From Academic Kids

Racquetball racquet and ball
Racquetball racquet and ball
Racquetball is a sport played with racquets and a hollow rubber ball on a special indoor court. It was invented by Joe Sobeck in 1949 incorporating rules from squash and handball. Unlike many other racquet sports, the walls, floor, and even ceiling of the racquetball court are considered in-bounds. The game is normally played by two players, though there are variations with three or even four (which can get very crowded). Two player games are called singles, three player games are typically called iron-man (2 on 1 during entire game) or cut-throat (a player take turns serving to the other 2), and four player games are called doubles.


Joe Sobek is credited with inventing racquetball, though not naming the sport. Sobeck, a tennis pro and handball player was looking for 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 from squash and handball and named his game, "paddle rackets". In 1952, Sobek founded the National Paddle Rackets Association, codified the rules, and had rules booklets printed.

The new game grew quickly through Sobek's continual promotion of the game but was also aided by the estimated 40,000 existing handball courts across the country in YMCA's and JCC's which could be also be used for racquetball.

In 1969 with the help of Robert W. Kendler the president and founder of the U.S. Handball Association (USHA), the International Racquetball Association (IRA) was founded using a name coined by tennis pro Bob McInerny. That same year the IRA took over the National championship from the National Paddle Rackets Association. After a dispute with the board of directors of the IRA in 1973, Kendler went on to form two other racquetball organizations but the IRA has continued been the dominant organizing force within the sport; recognized by the US Olympic Committe as the U.S. national governing body for the sport. It organized the first professional tournament in 1974 and is a founding member of the International Racquetball Federation. The IRA eventually became the American Amatuer Racquetball Association (AARA) and then changed again in the later 1990's to the United States Racquetball Association (USRA). The USRA in 2003 then switched again to mirror other Olympic sports by changing its name to USA Racquetball (USAR).

Kendler used his publication ACE to promote both handball and raquetball and starting in the 1970's and aided by the fitness boom, the popularity of the sport surged with an estimated 3 million players in 1974. With the increased demand racquetball clubs and courts were founded and sporting goods manufactures began to produce equipment specific to the sport. The growth continued into the early 1980's but declined in the latter part of the decade as fitness clubs converted court space to serve a wider clientel with aerobics classes and newer fitness machines. Since that time the number of players has remained steady with about 5.6 million players.

Currently the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), Legends Tour, and Ladies Professional Racquetball Association (LPRA) handle the professional aspects of the game. The game is televised a few time per year, with the biggest televised event being the US Open championships, held in Memphis, TN. In 2005, another grand slam event was added: Pro Nationals. This event is held each year in Chicago.


The player who won the last point is the server. The server bounces the ball once on the ground, then hits it against the front wall with the racquet. If the ball hits the side wall, ceiling or floor before hitting the front wall, it is an automatic side out. The served ball is required to bounce somewhere on the floor between the back line of the service box and the back wall. If the served ball hits the ceiling, the back wall, or both side walls before landing in play, the serve is no good. The served ball is permitted to hit one side wall before landing in play. Once it passes the back of the service box, the ball is in play and can be returned. The server is allowed two attempts at serving, unless a side out occurs.

At this point, players alternate hitting the ball against the front wall. The ball is allowed to bounce on the floor at most one time before being hit against the front wall. After being hit by a player, the ball must not touch the floor at all until hitting the front wall, even if it has not yet bounced. Unlike the serve, the ball may touch as many walls as necessary as long as it reaches the front wall without bouncing on the floor. Professional players play best of 5 games to 11, requiring a two-point margin of victory. Amateur players play 2 games to 15, with an 11-point tiebreaker if necessary. It is not necessary to win by two points in amateur racquetball.

External Links

hu:Raketball ja:ラケットボール


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