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At first look, squash and racquetball appear to be very similar sports. They are both played with a racket and a small rubber ball on an indoor court, and the object of the game is very similar.
While these sports may look similar, especially to someone who is unfamiliar with both games, there are actually more differences than similarities between these two games.
Read on for an in depth comparison of squash ball vs racquetball, including a look at the history, equipment, court, and the rules of the game.
Squash vs. Racquetball: How do they compare?
Squash can be played in singles or doubles. Typically, there are two players that are playing against one another in an enclosed court.
Each player takes turns serving with a racket, and once the ball is served, the opposing player must hit it in return.
Players can move anywhere in the court during gameplay.
To stay in play, the ball must land below the out line, above the tin, and against the front wall.
It can only bounce once on the floor before the other player returns it, but it is allowed to hit the side or back walls at any point.
There is no blocking or interference allowed during play.
Each player should be given full range to move and hit the ball.
The goal of the game is to hit the ball in such a way that the opposing player will not be able to return it.
One main strategy when it comes to playing the game is to try to dominate the T; the T is the middle section of the court where the lines intersect; this is the most ideal place to play from because the player is able to easily reach all other parts of the court from this location.
Racquetball can be played in either singles or doubles, and it is also played in an enclosed court.
One player serves the ball by bouncing it once on the floor and then hitting it toward the front wall; once it hits the front wall and flies back beyond the serve zone, the rally begins.
The players rally the ball until one is unable to return the shot without it bouncing on the floor more than once. Whichever player won the rally then gets to serve.
Just like in squash, the rules of racquetball do not allow for blocking or any other hinderance to another player.
Each player has full access to the ball and the court.
The goal of the game is to serve and return the ball in such a way that the opposing player will not be able to keep the ball in play. In this way, the player can score points and win the game.
Similarities and Differences
Now that you understand the basics of the two games, we will compare in more detail the similarities and differences between these two sports.
Squash is the older of the two sports. It was invented by English school kids at Harrow School in 1830.
The students found a punctured racquetball that “squashed” when it made impact with the wall.
They took the rules of a game called “rackets” which was popular in prisons at the time and changed the rules, ultimately creating squash.
Racquetball did not come about until 1949, and it was created by an American named Joe Sobek who was a professional tennis and handball player.
Sobek wanted a game that was easier to learn and play than handball and that was easier on the hands.
When he couldn’t find exactly what he was looking for, he ended up combining aspects of handball, squash, and tennis into a new game; he originally called it paddle rackets.
The first difference in the equipment is actually in the spelling of racquet.
In racquetball, it is spelled “racquet” because Sobek opted to keep the spelling like it was for tennis.
In squash, however, it is spelled “racket” after the game of rackets from which squash was derived.
Squash is played with a racket which is 27 inches long and has a narrower head; these rackets typically have an open neck like a badminton racquet.
Racquetball is played with a racquet, which is smaller at only 22 inches long and has a teardrop-shaped head; it has a closed neck and more closely resembles a tennis racket.
Both sports are played with hollow rubber balls. The main difference in the balls is the size.
A squash ball is smaller with a diameter of 4 centimeters compared to a racquetball ball that has a diameter of 6 centimeters.
Racquetballs are also bouncier than squash balls and do not need to be warmed up the way that squash balls do.
Both types of balls come in a variety of options.
Squash balls have four types: professional, competitive, progress, and intro, and a player chooses a ball based on their skill level.
The professional ball is the one used in formal competition and tournaments, has the shortest hang time, and requires the hardest hits to warm up and keep it at temperature.
On the other end of the scale, the intro ball has the longest hang time and is the easiest to warm up, so it is ideal for beginners.
The other two balls fall in the middle of the scale with the competition ball being best for players with more experience and the progress ball being best for recreational players.
Similarly, racquetball balls come in a variety of color options: black, blue, purple, green, pink, and red.
Players select a color of ball based on the skill level and degree of comfort.
Black balls are made for slow rallies and are ideal for beginners.
Blue is the most common, and it is for medium-paced games and also performs well in power shots.
Purple is for the professional level and is great for an indoor court.
Green and red are more ideal for outdoor courts because they have higher visibility and are faster.
Pink is good for both indoor and outdoor courts.
Both squash and racquetball are played on an enclosed court, but that is the only similarity on their courts.
Racquetball courts are larger, measuring 40 feet x 20 feet x 20 feet. A squash court measures 32 feet x 21 feet x 18.5 feet.
In addition to be larger, racquetball courts also have fewer boundaries; all of the surfaces, including the ceiling, can be used in play.
There is a designated area in which to serve, but there are no other boundaries on the court.
Squash, on the other hand, has several more boundaries.
The ball is not allowed to hit the ceiling, and there are also areas along each wall that are considered out of bounds.
The out line runs across the top of the back wall and down the sides of the side wall.
Additionally, a board runs along the bottom of the back wall; if a ball hits this board, it is considered a foul.
Three feet above the board is a service line, and all serves must hit above this line.
Since the courts are so different, you cannot play squash on a racquetball court or visa versa.
In the game of squash, players are only allowed to serve once per point, and the player does not bounce the ball before hitting it during a serve.
In racquetball, however, players are allowed two serves, and the ball has to bounce before it is served.
There are also different rules about where the ball must be served.
When serving, squash players must have at least one foot in one of the two service boxes on the court, and they must serve the ball to the opposite corner on the front wall.
The serve must hit above the service line to be considered legitimate.
In racquetball there is no such rule; the player can stand anywhere behind the service line and can hit the ball anywhere on the front wall.
The ball must then bounce behind the service box before it hits the back wall.
You can view this video to learn how to serve in squash:
You can also check out this video to learn how to serve in racquetball:
In both squash and racquetball, a game has two be won by a two point margin.
The other rules of scoring are extremely different between these two sports.
A game of squash is played to nine points in regular matches and to eleven points in championship and tournament matches; games are played in a best-of-five match.
Additionally, points can be scored both when the player is serving or receiving.
In racquetball, the games are played to fifteen points.
Matches are 2 out of 3, and if it gets to a tie-breaking game, that game is only played to 11 points.
In contrast to squash, a player can only score a point in racquetball if it is their serve.