Introduction To Racketball

From a great cardio workout to social sport, read up on racketball and how you can get involved.

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Here's our quick introduction to getting involved in the popular sport of racketball. If you′re looking for a great racket sport to get your body fit and healthy then look no further than racketball. Developed from an original 1950s US game, the UK version of racketball is a fast-paced sport that will give you an intensive workout session.

What is racketball?

Racketball — as in the UK version of the sport — is played on traditional squash courts instead of the larger courts that are used in US racquetball.

A bit of history on the sport

The UK game was developed from US racquetball, which started out in the 1950s and was conceived by tennis and handball player Joe Sobek. To make the game instantly accessible in the UK, the US game was adapted to use existing squash courts, and a slower, less bouncy ball was introduced, as the ceiling wasn’t included in the playing area — unlike in US racquetball.

In 1984, the British Racketball Association was founded and the rules of play were established. The laws of the game are based partly on the rules of squash and use point-a-rally scoring.

Where is it played?

The UK version of racketball is popular in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Bermuda, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and other countries where there are squash courts. In the UK the sport is overseen by the national squash associations for each country, including England Squash, Scottish Squash and Squash Wales.

Getting involved in racketball

Racketball in the UK is played on a standard squash court, whereas US racquetball is played on a special court — the latter of which is slightly longer and narrower. The opportunities for playing the US version are therefore limited if you live in the UK — but there are good opportunities for playing the UK version.

How playing racketball gets your body fit

Playing racketball can have a number of positive health and fitness benefits on your body. Here are some of its key exercise advantages:

  • Improves aerobic fitness, with more oxygen circulated around the body to better muscular endurance.
  • Burns off calories with energy being supplied to the muscles and not forming fat.
  • Boosting flexibility and sprint speed, due to the fast-paced nature of the game.
  • Improves hand-eye co-ordination with concentration required for serving.
  • Develops the strength and power of muscles, notably leg and arm muscles.
  • Furthers concentration and mental strength, with matches often lasting for some time.
  • Boosts a player's cardiovascular fitness (the heart and lungs organs), allowing more oxygen to be pumped around the body and help energise muscles.

Selecting the right kit

When you first get started in racketball, it's important that you get the right kit. Here’s our guide to buying the right racketball kit to improve your game.

It’s important to have the correct protective gear in order to ensure you enjoy racketball in a safe manner when you’re on court — but getting kitted out need not cost you the earth.

Several of the major racketball equipment manufacturers produce starter kits which typically include a racket, eye protection, and balls — and these can be a good, relatively inexpensive place to start.

Here’s a quick list of the main items of kit you will need to get started playing racketball:

The racketball racket

Rackets vary in weight, but the heavier ones are better for beginners since they generate more power than lighter rackets. There are specific rules governing the size and dimensions of rackets — so make sure you buy one that conforms to the rules.

Safety goggles for racketball

Safety goggles or glasses are recommended, as players can quite often be hit by the ball or even a swinging racket. However, although wearing eye protection is optional, most clubs require players to wear goggles.

Gloves for racketball

Gloves are also not a requirement, but will help your game by giving you a better grip. Special gloves with open holes on the back, or with mesh ventilation, are the best ones to go for. These are usually made of leather, sheepskin, or synthetic materials.

Non-marking racketball shoes

The shoes you play in should have good grip, so that you can make quick starts and stops during the game. The soles are usually made of a gummy, rubbery material which is strong but does not leave marks on the court floor. Most racketball venues will insist on non-marking soles.

A ball for playing racketball

Balls are rated according to their speed — so start with the slower balls and work your way up as you improve. A blue racketball is recommended for beginners, while a black racketball can be used by more experienced players.

Clothing for racketball

Comfortable clothing, such as the clothes you might wear when playing tennis or even working out at the gym, will be sufficient for you on court.

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