Category: Racquetball Instruction

How to Play Racquetball

How to Play Racquetball

Official Racquetball Rules

The information below and tabs above give you the basics of how to get started playing racquetball. It should give you enough information to have a “friendly” game of racquetball. For more detailed information, the complete rules of racquetball can be found here: Official Rules of Racquetball

Racquetball Vocabulary You Need to Know:

  • Halfout or Handout – in doubles, where one team member loses serve and it is the other team member’s turn to serve.  The halfout term is the most often used term in my experience.
  • Sideout – in all types of games where the player and/or team loses serve.
  • Racquetball Match is 2 games to 15 and a tie-breaker to 11 if necessary.

3 Types of Racquetball Games

  • Singles – 2 players
  • Doubles – 4 players – played identically to singles with both team members getting an opportunity to serve before a sideout occurs. The first team serving, however, gets a sideout after only one team member serves. After that, both players for both teams always get to serve.
  • Cut-Throat – 3 players – This game rotates players with one player serving at a time. The two non-serving players are temporarily teamed up against the server. When a sideout (serve is lost) occurs, the next player gets their turn with the player who lost serve moving into the vacated position in the back of the court. The 3 players do not rotate in a circular fashion as that results in you always having the same opponents in the same positions behind you. So, the server simply changes places with the player whose turn it is next to serve.
  • In and Out – This game is similar to cut-throat.  The difference is that the 3rd player stays out of the way while the other two basically play singles.  When the rally is over, the 3rd player comes in to receive the serve.  The player that lost the rally now sits out for a rally.  This continues until one player reaches 15 points to win.

The Object of the Game of Racquetball

The object of the game is to get to 15 points (winning by one) first. Only the server can earn points. Points are earned when you hit the ball so that it strikes the front wall and bounces on the floor twice before your opponent can get it. Points are also earned when your opponent hits the ball, but it strikes the floor before reaching the front wall.


The server gets 2 chances to serve unless there is a “Out Serve”. An “Out Serve” (loss of serve) happens when any of the following occur:

  • two consecutive faults
  • the ball strikes the server on it’s return
  • when the server completely misses the ball
  • when the ball strikes the side wall, floor, or ceiling before hitting the front all
  • when the server hits the ball with the handle of the racquet, double hits the ball, or carries the ball.

The serve must strike the front wall before any other wall, ceiling, or floor.  The ball must not hit the ceiling after hitting the front wall.  The ball can hit one side wall, but not both during the serve.  The ball must get past the short line, but not hit the back wall, in the air.











Why Play Racquetball

Why Play Racquetball

Racquetball is Extremely Fun!

If you have never played racquetball, you are about to begin the most exciting sport you have ever seen. After 15 minutes on the treadmill, if you are like me, you begin to notice the pain and start watching the clock.. You are thinking “how much longer do I have to do this”.. In racquetball, you watch the clock, but it is with the exact opposite motivation! In racquetball, you think “how much longer do I have the court reserved for because I could do this ALL DAY!”. So, the main reason to play racquetball is because it is unbelieveably fun!

Racquetball is Great Exercise!

You should play racquetball because it is extremely good exercise. According to NutriStrategy, playing racquetball for one hour is the equivalent of jogging/running 6 miles (in an hour). That is a pretty good workout to be so much fun!

Racquetball is a Lifetime Sport!

You should play racquetball because it is a life-time sport. There are age divisions in the tournaments, and players often play into their 70’s! or more! You only need 2 people, not a whole bunch of people to play. This makes it simple to get a match any time! No external organization is necessary as in most sport leagues, but a challenge ladder definitely helps!

Racquetball is Very Social!

You should play racquetball because you will soon have many new friends! You will be spending a lot of time, often under pressure with your opponent, and there is something about that which encourages friendship, “most of the time”… 🙂 You will not only gain local friends, but if you play tournaments you will make lasting friendships with players around your state, surrounding states, and across the country.

Racquetball is Extreme!

If you are into “Extreme”, you should play racquetball! It doesn’t have to be that way, but it is more fun when it is! To see what I mean by extreme, check out these pros in action and you’ll know. Most people don’t play close to that level, but are soon passionate about the sport and play to their own level of extreme.

Racquetball is Relatively Inexpensive!

You should play racquetball because it is relatively inexpensive. There are many free places to play, but often it does require a club membership somewhere. Clubs often have equipment that can be checked out. Purchasing equipment isn’t too expensive, especially at the introductory level.