Racquetball
Overview
 
For other sports often called "paddleball", see Paddleball (sport)
Paddleball (sport)
Paddle ball is a one-person toy played with an attached ball and paddle.Paddleball may also refer to:*Beach tennis, also known as "beach paddle ball" or "beach paddleball"*Matkot, also known as "Beach paddleball" or "kadima"*One wall paddleball...

.


Racquetball is a racquet sport
Racquet sport
Racquet sports are those where players use racquets to hit a ball or other object.-List of racquet sports:* Badminton* Ball badminton* Basque pelota** Frontenis** Jai alai* Beach tennis** Matkot* Bilbocatch* Frescoball* Lacrosse...

 played with a hollow rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 ball
Ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

 in an indoor or outdoor court. Joe Sobek is credited with inventing the modern sport of racquetball in 1950 (the outdoor, one-wall game goes back to at least 1910 in N.Y.C.), adding a stringed racquet to paddleball
Four wall paddleball
Four-wall paddleball, or simply "paddleball" is a popular court sport in the upper Midwest, particularly in Michigan and Wisconsin, on the West Coast of the U.S., particularly in Southern California, and in the Memphis, Tennessee, area...

 in order to increase velocity and control. Unlike most racquet sports, such as tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 and badminton
Badminton
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players or two opposing pairs , who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their...

, there is no net to hit the ball over, and unlike squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 no tin (out of bounds area at the bottom of front wall) to hit the ball above.
Encyclopedia
For other sports often called "paddleball", see Paddleball (sport)
Paddleball (sport)
Paddle ball is a one-person toy played with an attached ball and paddle.Paddleball may also refer to:*Beach tennis, also known as "beach paddle ball" or "beach paddleball"*Matkot, also known as "Beach paddleball" or "kadima"*One wall paddleball...

.


Racquetball is a racquet sport
Racquet sport
Racquet sports are those where players use racquets to hit a ball or other object.-List of racquet sports:* Badminton* Ball badminton* Basque pelota** Frontenis** Jai alai* Beach tennis** Matkot* Bilbocatch* Frescoball* Lacrosse...

 played with a hollow rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 ball
Ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

 in an indoor or outdoor court. Joe Sobek is credited with inventing the modern sport of racquetball in 1950 (the outdoor, one-wall game goes back to at least 1910 in N.Y.C.), adding a stringed racquet to paddleball
Four wall paddleball
Four-wall paddleball, or simply "paddleball" is a popular court sport in the upper Midwest, particularly in Michigan and Wisconsin, on the West Coast of the U.S., particularly in Southern California, and in the Memphis, Tennessee, area...

 in order to increase velocity and control. Unlike most racquet sports, such as tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 and badminton
Badminton
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players or two opposing pairs , who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their...

, there is no net to hit the ball over, and unlike squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 no tin (out of bounds area at the bottom of front wall) to hit the ball above. Also, the court's walls, floor, and ceiling are legal playing surfaces, with the exception of court-specific designated hinders being out-of-bounds.

United States

Joe Sobek is credited with inventing the sport of racquetball in the Greenwich
Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 61,171. It is home to many hedge funds and other financial service companies. Greenwich is the southernmost and westernmost municipality in Connecticut and is 38+ minutes ...

 YMCA
YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

, though not with naming it. A professional tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 and handball
American handball
American handball is a sport in which players hit a small rubber ball against a wall using their hands.- History :...

 player, Sobek sought a fast-paced sport that was easy to learn and play. He designed the first strung paddle, devised a set of rules, based on those of squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

, handball, and paddleball, and named his game paddle rackets.

In February 1952 Sobek founded the National Paddle Rackets Association (NPRA), codified the rules, and had them printed as a booklet. The new sport was rapidly adopted and became popular through Sobek's continual promotion of it; he was aided by the existence of some 40,000 handball courts in the country's YMCA
YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

s and JCCs
Jewish Community Center
A Jewish Community Center or Jewish Community Centre is a general recreational, social and fraternal organization serving the Jewish community in a number of cities...

, wherein racquetball could be played.

In 1969, aided by Robert W. Kendler, the president-founder of the U.S. Handball Association (USHA), the International Racquetball Association (IRA) was founded using the name coined by Bob McInerney, a professional tennis player. That same year, the IRA assumed the national championship from the National Paddle Rackets Association (NPRA). In 1973, after a dispute with the IRA board of directors, Kendler formed two other racquetball organizations, yet the IRA remains the sport's dominant organization, recognized by the United States Olympic Committee
United States Olympic Committee
The United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that serves as the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States and coordinates the relationship between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and various...

 as the American national racquetball governing body.

In 1974, the IRA organized the first professional tournament, and is a founding member of the International Racquetball Federation (IRF). Eventually, the IRA became the American Amateur Racquetball Association (AARA); in late 1995, it renamed itself as the United States Racquetball Association (USRA). In 2003, the USRA again renamed itself to USA Racquetball (USAR), to mirror other Olympic sports
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 associations.

Kendler used his publication ACE to promote both handball and racquetball. Starting in the 1970s, and aided by the fitness
Physical fitness
Physical fitness comprises two related concepts: general fitness , and specific fitness...

 boom of that decade, the sport's popularity increased to an estimated 3.1 million players by 1974. Consequent to increased demand, racquetball clubs and courts were founded and built, and sporting goods manufacturers began producing racquetball-specific equipment. This growth continued until the early 1980s, and declining in the decade's latter part when racquet clubs converted to physical fitness clubs, in service to a wider clientele, adding aerobics exercise classes and physical fitness and bodybuilding machines. Since then, the number of racquetball players has remained steady, an estimated 5.6 million players.

United Kingdom

In 1976, Ian D.W. Wright created the sport of racketball based on U.S. racquetball. British racketball is played in a 32 feet (9.8 m) long by 21 feet (6.4 m) wide squash court (8 feet (2.4 m) shorter and 1 foot (0.3048 m) wider than the U.S. racquetball court), using a smaller, less dynamic ball than the American racquetball. In racketball, the ceiling is out-of-bounds. The racketball is served after a bounce on the floor then struck into play with the racket. Scoring is like squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 with point-a-rally scoring of up to 11 points. Full rules can be found at England Squash and Racketball. The British Racketball Association was formed on 13 February 1984, and confirmed by the English Sports Council as the sport's governing body on 30 October 1984. The first National Racketball Championship was held in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on 1 December 1984. The sport is now played in countries where squash is played, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Malaysia, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Currently, racketball also is played in parts of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

In 1988, the British Racketball Association merged with the English Squash Rackets Association. England Squash & Racketball
England Squash & Racketball
England Squash & Racketball is recognised by Sport England as the English National governing body of the sports of Squash & RacketballIt aims to increase participation in both Squash & Racketball...

 is now recognised by Sport England
Sport England
Sport England is the brand name for the English Sports Council and is a non-departmental public body under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

 as the English national governing body of the sports of squash and racketball. There is now an established UK Racketball Tournament Series consisting of 8 events around the UK, which forms the basis of the national rankings along with the National Racketball championships held annually at The Edgebaston Priory Club.

Governing bodies

The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) governs the World Racquetball Championships
Racquetball World Championships
The World Racquetball Championships, organized by the International Racquetball Federation , were first held in 1981. The second World Championships were in 1984, and have been held every two years since.The World Championships have two parts...

, which were first held in 1981 in conjunction with the first World Games
World Games
The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games...

. The second World Championships were played in 1984, and since then have been held biennially in August. Players from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 have won the most World Championship titles.

The IRF also runs the World Junior Racquetball Championships that occur annually in December, as well as the annual World Senior Racquetball Championships for players who are 35 years of age or older.

Racquetball has been included in the World Games
World Games
The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games...

 on four occasions: 1981, 1989, 1993 and 2009. Racquetball has been included in the Pan American Games
Pan American Games
The Pan-American or Pan American Games are a major event in the Americas featuring summer and formerly winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Pan American Games are the second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics...

 in 1995, 1999, and 2003, and is expected to be part of the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara
Guadalajara
Guadalajara may refer to:In Mexico:*Guadalajara, Jalisco, the capital of the state of Jalisco and second largest city in Mexico**Guadalajara Metropolitan Area*University of Guadalajara, a public university in Guadalajara, Jalisco...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 won the bid to host the 2015 Pan Am Games, and they plan to have racquetball on the program.

There are three professional racquetball organizations. The International Racquetball Tour
International Racquetball Tour
The International Racquetball Tour is the professional series that features the world's best racquetball players and the most important pro events, mostly played in the USA....

 (IRT) is the men's professional organization. IRT tournaments occur usually in the USA, with some events occurring in Mexico and Canada. The Women's Profesional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) is the women's professional organization, while the Classic Pro Racquetball Tour (CPRT) is for players 40 and older who were pro players at younger ages.

Equipment

This court and equipment are required for playing racquetball:
  • A racquetball court; fully enclosed indoor or outdoor with a front wall. The standard racquetball court is rectangular: 40 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 20 feet high with red lines defining the service and serve reception areas.


The "service box" is formed by the short line - a solid red line running the court's width parallel to the front and back walls at a distance of 20 feet - and the service line parallels the short line and is 15 feet from the front wall. Within the service box there are two sets of lines perpendicular to the short and service lines.

One set of lines is 18 inches from, and parallel to, the side walls. Along with the short line, service line, and side wall these lines define the doubles box, where the non-serving doubles partner stands during the serve; 36 inches from the side wall is another set of lines which, along with the short line and the service line, define an area that the server must not enter if he wishes to hit a drive serve between himself and the nearest side wall. The receiving line is a parallel dashed line 5 feet behind the short line.

Other equipment needed:
  • A racquetball; a dynamic (bouncy) rubber ball of 2.25 in. (57 mm) diameter
  • A racquetball racquet; no longer than 22 inches
  • Racquetball eyeguards (mandatory during competitions; some recreational players play without eyeguards but this is not recommended, as being hit in the eye by the ball can cause permanent vision damage).

Racquetball differs from other racquet sports as most competitive players wear a glove on their racquet hand for the purpose of getting a better grip on the racquet (similar to golfers using a glove when driving), but gloves are optional equipment. Also, players usually wear a comfortable short sleeved shirt and shorts, as well as racquetball court shoes designed for enabling quick lateral as well as forward and backward movement.

Racquetballs are manufactured in a variety of colors, and some are for specific purposes (e.g., outdoor play vs. indoor play), but the differences are unlikely to make much difference for recreational play. Racquetballs do break occasionally, and will lose their bounce over time even without breaking.

Rules

Play begins with the serve. The serving player must bounce the ball on the floor once and hit it directly to the front wall, making the ball hit the floor beyond the short line; otherwise the serve counts as a fault. The ball may touch one side wall, but not two, prior to hitting the floor; hitting both side walls after the front wall (but before the floor) is a "three wall serve," and a fault. Also, serving the ball into the front wall so that it rebounds to the back wall without hitting the floor first is a long serve, and a fault.

Other fault serves include a ceiling serve in which the ball touches the ceiling after the front wall and serving before the receiving player is ready. Also, the server must wait until the ball passes the short line before stepping out of the service box, otherwise it is a fault serve.

If the server hits the ball directly to any surface other than the front wall the server immediately loses serve regardless of whether it was first or second serve.

After the ball bounces behind the short line, or passes the receiving line, the ball is in play and the opposing player(s) may play it.

Usually, the server is allowed two opportunities (called first serve and second serve) to put the ball into play (two serve rule), although elite level competitions often allow the server only one opportunity (one serve rule).

After a successful serve, players alternate hitting the ball against the front wall. The player returning the hit may allow the ball to bounce once on the floor or hit the ball on the fly. However, once the player returning the shot has hit the ball, either before bouncing on the floor or after one bounce, it must strike the front wall before it hits the floor. Unlike during the serve, a ball in play may touch as many walls, including the ceiling, as necessary so long as it reaches the front wall without striking the floor.

Hinders

Due to the nature of the game, players often occupy the space their opponent(s) want(s) to occupy. This may result in a player blocking his opponent's ability to play the ball. Such occurrences are termed either hinders or penalty hinders. A hinder is a replay of the current rally, while a penalty hinder results in the player who caused the avoidable obstruction to lose the rally. A type of hinder is a screen in which the player is unable to see the ball prior to it passing the opponent.

The difference between a hinder and a penalty hinder (or formerly an avoidable hinder) is that in the latter case a player has missed out on a clear opportunity to make a rally-winning shot due to the obstruction by the player's opponent, while in the former case the opportunity missed would not clearly have led to a winning shot. This difference is almost always a judgment call by the referee (if available).

There is also a "court" hinder in which some part of the playing field caused the ball to bounce untrue. Often this is the door frame or (recessed) handle or a flaw in the floor or walls. In this case, the rally is a re-serve.

Scoring

Points can only be scored by the serving player or serving team in a doubles game, and points are the result of winning a rally that began with a successful serve.

During play, a player loses the rally if any one of the following occurs:
  1. The ball bounces on the floor more than once before being struck.
  2. The ball does not reach the front wall on the fly.
  3. The ball flies into the spectator's gallery or wall opening or strikes an out-of-bounds surface above the court's normal playing area [cf. Rule 2.1(a)].
  4. A slow ball strikes another player without the estimated speed and/or direction to strike the front wall.
  5. A ball struck by a player hits that player or that player's partner.
  6. A penalized hindrance [cf. Rule 3.15].
  7. Switching racquet hands during a rally.
  8. Touching the ball with either the body or uniform.
  9. Carrying or slinging the ball with the racquet.


Under USA Racquetball rules, matches are best of three games with the first two games to 15 points and a third game to 11 points, if necessary. USA Racquetball rules do not require players to win by two, so a match score line could read 15-14, 14-15, 11-10. Racquetball Canada matches are also the best of three format, but require a winning margin of at least two points.

International competitions run by the International Racquetball Federation are like the USA Racquetball scoring system: two games to 15 with a tie-breaker to 11, if necessary, and win by 1. However, the men's and women's pro tours play matches that are the best-of-five games to 11 points, requiring a two-point margin for victory.

Game variations

Racquetball games can be played with two, three or four players, with doubles or singles matches being most common. Two player games are called singles or "one-up" (1 vs. 1 for the entire game), while four player games are doubles with two pairs playing against each other (2 vs. 2 for the entire game). Tournament competitions have divisions for singles or doubles or both.

Three-player games are most commonly called "Cut-throat" and sometimes "Ironman" (2-on-1 for the entire game) where each player takes turns serving to the other two, who play as a team against the serving player. Another 3 player game is "California," "In-and-Out," or "King of the Court" where play is 1 vs. 1 with the third player remaining in the back court out of play while the other two play a rally; the rally winner then serves to the player who was sitting out, and the rally loser stays out of play. Another 3 player variation is "Sevens" in which one player plays against two players as a team, with the game being played to 7 points; if the two player team gets to 7 first, the game is over, but if the solo player gets to 7 first then the game continues to 14; if the solo player again reaches 14 first, then the game continues to 21, where the game ends regardless of whether the solo player or the two player team reach 21 first.

Service

Serve style varies drastically from player to player. Generally, they are divided into two types: offensive and defensive. Most players use an offensive serve for the first serve, and a defensive serve if they need to hit a second serve. Of the offensive serves, the most common is the drive. The intention with this serve is for the ball to travel low and fast towards either back corner, and to bounce twice before striking either side wall or the back wall. If the opponent is adjusting to the drive serve, the server will throw in any variety of jam serves.

A jam serve is an offensive serve which attempts to catch the opponent off balance by making use of difficult angles and unfrequented play space. The most common jam serve is the Z-serve, which strikes the front wall close to a side wall. The ball bounces quickly off the side wall, then strikes the floor and then the opposite side wall about 30–35 feet back. Depending upon the spin the server gives the Z-serve, the resulting carom may prove unpredictable and difficult to return. Side spin may cause the ball to bounce parallel to the back wall.

A pinch serve is similar to a drive serve; however, the ball strikes a side wall very low and close to the serving box. With the appropriate spin, the ball has little bounce, and is difficult to return. It is possible that a successful serve would strike the sidewall before the short line, and land on the floor after the short line.

If the player faults on the first serve, they will usually hit a defensive serve. Defensive serves do not usually garner aces, but they are designed to generate a weak return by the opponent, thereby setting up the server to win the point. Most defensive serves are any variety of lob serves. A plain lob serve is a ball hit with a long, high arch into either back corner. The goal is to hit the ball so that it lands as close as possible to the back wall, giving the opponent very little room to hit a solid return. A junk lob takes a shallower arch, and lands close to the side wall somewhere between the dotted line and the back wall. This lob is intended to deceive the opponent into thinking he has an easy kill. However, since the ball is in the deep zone, it will more likely set up the server for an offensive shot.

Offensive shots

Straight-in shots are usually meant to hit the front wall as low as possible. If the ball contacts the front wall so low as to bounce twice before it reaches the service line it is called a "kill" shot. Straight-in shots are normally attempted with the idea of hitting toward the area of the court the opponent cannot cover. Straight-in shots hit where the opponent can't return them are called down-the-line and cross court passing shots. Often kill shots are returned very close to the back wall as the ball is moving towards the front wall.

Pinches and splats are shots that strike the side wall before the front wall. This often makes the ball bounce twice quickly to end the rally. Pinches normally strike the side wall towards the front part of the court, often within a few inches from the front wall.

The "splat" shot is an elongated pinch that strikes the side wall towards the back part of the court. It often makes a distinctive splatting sound. A very disorienting shot named the "rayjay splat" after Ray Johnson, a Wyoming state champion, who consistently used this shot by smashing the ball into the sidewall at such an angle that it would "Z" into the opposite front wall, arriving with such minimum momentum that it would "die" at the front wall and not rebound as expected. The best defense is to listen for the splat and anticipate the ball action. The advantage to a splat shot, beyond an unpredictable angle, is that it creates a longer distance to travel forward for the opponent who is held between a tension of going forward and staying back because of velocity of passing shots.

Pinches are classified as frontside or reverse. A right-handed player shooting a forehand shot to the right front corner is shooting a frontside pinch. A right-handed player shooting to the left front corner is a reverse pinch. A right-handed player shoots a backhand frontside pinch to the left corner and a reverse double pinch to the right corner. Everything for a left-handed player would be the opposite.

The dink is another very effective offensive shot designed to end the point. It is a shot very low to the front wall hit very softly so as to bounce twice before the opponent can get to it. Dinks are most effective when the opponent is positioned deep in the court.

Another important shot type is the "Z" shot. This shot is effective at confusing and tiring out your opponent. To hit a "Z" shot one hits the side wall hard and up high causing the ball to hit the front then the other side wall then back to the original side wall. If done correctly, the path of the ball will be Z shaped. This shot can have confusing bounces which can frustrate opponents. If done correctly, a "Z" shot will apply spin to the ball as well on the final bounce, causing it to rebound perpendicular to the second wall and fall parallel to the back wall, the closer the better. This makes the "Z" shot very difficult to return.

An interesting and surprise attack shot is the "CB Pinch", named after Charlie Beram, a Colorado state champion who is credited with this unique style. The CB Pinch occurs where the player responds to a ceiling shot quickly, in front of the service line and right after the floor bounce. The shot is basically a redirected floor bounce (knee to waist high), where the ball is directed very softly but quickly to either corner from a position in front of the service line. The fact that the shot is taken right after a ceiling shot-floor bounce usually leaves the opponent in the rear of the court defenseless against the CB Pinch, when the player has suddenly rushed forward to take the shot.

Defensive shots

Defensive shots are defined as shots which are not returned low to the front wall.

The ceiling ball shot is the primary defensive shot. This is a shot that strikes the ceiling at or near the front wall. The ball will bounce once in the forecourt and should then travel in a high arc to arrive as close to, and as vertical to, the back wall. Often this is aimed at the corner which would require a backhand return by the opponent. This makes it difficult for the opponent to return the ball as he cannot make a full arc of the racquet. However, if the ball comes down too long or too short of the back wall, this can allow the opponent a kill shot.

Another defensive shot is the high Z. Used when the defensive player is near the front wall, the high Z is hit ten feet high or higher into the front wall near a corner. The ball then bounces from the side wall all the way to the opposite side wall, usually traveling over the top of the opponent, hitting the opposite side wall with spin. The spin will cause the ball to leave the opposite wall almost perpendicular to it. This may confuse inexperienced opponents but importantly, if very close to and parallel to the rear wall, makes for a difficult return shot.

The "around the world" or "3 wall" defensive shot is hit like a pinch shot but high on the wall toward the ceiling. It travels around the court in a high trajectory and is an alternative to hitting a ceiling ball.

Two other defensive shots are used but are less effective. If the defensive player is in the backcourt but unable to position himself for a non-defensive shot, he may need to hit the ball off of the back wall. The ball often returns without much force and is easily returned. The round-the-world shot is hit high into the side wall first so the ball then hits the front wall and then the other side wall, effectively circling the court. It can be easily cut off and is rarely used anymore.

Strategy

The primary strategy of racquetball is to command the center of the court just at or behind the dashed receiving line. This allows the player to move as quickly as possible to all areas of the court and limit open court areas which are difficult to defend. After a shot, return quickly to center court. The antithesis of this is to be against a wall which severely limits the player's movement and allows the opponent an open court.

Keep an eye on the opponent by glancing sideways to anticipate his return shot and move appropriately in the court. Learn the typical return shots of the opponent and move appropriately in the court for a return shot. Attempt to not be predictable with your return shots.

Other more obvious strategies are to keep the returned ball as low on the front wall as possible, keeping the ball moving fast (limiting reaction time) and to keep your opponent moving away from center court by the use of lobs, cross court shots, and dinks.

Major competitions and players

Organized competitive racquetball began in the 1970s. The best male players of that era were Charlie Brumfield
Charlie Brumfield
Charlie Brumfield is an American attorney and former professional racquetball player as well as a noted paddleball player. For much of his professional racquetball career, Brumfield was the marquis player for Leach Industries, the leading manufacturer of racquetball rackets at the time...

 and Marty Hogan
Marty Hogan (racquetball player)
Marty Hogan is a former American racquetball player who won more than 100 international or national titles and six U.S. national championships during his 14-year career. Hogan was ranked either number one or number two in the world from 1976 to 1990.- Early years :He was born in St...

, as well as Bud Muehleisen
Bud Muehleisen
Bud Muehleisen is a dentist in San Diego, California, and a racquetball and paddleball player. A left-handed player, "Dr. Bud" Muehleisen was the first person inducted into the , and is considered the best racquetball player and the best paddleball player of the 1960s era, and one of the best...

, Jerry Hilecher, Steve Keeley
Steven 'Bo' Keeley
Steven Bo Keeley, born in February 1949, is an American adventurer, naturalist, holistic healer, veterinarian, professional athlete, commodities market consultant, garage publisher, and executive tour guide, who in 2000 left civilization for a desert burrow in southern California, then, in 2009,...

, Davey Bledsoe, Steve Serot and Steve Strandemo. Hogan continued to be a dominant player into the 1980s, and was rivaled on the scene by Brett Harnett, Dave Peck, and Mike Yellen.

In the 1990s, Ruben Gonzalez, Cliff Swain
Cliff Swain
Cliff Swain is the player with the most tournament wins in professional racquetball history. He began playing the pro tour - International Racquetball Tour - in the 1980s and continued doing so into the 2000s. Known for his great drive serve and on court intensity, the left-handed Swain was a...

 and Sudsy Monchik
Sudsy Monchik
Sudsy Monchik , is an American racquetball player. As a five-time Pro World Champion, Monchik is considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the sport. Monchik was known for his power and speed, as well as his shot-making ability, especially his backhand, which many believed...

 dominated pro tournaments, and other great players like Andy Roberts, John Ellis, and Drew Kachtik were often left out of the winner's circle. In the 2000s, Kane Waselenchuk
Kane Waselenchuk
Kane Waselenchuk is a professional racquetball player from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Waselenchuk finished the 2010-11 season as the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour for the 6th time. He was undefeated on court in 2010-11, with only a default loss due to illness. It was the second...

, Jack Huczek
Jack Huczek
Jack Huczek is an American professional racquetball player. Huczek was the #1 men's professional player at the end of the 2006-2007 International Racquetball Tour season, and was #3 at the end of the 2008-09 season. Retired from Professional Racquetball on May 24, 2011...

, Jason Mannino
Jason Mannino
Jason Mannino, born January 28, 1975, is an American racquetball player. Mannino was the #1 player at the end of the 2002-2003 International Racquetball Tour season, and was ranked fifth at the end of the 2008-09 IRT season....

, Ben Croft
Ben Croft
Ben Croft is a professional racquetball player . Croft was the #6 player on the International Racquetball Tour at the end of the 2009-10 season, which was a career high and the fourth season he'd finished in the IRT's top 10 players. A native of Illinois, the right handed Croft has an aggressive...

, and Rocky Carson
Rocky Carson
Rocky Carson is an American professional racquetball player . Carson is the current racquetball World Champion, a title he also won in 2008. Carson was the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour at the end of the 2007-08 season., and finished ranked 3rd at the end of the 2009-10 season...

 have all excelled, but Waselenchuk has been dominant the last two seasons losing only once since September 2008.

The first great woman player was Peggy Steding in the 1970s. She was succeeded by Shannon Wright, who was then rivaled by Heather McKay
Heather McKay
Heather Pamela McKay AM MBE is a retired Australian squash player, who is considered by many to be the greatest female player in the history of the game, and possibly also Australia's greatest-ever sportswoman...

, a great Australian squash player who made the transition to racquetball when living in Canada. McKay then developed a great rivalry with Lynn Adams
Lynn Adams
Lynn Adams was a professional racquetball player. A native of California, Adams was one of the dominant players in the early 1980s, when she had a fierce rivalry with Heather McKay. Adams was the dominant women's professional racquetball player after McKay moved back to her native Australia in the...

, and after McKay moved back to Australia, Adams dominated women's racquetball for the better part of the 1980s.

The 1990s belonged to Michelle Gould
Michelle Gould (racquetball player)
Michelle Gould , born December 22, 1970, was an American racquetball player. She was the dominant player in women's racquetball in the 1990s based on a strong drive serve game...

 (née Gilman) whose drive serve was a huge weapon against her opponents. In the late 1990s and into the 2000s, Jackie Paraiso
Jackie Paraiso
Jackie Paraiso is an American racquetball player. Paraiso was the #1 player on the women's pro racquetball tour at the end of the 1991-92, 1998–99, and 1999-2000 seasons...

 and then Cheryl Gudinas were the dominant players. Then in the mid-2000s, Christie Van Hees
Christie Van Hees
Christie Van Hees is a Canadian racquetball player. Van Hees was the number one women's professional player at the end of the 2004-2005, but after playing only two events in the 2008-09 Women's Professional Racquetball Organization , fell to #19.- Professional career :Van Hees's three US Open...

 and Rhonda Rajsich
Rhonda Rajsich
Rhonda Rajsich is an American racquetball player. She is the reigning two time racquetball World Champion and has won four US Open championships - more than any other woman...

 were the dominant players, but Paola Longoria
Paola Longoria
Paola Michelle Longoria López is a Mexican racquetball player. She is the first Mexican woman to attain the #1 ranking on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization tour, doing so at the end of the 2008-09 season and at the end of 2009-2010 season as well...

 finished #1 at the end of the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons.

US Open

Held annually in October, the US Open
US Open Racquetball Championships
The US Open racquetball championship is widely acknowledged as the premier professional racquetball event. It is a Grand Slam event with men and women competing from the International Racquetball Tour and Women's Professional Racquetball Organization, respectively. It also includes divisions for...

 is the most prestigious professional racquetball event. First held in 1996, the US Open was in Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

, Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 until 2010, when it moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, where it will be also be in 2011. In men's play, Kane Waselenchuk
Kane Waselenchuk
Kane Waselenchuk is a professional racquetball player from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Waselenchuk finished the 2010-11 season as the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour for the 6th time. He was undefeated on court in 2010-11, with only a default loss due to illness. It was the second...

 (Canada) has won the most US Open titles with six ahead of Sudsy Monchik
Sudsy Monchik
Sudsy Monchik , is an American racquetball player. As a five-time Pro World Champion, Monchik is considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the sport. Monchik was known for his power and speed, as well as his shot-making ability, especially his backhand, which many believed...

 (USA) with four, while Jason Mannino
Jason Mannino
Jason Mannino, born January 28, 1975, is an American racquetball player. Mannino was the #1 player at the end of the 2002-2003 International Racquetball Tour season, and was ranked fifth at the end of the 2008-09 IRT season....

 (USA) and Cliff Swain
Cliff Swain
Cliff Swain is the player with the most tournament wins in professional racquetball history. He began playing the pro tour - International Racquetball Tour - in the 1980s and continued doing so into the 2000s. Known for his great drive serve and on court intensity, the left-handed Swain was a...

 (USA) have both won the title twice, and Rocky Carson
Rocky Carson
Rocky Carson is an American professional racquetball player . Carson is the current racquetball World Champion, a title he also won in 2008. Carson was the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour at the end of the 2007-08 season., and finished ranked 3rd at the end of the 2009-10 season...

 (USA) once.

In women's play, Rhonda Rajsich
Rhonda Rajsich
Rhonda Rajsich is an American racquetball player. She is the reigning two time racquetball World Champion and has won four US Open championships - more than any other woman...

 (USA) has won the most US Open titles with four, one more than Christie Van Hees
Christie Van Hees
Christie Van Hees is a Canadian racquetball player. Van Hees was the number one women's professional player at the end of the 2004-2005, but after playing only two events in the 2008-09 Women's Professional Racquetball Organization , fell to #19.- Professional career :Van Hees's three US Open...

 (Canada) with three. Michelle Gould
Michelle Gould (racquetball player)
Michelle Gould , born December 22, 1970, was an American racquetball player. She was the dominant player in women's racquetball in the 1990s based on a strong drive serve game...

 (USA), Cheryl Gudinas (USA) and Jackie Paraiso
Jackie Paraiso
Jackie Paraiso is an American racquetball player. Paraiso was the #1 player on the women's pro racquetball tour at the end of the 1991-92, 1998–99, and 1999-2000 seasons...

 (USA) have each won two US Open titles. Kerri Wachtel
Kerri Wachtel
Kerri Wachtel is an American racquetball player. Wachtel was the #2 women's professional player at the end of the 2006-2007, and was #5 at the end of the 2008-09 Women's Professional Racquetball Organization season...

 (USA) and Paola Longoria
Paola Longoria
Paola Michelle Longoria López is a Mexican racquetball player. She is the first Mexican woman to attain the #1 ranking on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization tour, doing so at the end of the 2008-09 season and at the end of 2009-2010 season as well...

 (Mexico) have each won the title once.

Other championships

Racquetball is included in the Pan American Games
Pan American Games
The Pan-American or Pan American Games are a major event in the Americas featuring summer and formerly winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Pan American Games are the second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics...

, World Games
World Games
The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games...

 and Central American and Caribbean Games
Central American and Caribbean Games
The Central American and Caribbean Games are a multi-sport regional championships event, held quadrennial , typically in the middle year between Summer Olympics...

. Also, the regional associations of the International Racquetball Federation organize their own continental championships: Asian Championships, European Championships
European Racquetball Championships
The European Racquetball Championships are organized every two years by the European Racquetball Federation , since 1981, to determine the strongest national racquetball teams in Europe.- External links :* IRF website* ERF website...

 and Pan American Championships
Pan American Racquetball Championships
The Pan American Racquetball Championships are held annually in the spring with play ending on the day before Easter. Originally called the Tournament of the Americas, the Pan American Championships are hosted by the Pan American Racquetball Confederation....

.

See also

  • List of racquetball players
  • American Handball
    American handball
    American handball is a sport in which players hit a small rubber ball against a wall using their hands.- History :...

  • One wall paddleball
    One wall paddleball
    One Wall Paddleball is an American ball game that consists in hitting a small rubber ball against a single wall by using paddles. It can be played in singles or in doubles . The general rule of the game is that the ball must hit the wall without touching the court floor more than once in order to...

  • Racquet sports
  • Squash
    Squash (sport)
    Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

  • International Racquetball Tour
    International Racquetball Tour
    The International Racquetball Tour is the professional series that features the world's best racquetball players and the most important pro events, mostly played in the USA....

  • Women's Professional Racquetball Organization
    Women's Professional Racquetball Organization
    The Women's Professional Racquetball Organization is the latest name for the women's professional racquetball tour. It features the world's best players and several events each season - running from September to May - that are mostly played in the USA....

  • U.S. intercollegiate racquetball champions

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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