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Racquetball is a racket sport that has been played since the early 1900s.
Though this is a relatively recent time for a sport to be invented, it is a significantly older sport than some of the other racket sports that are popular today.
By comparison, Padel was invented in Mexico in 1969. The first pro tour was only created in 2005.
When you look at padel vs. racquetball, how do they compare? What are the main differences?
We’ll take a look at some of the different aspects of these sports so you can understand the complexities of padel vs. racquetball.
The inventor of padel is Enrique Corcuera. He created the sport in 1969, but it didn’t grow in popularity for several decades.
Today, the sport is most popular in Mexico, Spain, and Andorra. It has also begun taking root in European countries.
The first Padel Pro Tour was first created in 2005. Since then, varying agreements have led to a variety of professional padel tournaments.
Today’s most important tournament is the World Padel Tour.
This tour originated in Spain but has quickly become an international event.
The popularity of the sport in parts of Spain and Portugal has led to British tourists becoming interested.
This has in turn led to a large padel following in the UK, with the country launching the UK Padel Federation as of 2011.
The US Padel Association was founded much earlier, all the way in 1993.
When this association was founded, two padel courts were opened in Chattanooga.
The first courts available to the public opened in 2009 in Miami, and several courts have opened in Los Angeles since then.
Racquetball was invented in Greenwich, Connecticut in the early 1900s. The creator was named Joe Sobek.
He was a professional tennis player who wanted a sport that had faster pacing and was easy to play.
When he designed his game, he combined rules from handball, paddleball, and squash.
Racquetball was called paddle rackets at first.
In 1952, the National Paddle Rackets Association was formed and official rules were laid down.
This new sport became popular and accepted due to the continuing promotion from Sobek.
The name “racquetball” was coined in 1969 by professional tennis player Bob McInerney.
The first professional racquetball tournament was organized in 1974. In 1995, the American Amateur Racquetball Association took on the new name United States Racquetball Association.
Another name change occurred in 2003, taking on the name USA Racquetball.
Growth of the racquetball sport continued throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
By 1974, it was estimated that three million people played the game.
The number of players reached its peak in the 80s.
Since that time, there has been a relatively steady number of about 5.6 million players.
A padel court has very strict dimensions. Padel courts are also enclosed by special glass walls.
It’s not necessary for the court to have a roof, but if it does, there must be at least six meters of vertical clearance for play.
According to the official padel regulations, a padel court must meet these specifications:
- 20 meters long
- 10 meters wide
- Divided in half by a net
- Maximum net height of 92 centimeters at the sides
- Back walls 3 meters in height
- Side walls 3 meters in height and 2 meters in length, attached to another wall 2 meters in height and 2 meters in length
- Closing of the court using mesh 3 meters in height, with closed sides also capable of holding a mesh up to 1 meter in height
- Service lines placed 3 meters in front of the back wall
- All lines must be 2 inches in width and easily visible
Racquetball courts are set up differently because of the game’s different rules.
These are the court regulations:
- 20 feet high, 20 feet wide, 40 feet long
- Lines marking different zones need to be at least 1.5 inches wide and visible
- Everything is in-play except for things that can impede a ball’s trajectory (door handles, light switches, overhead light fixtures, and other objects)
- Service line is placed by the front wall and marks the service zone
- Short line is placed 20 feet from the front and back walls
- Service boxes are the two boxes on either side of a service zone
- Drive serve lines are laid down a minimum of 3 feet from each of the side walls
- Dashed line is called the receiving line
Padel vs. Racquetball: Key differences
There are a variety of important differences between these courts.
A racquetball court is significantly larger than a padel court.
It also has many more boundary lines that come into play, which can make the rules seem a little more complex.
Padel courts use a net, similarly to tennis and paddleball courts.
But racquetball doesn’t use a net. Instead of hitting the ball over a net, it’s hit off a wall.
This sets it apart from most other racket sports.
Padel is always played in doubles and uses a net to divide the court.
A padel racket is like a cross between a ping pong paddle and a tennis racket.
The racket is solid and doesn’t have any netting or strings, similar to a paddle. But the surface tends to be perforated.
Padel balls have similar appearance and weight to tennis balls, but they don’t bounce as high.
A racquetball is used specifically for this sport. This rubber ball is bouncy and has a diameter of 2.25 inches.
A racquetball racket, similar to a tennis racket, will also be used by every player. These rackets cannot be longer than 22 inches.
Eyeguards are mandatory for competition wear to protect your eyes, and they’re still a good idea even if you’re playing in an amateur capacity.
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