiber stays intact, which is where you get your antioxidants and nutrients.

© 2015 Kenna McHugh


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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      10 days ago from Northern California

      Zia, I played squash once. The ball bounces slower than the racquetball ball. My timing was way off because I was so used to the speed of racquetball. The magnus effect still applies to each sport. Tennis, I've played many times. Being outdoors is what I like about tennis compared to racquetball.

    • aziza786 profile image

      Zia Uddin 

      10 days ago from Birmingham

      Great hub. I played squash when i was a kid, almost similar to racketball or racquetball lol. I wasnt very keen on the game but i did like tennis. If I knew about the 'magnus effect', i would have been a tennis champion. Thanks for sharing this, just reminds of my school days.


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