Racquetball Rules

A Beginner's Guide to the Rules and Regulations of Racquetball

Racquetball is not very difficult to learn. So if you're interested in playing racquetball, you better read these rules before you play.
Racquetball is a racquet sport in which competitors stand on either side of a court and use a racquet to hit and return a ball. It can be played by two people (singles) or four people (doubles). A single match of racquetball consists of 2 games of 15 points each. If each side wins 1 game, then a third game is played for 11 points. Racquetball rules revolve around servers, receivers, and scoring. Read this article to understand the simple rules and you'll soon be playing like a pro!

The Serve
The serve in racquetball is similar to tennis. The server is the person who serves the ball to the opposing person/team. The server is decided by the toss of a coin. In a doubles' game, the first server remains the server throughout the game. The rules regarding serves are as follows.
  • The server will not serve until the receiver is ready.
  • The server can bounce the ball within the service zone (the area marked from the outer border and the service line) only thrice before serving.
  • The serve must be such that it bounces on the serving zone floor once, touches the server's racquet and then crosses the short (center line dividing the court) and proceeds to the front wall.
  • Any other path that the ball may take as a result of the serve may be disqualified as a defective serve.
  • These defective serves are deadball serves (hits the partner, impedes the eyeshot of the returning side or hits a random part of the court), fault serves (server or partner move out of service zone before the serve is completed, the ball does not cross the short line, hits the ceiling, reaches the back wall directly or goes out of the court) and out serves (server bounces ball more than thrice before serving, server misses to strike the ball in the first attempt, ball hits partner of server or any other part of the court before crossing the short line and in case of doubles, if a server serves out of order/turn).
Returning the Serve
Once the server has served, the game continues by the receiving team, which returns the serve. The receiving side must keep the following points in mind while returning the serve.
  • The receiver cannot hit the ball unless it crosses the short line.
  • The receiver must be careful that no part of his body or his racquet crosses the receiving line, which is clearly marked on his side of the court.
  • The only instance in which the receiver or his racquet can go beyond the receiving line (without breaking the short line's plane), is, if the ball has been hit by him after rebounding from the back wall.
  • When a receiver identifies and the referee calls a defective serve, the receiver must not strike the ball.
  • The receiver must hit the ball after the first bounce after it crosses the short line or when it is on the fly (in the air before first bounce). No more than 1 bounce in the receiving side is permitted before returning the serve.
Scoring
According to the official rules of USA Racquetball, only the serving side can score points. This is done when it wins a rally (a continuous, uninterrupted play). A rally is lost if the following take place.
  • The striker bounces the ball more than once before serving.
  • A person switches the racquet holding hand.
  • The ball hits any of the players.
  • The ball goes into any area that is outside the marked court.
  • A player misjudges the velocity of the ball and it hits him.
  • A player carries or slings the ball with the racquet.
  • A penalty hinder takes place.
  • Hinders are any occurrences that put the game on hold. They may be avoidable (moving enough to let a partner take a shot, player being hit by ball after it is hit by his partner or when a player gets rough with an opponent) or dead ball (explained above).
  • The ball hits the front wall, not on the fly, but by a player of the opposing team.
  • If it is discovered that a player is not using a wrist safety cord.
These were the rules of racquetball in a nutshell. You'll get good only with practice and you'll get practice only after knowing the rules. So now that the first step is complete, go out there and enjoy this sport thoroughly!
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