Racquetball 101: The Basics Of The Game

 By: Gray Rollins
Like tennis, racquetball can be played in a game of "singles," where two players face off head to head, or "doubles" where teams of two compete against each other. There is also a three person variation of the game which is called cutthroat and is played in a round robin tournament style.

Tennis and racquetball have a lot in common, but although their rules and format are similar they require very different techniques and playing styles. Racquetball demands all of the agility, grace, speed, and strategy of tennis, but to be a great racquetball player you also need tremendous reserves of power.

Racquetball is in some ways a more brutal game than its refined cousin tennis, and a large part of becoming a master of racquetball is simply being able to hit the ball faster and harder than your opponent. Because power is such an important part of the game, racquetball strings and balls are created to allow the players to make the fastest and hardest shots that physics will allow.

The rules of racquetball are relatively simple. In racquetball, you and a partner take turns hitting a rubber ball in such a way that it bounces once on the floor in front of you, hits the front wall, and returns. As in most games, the primary objective in racquetball is to win the game by getting the most points. You win points by hitting the ball in such a way that your opponent can't hit it back to you.

Points are only given to the serving side; the one that started the "rally," or round, with the ball in hand. The most common end to a rally takes place when a player or team misses the ball twice, but there are several other ways for a rally to end. For example, if the ball touches a player's body or clothing, the rally ends; or if the ball bounces more than once on the floor before being hit by a player. Most amateur games are played to fifteen points, but professional games usually stop at eleven. You win a racquetball match when you or your team win two games in a row.

The game of racquetball is a very fast paced and challenging one, so it is little wonder that so many people make racquetball a regular part of their fitness routine. The game provides a great cardio workout while also providing compelling strategic problems, which helps keep players interested at all levels of excellence. Many people who have trouble sticking with a regular workout regimen turn to racquetball as a way to get their exercise, because it is not difficult to stay motivated when presented with a game that is easy to learn, hard to master, and fun to play. Even a beginner can enjoy a lively afternoon of racquetball, but the strategy requires enough finesse to engage the interest of even a very accomplished and practiced player. The combination of speed, power, and intelligence that racquetball demands makes this game a great workout for both the body and the mind.
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