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Racquetball and Squash are both great forms of exercise and exciting sports.
What’s interesting about these two sports is that very little is known about them outside of the people who play them.
Both sports are considered participation sports with little appeal to spectators.
For the benefit of the people who might want to learn more about these sports, it would seem that a comparison of racquetball vs. squash would seem to be in order.
To that end, this article will highlight both the differences and the similarities between the two with the hope this information will inspire interest in playing and watching these sports in the future.
Racquetball vs. squash: How do they compare?
To facilitate the comparison of racquetball and squash, it makes sense to establish the relevant criteria by which to make the comparison.
The following criteria is what we will use to explain the differences and the similarities if there are any:
- The Court
- The Equipment
- The Rules
- Shots and Strategy
Since racquetball courts are more accessible and plentiful, you will see a lot of squash players using racquetball courts.
With that said, there is a difference in size for regulation racquetball and squash courts.
The dimension of a regulation racquetball court is 20 feet by 40 feet, which is bigger than a regulation squash court.
A quash courts measures 21 feet by 32 feet. It’s noteworthy that the ceiling for a racquetball court is 5 feet higher.
There is one other difference.
Due to the rules of the game, squash courts have markings on the wall that are used to determine whether or not a shot is in or out.
The main marking is a special line on the front wall that sits exactly 19 inches from the floor. Players refer to this line as the “tin.”
The only equipment players need for these two sports is a racquet and a ball. In both cases, the sizes (dimensions) are different.
As for the racquet, a racquetball racquet cannot measure over 22 inches long while a squash racquet can measure up to 27 inches long.
There are no regulations about the heads of the racquets, though there does seem to be some generally accepted guidelines.
A racquetball ball measures 5.715 cm (2.25 inches) in diameter and made from an elastic rubber material.
A squash ball measures 4 cm in diameter and is made from a slightly harder rubber material, which causes the ball to travel with a little more velocity.
Both games can be played with singles (two players on the court) or doubles ( two teams of two players on the court).
In both games, each point begins with a serve. Players can determine first service by a coin flip or a rallying point.
After the initial serve, the serve goes to the player or team that scored the last point.
In racquetball, the service is permitted to hit anywhere on the front wall as long as it hits the front wall first.
In squash, the service is required to hit the front wall above the tin line (see above) and below the outside to be considered a valid.
In both sports, a serve that hits a teammate in doubles play is a missed shot and the serve reverts to the other team.
Note: The way players serve is different between these two sports.
After the initial serve, the action is the same in both sports. In singles play, players will alternate shots until a point is scored.
A point is scored when a shot finally fails to hit the front wall first before hitting the floor.
Once a player misses a shot, the serve reverts to the opponent.
In doubles play, teams will alternate shots until a point is scored. It’s important to note that players on the same team can return any shot.
That means teammates are not required to alternate shots. In squash, returned shots must hit the front wall first.
In racquetball, players can return shots off the back or sidewall as long as the ball hits the front wall before it ever hits the floor.
In racquetball, only serving players or teams can score a point.
A point is scored when a player or team fails to hit the front wall first before the ball hits the floor.
Racquetball games are played to 15 in both recreational games and competition racquetball.
Sometimes, recreational players will decide to play to 21.
In racquetball, the outcome of the game is determined by the first team to meet the point threshold.
In squash, recreational games are typically played to 9 while competition (leagues and tournament) will go to 11.
In the past, only the serving player or team could score points.
However, rules have evolved in recent years. There is now more focus on point-a-rally (or PAR), which awards a point for each rally to the point winning player regardless of who served.
Of the two sports, racquetball requires players to focus more on strategy. This is due to two factors.
First, the serving rules are more lenient.
As long as the service crosses the required floor marking after hitting the front wall, players can send a serve off the front wall in any direction.
Beyond the service, the best strategy for racquetball is to identify the opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them.
That includes using side and back walls to get the ball moving in all directions, making it difficult for the opponent to make returns.
Squash is a game of speed.
The best strategies involve getting the ball moving at high speeds, only to start varying speeds to throw the opponent’s rhythm off.
The player who has the advantage will often be the player that can dominate the “T” area, which is the intersection of the red lines on the court, near the center.
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