A Beginner’s Guide to Racquetball: Rules, Gear, and Basics

A Beginner’s Guide to Racquetball: Rules, Gear, and Basics

Welcome to our comprehensive beginner’s guide to racquetball! Whether you’re a complete novice or have some prior knowledge, this article will provide you with the essential information to get started in this exciting sport. From understanding the rules and regulations to selecting the right gear, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid foundation of racquetball basics and be ready to hit the court with confidence. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of racquetball together!



In racquetball, scoring is based on a system called rally scoring. This means that a point is awarded on every serve, regardless of who served. The first player to reach 15 points wins the game, with the exception of the tiebreaker, which is played up to 11 points. It’s important to note that a player must win by two clear points.

To earn a point, a player must serve, rally, and win the rally. If the serving player wins the rally, they score a point and continue to serve. If the receiving player wins the rally, they take over as the server.


Serving is a crucial aspect of racquetball and follows a specific set of rules. When serving, the server must stand in the service box and hit the ball directly into the front wall. The ball must then cross the short line, rebound off the front wall, and land beyond the receiving line.

The server has two attempts to execute a valid serve. If the first serve fails, they get a second chance. However, if both serves result in faults, the server loses their turn, and the opposing player becomes the server.

Upon a successful serve, the ball is in play, and the rally begins. The server has the advantage of being the first to hit the ball, giving them an opportunity to gain control of the rally.

Faults and Penalties

Racquetball has specific rules regarding faults and penalties that players must adhere to during gameplay. Here are some common faults and their associated penalties:

  1. Short Serve: If the serve does not cross the short line or does not hit the front wall first, it is considered a short serve. The penalty for a short serve is the loss of the serve.

  2. Out-of-Bounds: If the ball hits the ceiling, walls above the designated height, or any objects outside the court boundaries, it is considered out-of-bounds. The penalty for hitting the ball out-of-bounds is the loss of the rally and the opposing player gaining the serve.

  3. Screen Serve: A screen serve occurs when the ball passes too close to the server’s body or any part of the server’s court before hitting the front wall. If a screen serve is called by the referee or agreed upon by both players, it results in a fault, and the server loses their turn.

  4. Receiving Serve Outside the Receiving Box: The receiving player must be positioned within the receiving box during the serve. If they step out of the receiving box before the ball crosses the receiving line, it is considered a fault, and the server is awarded a point.

  5. Interference: If a player obstructs their opponent’s shot intentionally or hinders their ability to play the ball, it is considered interference. Interference results in a replay of the rally, allowing the hindered player another chance to hit the ball.

By understanding and following these rules, players can engage in fair and enjoyable racquetball matches while ensuring a level playing field.



One of the essential pieces of gear in racquetball is the racquet itself. A racquetball racquet is specially designed for this fast-paced sport. It is typically made of lightweight materials such as graphite or aluminum, which allows players to maneuver it quickly.

Racquets come in various shapes and sizes. The most common shape is tear-drop, which provides a balance of power and control. However, some players prefer racquets with a more traditional oval shape or even a quad shape for added maneuverability.

When choosing a racquet, consider factors such as weight, grip size, and string tension. The weight should be comfortable for you to swing and control, while the grip size should fit your hand comfortably. String tension affects the racquet’s responsiveness and power, so it’s worth experimenting with different tensions to find the one that suits your playing style.


Safety should be a priority when playing racquetball, and goggles are a crucial piece of protective gear. Racquetball goggles are designed to protect your eyes from impact and potential injuries caused by fast-moving balls or accidental collisions.

When selecting goggles, look for ones that provide a snug fit without obstructing your vision. Anti-fog lenses are advantageous to prevent fogging up during intense gameplay. Additionally, some goggles offer adjustable straps for a more personalized fit.

Remember, wearing goggles is not only for your own safety but also for the safety of your fellow players. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so it’s better to be proactive and protect your eyes.


A proper grip is essential for maintaining control and generating power in racquetball. The way you hold the racquet can significantly impact your performance on the court.

The most common grip in racquetball is the "shake hands" grip, where you hold the racquet as if you were shaking someone’s hand. This grip allows for a balanced swing and versatility in shots. However, some players may prefer variations such as the "Eastern" or "Western" grip, which can provide different levels of power and control.

To achieve a secure grip, ensure that your hand is relaxed and not overly tight. The racquet handle should rest comfortably in the space between your thumb and index finger. Experiment with different grips to find the one that feels most comfortable and natural for you.

Remember, a proper grip not only enhances your performance but also reduces the risk of wrist and hand injuries. Take the time to practice and perfect your grip technique to excel in racquetball.



The racquetball court is a rectangular indoor or outdoor playing area that measures 20 feet wide, 40 feet long, and 20 feet high. The walls of the court are an integral part of the game, as players can use them to their advantage during gameplay. The walls are typically made of concrete or a similar hard material, ensuring that the ball bounces off them with speed and intensity. The court is divided into two halves by a center line, with a service box on each side.


In racquetball, there are two primary positions: the server and the receiver. The server is the player who initiates the game by hitting the ball into play from within the service box. The receiver stands on the opposite side of the court, ready to return the serve. As the game progresses, players switch positions after each rally, with the server becoming the receiver and vice versa. This rotation ensures that each player gets an equal chance to serve and return.


Racquetball is played with a rubber ball that is approximately 2.25 inches in diameter. The objective of the game is to hit the ball against the front wall in a way that makes it difficult for the opponent to return. Players can use any combination of shots, including forehand and backhand strokes, to achieve this goal. The ball must be hit above the service line and below the outline on the ceiling to remain in play. The game continues until one player fails to return the ball within the rules, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or failing to hit it before it bounces twice.

As players become more experienced, they can employ various strategies and tactics to outsmart their opponents. These may include using angles, power shots, and deceptive shots to keep the opponent off balance. Additionally, players must be quick on their feet, as racquetball requires agility and the ability to cover the court efficiently.

Remember, racquetball is a fast-paced and competitive sport that offers a great workout while also being enjoyable. By understanding the basics of the court, positions, and gameplay, beginners can start their racquetball journey with confidence.

In conclusion, racquetball is a thrilling sport that offers a great workout while providing a fun and competitive experience. By understanding the rules, investing in the right gear, and mastering the basics, beginners can quickly get into the game and enjoy all that racquetball has to offer. Whether you are looking for a new hobby or a way to stay fit, racquetball is a fantastic choice that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. So grab a racquet, find a court, and get ready to dive into the exciting world of racquetball!