Differences Between Racquetball And Racketball

While Americans play racquetball, the British have their own version of the game. Ian Wright, inspired by Joe Sobek's racquetball in the United States, created the British version in 1976. Simply called "racketball," England's version is modeled heavily from the American version. However, there are a few differences between the two games. This article will briefly explore the differences between racquetball in the U.S. and racketball in the U.K., hopefully providing some insight into why both sports are played.

Different Sizes Of Balls

Racquetball and racketball use different types of balls. One of the key elements of the American version is the quick pace of the ball. In fact, based on feedback received from people exposed to Sobek's creation in the 1940's, Sobek went in pursuit of a ball specifically designed to be lightweight and would offer a high level of bounce. This ball has become a cornerstone of racquetball. On the other hand, the British version uses a smaller ball. The ball has more density and offers less bounce than the ball used in the U.S. As a result, racketball tends to be a slightly less dynamic sport than racquetball.

Different Court Dimensions

Another difference between the two sports is the size of the court on which the games are played. In America, racquetball is played on a rectangular court that is forty feet long, twenty feet from floor to ceiling and twenty feet across. British racketball is played on a squash court. This court is only thirty-two feet long, eight feet shorter than its American counterpart. The squash court is also twenty-one feet wide, twelve inches wider than the racquetball courts in the U.S.

Ceiling Counts In America

The last item of note regarding the courts used in American racquetball and British racketball involves the ceiling. In the U.S., players may hit the ball using the ceiling to rebound. In England, the ceiling is considered out of bounds and cannot be used by the players to make a legal return.

Scoring Differences Between The U.S. And The U.K.

Though American racquetball and British racketball are often played with identical scoring systems, it's not uncommon for players to agree to rules that award points differently. Often, players of both versions of the game will agree to award points only when a player ends a rally after having served the ball. That is, if a player wins a rally after his opponent has served, the winner of the rally is merely awarded the serve, not the point. However, British racketball is occasionally played where a point is awarded to the winner of a rally regardless of whether that player served the ball.

Final Thoughts

American racquetball and British racketball are very similar sports. With the exception of a few differences, most elements exist in both games. Strategy is similar. Service is similar. Rallying is similar. However, the dimensions of the courts used in the U.S. and U.K. are slightly different. The balls used during play are also different. Occasionally, the scoring system used in both games can award points in a different manner. But, despite their minor differences, both racquetball and racketball have fans who appreciate each sport's quick pace, excitement and physical demands.