Racquetball Rules are fairly simple and straightforward. In this guide we will focus on the most basic aspects of serving, gameplay, scoring, and hinders.
Play begins with the server standing inside the service zone (two solid horizontal lines in the middle of the court). The server must first bounce the ball, then hit it with the racquet. After striking the front wall, the ball must then travel past the service zone before hitting the floor. If the ball hits more than one side wall before hitting the floor it shall be considered a fault serve. If a served ball strikes the ceiling or back wall before hitting the ground it shall be immediately considered a fault as well. A served ball that does not contact the front wall first shall result in a loss of serve. After two unsuccessful serve attempts there is a side out and it becomes the opponent’s turn to serve.
After a successful serve the opponent must then strike the ball before it bounces twice. The returned ball must then contact the front wall before hitting the floor. The racquetball is allowed to hit any combination of the ceiling or side walls as long as it hits the front wall at some point before touching the floor. Gameplay continues like this until one of the players wins the rally. If the server wins the rally a point is scored. If the player returning the serve wins the rally it is a sideout and it now becomes their turn to serve. A typical racquetball match is usually a best of three format with the first two games being played to 15 points and if necessary, a third game played to 11 points.
Hinders result in a stoppage of play and a replay of the current point. Players are responsible for giving their opponent adequate room to hit a straight or cross court shot. Failure to do this is not only against the rules, but it is a safety concern for both players. Other examples of hinders include the following:
- The ball hitting any part of the court causing it to take an irregular bounce or movement
- Hitting your opponent (unintentionally) with the ball while trying to make a return shot
- Blocking or screening your opponent’s view of the ball
For a complete listing and downloadable copy of the official Racquetball Rules, please visit the USA Racquetball Site.