Understanding The Basic Rules Of Racquetball

Making its debut in 1948, racquetball has grown in popularity amongst both young and older generations. Unfortunately, many people don't know the basic rules of racquetball. It can be played in three different ways. Two players can compete in Singles, teams of two players each can compete in Doubles and three players can play against each other in Cut Throat. Singles and Doubles are the most popular ways to play the game. With the exception of the serve, the rules of racquetball for both types of play are nearly identical.

Singles And Doubles Serve

In singles, the server serves from anywhere in the service zone (a 5' x 20' area that begins 15' from the front wall). Stepping on the line is permitted. The server is required to remain in the service zone until the ball has passed the "short line" (the line forming the back perimeter of the service zone 20' from the back wall). The ball must bounce once in the service zone before the server can make the initial contact. After contact, the ball must strike the front wall first, rebounding to hit the floor between the short line and back wall.

The main point of note for doubles play is that the server's partner's back must be placed against one of the side walls with both feet on the ground inside the service box. The partner must remain in this position until the ball has passed the short line immediately following the serve.

Returning The Serve

The receiving player cannot hit the ball after the serve until the ball has passed the short line. Once it has done so, the receiver must hit the ball before it bounces a second time. To make a "legal return," the receiver's return ball must hit the front wall before bouncing. This can be done by using the side, back walls and even the ceiling.

Starting And Ending Rallies

Each legal return result in a rally. Players alternate returning the ball during rallies until an illegal shot takes place. During rallies, only the returning player can make contact with the ball. Both players attempt to earn points by causing the returning player to miss a shot or make an illegal return. When this happens, the rally ends.

Understanding Hinders

There are two types of hinders, both of which cause play to stop. First, "dead ball" hinders are typically called by a referee. These generally happen when a reasonably-unavoidable event occurs (running into an opponent, a return that strikes an opponent prior to hitting the front wall, etc.). Such hinders cause a replay. Second, "avoidable" hinders result in a point being awarded or an out being called. As the name implies, such hinders include shoving an opponent during rallies, purposely blocking an opponent's shot, etc.

Getting Ready To Play

After playing a few games, you'll likely find the rules of racquetball are easy to remember. The key rules are that only the player serving can score a point. Also, the ball must always hit the front wall before touching the ground on returns. Finally, the ball can only hit the ground once before a legal return is required. Once you understand these basic rules of racquetball, you're ready to begin playing.