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The Basic Rules of Racquetball
Racquetball can be played three ways. Versions include "Singles
Play" between two players, "Doubles Play" between two teams
of two players each, and "Cut Throat," which involves three
players. Tournament play usually involves either Singles or Doubles play.
Regardless of the type of play, there are basic "Rules of the Game"
Play begins with the server standing in the Service Zone and serving
the ball to his/her opponent(s). To serve, the server must first bounce
the ball and then strike it with the racquet. The ball is put into play
after making contact with the Play Wall first and then passing into the
rear half of the court. In it's flight, the ball may strike one side wall,
but no more. If it hits three surfaces including the ceiling or back wall
before bouncing, the serve is not good (called one fault) and the ball
is not in play.
Also, a serve that does not carry beyond the Short Line of the Service
Zone is also not good (fault). Additionally, the ball cannot hit a side
wall, floor or ceiling before the Play Wall when attempting to serve.
The server is given two opportunities to put the ball into play. If the
server hits two faults in a row, the player returning serve takes over
in the service zone and the original server assumes the return of a serve
The Return of Serve
To return serve, stand in the middle of the court (equal distance between
each side wall) approximately one arm and racquets length away from the
backwall. Return serve by striking the ball before the second bounce.
The ball must travel to the Play Wall for it to be a good return of serve.
The ball may hit ANY surface except the floor on the return as long as
it hits the Play Wall before bouncing.
Once the ball is in play, each player alternates hitting the ball until
one misses the ball or hits an illegal shot. Players try to earn points
or win the serve by putting an end to a rally. Often this is done when
a player's shot hits the front wall at its lowest point, causing the ball
to roll out, rather than bounce back into the playing area (called a killshot
or rollout). Points are also earned when rallies end with an error, or
a "Skip Ball," i.e. when the ball makes contact with the floor
before reaching the Play Wall.
Once the ball is in play, the walls and ceiling can be used for shot
variations. Points are scored when after serving the ball, the server
wins the rally. If the player returning serve wins the rally, the result
is a sideout, no points are scored for either player and the player who
won the rally gets to serve. Whoever wins the rally always serves next.
Matches are typically two games to 15 points and a tiebreaker to 11 if
Hinders are stoppages of play, and result in the replay of the point.
It is your responsibility to give your opponent enough room to hit the
shot the way they want to hit. You must hive them a straight shot to the
front wall as well as the angle, which would result in a crosscourt shot
to the opposite back corner. Typical hinders are:
- A ball striking any part of the court, which results in an erratic
rebound (fan vents, door knob, lights, etc.)
- Accidentally hitting opponent with the ball as it is heading toward
the front wall
- Unintentionally contacting opponent while attempting to make a play
on the ball
- Screening opponent's view of the ball or having the ball pass between
Basics to remember once you have started playing a game are:
1. Only the server scores points
2. The ball can only bounce once
3. The ball must return to the front wall after being hit
More detailed Rules of the Game are available at www.ektelon.com