I've played racquetball for over 25 years. I've played in many tournaments, won championships, and, at best, ranked in the top three.
What Is Racquetball?
Answering the question "What is racquetball?" starts with the basics. The game requires each player to use a racquetball racquet with one hollow, rubber ball per game in an indoor or outdoor court. The courts do not use nets like in badminton and tennis. The game is played against the walls on the court, like handball. Indoor racquetball uses four walls, and outdoor racquetball uses three walls.
Further on in the article, I explain how to get kids involved, the perimeters of the court, how to earn points and win a game, and other strategies.
Racquetball is a game that kids love to play because the pace is just right for all-around fun. The rules and safety are different compared to adults. That does not matter because first, people need to know how to teach racquetball to kids.
Think safety first. Eye gear is a must for all racquetball players. Start them wearing eye gear early before they develop a bad habit of playing without eye protection.
Sports clubs place warning notices outside the racquetball courts for a reason. Please adhere to the warning because I witnessed some terrible eye injuries from players not wearing protective eye gear.
Racquetball Starter Kit
Purchase a Racquetball starter pack. Ektelon Starter Kit is perfect for kids because It contains protective goggles, a racquet, and balls. A friend of mine bought his boys the Ektelon Starter Kit, and they praised it. The protective eyewear worked great until they outgrew them.
I recommend all parents get the starter kit for their kids. Start them off right!
The kits come with a very light racquet for each child. It's a racquet that any child can readily pick up, swing with two hands, and slowly with one hand.
How to Swing the Racquet
I take the kids to the racquetball court and show them how to hit the ball. Encourage them to bounce the ball and swing and keep it very basic. They can miss or get frustrated, but they will improve, which is great for eye-hand coordination. Encourage them to keep their eyes on the ball and watch the racquet hit the ball. If there is more than one kid, rotate turns after ten tries.
As they rotate through, keep telling them to keep their eyes on the ball while hitting the ball with the racquet. Let them do it for about ten swings. They will see some improvement.
Keep at it with the kids until they are comfortable with the racquet and ball.
Show kids new to the game how to hit the ball using the racquet. I show them how the racquet goes back over their shoulder, feet flat on the floor, full body facing the sidewall, bounce ball, and swing. Continue reading, and I explain how to get them to hit the ball correctly.
Swinging the Racquet
I make sure they understand they need to hit the front wall with the ball. Let them hit the ball this way or anyway if they rather.
Let them do this about ten times. I offer these points to them:
Step into the swing.
Show them how stepping into the swing is best and hit the ball. They can practice ten times or more.
If they are under seven, I line them up and have them hit the ball in turns. That way, I am in control and have less chance of someone getting hurt by the racquet or ball hitting them.
The video from Ben Croft shows the forearm racquetball swing.
Hit the Ball
Review all the different steps with the child. Encourage them as they go along and point out areas they do well. Let them hit the ball around for a while, supporting them with understanding and affection.
Correct one thing at a time until they are better, then correct something else. Keep improving one thing at a time until they are doing well. End off on a positive point, encouraging them to practice on their own.
The next video on hitting the racquetball is helpful.
After the kids have practiced hitting the ball, they are ready to learn the next aspect of racquetball. The fundamental part of the game is understanding the timing and path of the ball.
The next video demonstrates how to move in the court and watch the ball.
Begin slowly is sometimes the best way to approach the racquetball game with kids.
To help get kids familiar with racquetball rules and the game, kids need to just hit the ball around on the court. It is also a good idea to enroll kids in an hour clinic to get some professional guidance.
As kids improve and feel more confident, they can play in a tournament. In Tournaments, racquetball games are more formal, and rules are strictly applied, which is a worthwhile experience for kids.
Racquetball for Kids
Many times I am asked to show parents and kids how to play racquetball. They watch the game and are confused by all the random shots and movement on such a small court.
It is a good idea to have the kids watch a game and understand the basics of racquetball. That way, it will make it so much easier for kids to understand the game and how to play. They will have fun and a great workout.
Racquetball How to Play
Many times I am approached by new players asking me how to play racquetball. I offer a few tips, and it seems to help them get off, including the kid's parents, on the right foot. I hope I can do the same for you.
When new players first watch the game, they feel overwhelmed by all the random motions in such a small court. If you have ever watched a game, you know that it looks complex more than it appears. Understanding the basics of racquetball is the key to keeping the game uncomplicated and fun for a great workout.
The first thing to understand is that racquetball games include two people on the court, which are singles, and four people we call doubles. We call the game "cut-throat," which is a non-tournament game if you have three people.
You score points when serving the ball.
It is side out when you lose your serve. In playing doubles, each player serves before it is their side out with the coined term ``half-out" when the first partner loses his serve.
But, the team to serve first in a game gets only one side out for the first serve of the game.
In the remaining serves of the game, both players serve when it is their turn to serve.
The first side to win two games to 15 points wins the match.
If both sides have one win, then a tiebreaker occurs to 11 points. The winner of the tiebreaker wins the match.
Racquetball takes place on a court with four walls. Two are 40 feet in length, and two are 20 feet in width, with a ceiling height of 20 feet.
The court seems small, but don`t let that bother you. As you learn the game, keep in mind the walls never move — only the players and the ball move.
You notice the court floor is made of wood with red or black lines.
The court lines mark the receiving line, drive-serve lines, service line, and short line. They tell you the areas for serving and receiving.
Practice Hitting the Ball
Racquets are similar to tennis racquets but are smaller. They include grommets (bumper guards) and handles with a nylon rope to secure the wrist to the racquet. Flying racquets are not allowed in the game. Every player must wear eye protective gear, not prescription glasses, but eyewear designed for racquetball.
Players wear comfortable t-shirts and shorts and court shoes that enable the players to move quickly laterally, forward and backward.
Learn the racquetball rules and how to play the game. Beginners need to hit the ball around on the court and attend an hour clinic to get some guidance.
The answer to learning how to play racquetball is to have the right equipment and practice hitting the ball by yourself on the court.
Tournaments and Everyday Games
When you improve and feel more confident, you can play in a tournament. In Tournaments, the game is more formal and must apply the rules.
At the start of each racquetball game, there`s a coin toss. The winner chooses to either serve or receive the first game of the match. In the second game, the player who served first is the receiver.
The player or team that scores the most points in the first two games chooses to serve or receive at the start of the tiebreaker. A coin toss determines if each player or team scores equal points in the first and second games.
For everyday games, players lag. Lag is when players stand at the back of the court and hit a rebounding ball from the front wall closest to the serving line before it bounces. The closest one to the line gets to serve first or offer the other player or team to go first as a kind gesture.
Racquetball is a great sport. It`s a fun game and a complete workout for any level of player. Thanks for being interested in the game. I love it and hope you do, too.
© 2016 Kenna McHugh