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.











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