The World Games explained: Racquetball

The World Games explained: Racquetball
Racquetball is a combination of handball, squash and paddleball, and was originally called paddle rackets. (contributed)

We are less than two years away from the World Games 2021 taking place in and around Birmingham. Alabama NewsCenter is explaining what you can expect to see. Today, we look at Racquetball.

Racquetball is played with a hollow rubber ball. The court’s walls, floor and ceiling are legal playing surfaces.

As play begins, the serving player must bounce the ball on the floor once and hit it directly to the front wall, ensuring that the ball hits the floor beyond the short line. The ball may touch one side wall — but not two — prior to hitting the floor. After the ball bounces behind the short line or passes the receiving line, the ball is in play.

Players alternate hitting the ball against the front wall. The player returning the hit may allow the ball to bounce once on the floor or hit the ball on the fly. However, once the player returning the shot has hit the ball, it must strike the front wall before striking the floor.

Unlike the serve, a ball in play may touch as many walls — including the ceiling — as necessary, so long as it reaches the front wall without striking the floor. If the server wins the rally, then the server scores one point and continues to serve. If the opposing player wins the rally, then no point is scored, but that player will take over serving.

A match is won by the first side winning two games.

In racquetball, the court’s floor, ceiling and walls are all legal playing surfaces. (contributed)

Joe Sobek is credited with inventing the sport of racquetball in the Greenwich, ConnecticutYMCA, though not with naming it. A professional tennis and American handball player, Sobek sought 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 of squash, handball and paddleball, and named his game paddle rackets.

The sport is most popular in the United States, Mexico and Bolivia.

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