To the untrained eye or to the sports fan that has little knowledge of either sport, there may appear to be a lot of similarities between squash and racquetball. Both are fast-paced games played in a small area where players will strike a small ball against a wall with a racquet; so it is easy to see at first glance why these two sports are intrinsically linked. This is not the case though with both sports having their own identity and feel. There are many major differences between the two sports.
The racquets used in the sports are the first difference. In racquetball, the racquets are smaller with the largest permitted length being 22 inches. In squash, it is possible to play with a racket that a maximum of 27 inches.
Similarly, the balls are different too. In squash, the ball is smaller, coming in at 4 cm whereas a racquetball has a diameter of 2.25 inches. The racquetball itself is made of elastic of rubber, the squash ball is not. This makes a difference because the squash ball will expend a greater amount of energy when it is struck, which will slow down a rally as a match continues.
In squash, there is an area that is “out of bounds” but there is no such area when playing racquetball. A squash court is played in a rectangle area of 32 by 21 feet and the four walls have various height levels. The racquetball court is one that is fully enclosed, traditionally taking up a space of 40 feet by 20 feet with a ceiling height of 20 feet. The service area and the serve-receiving area are marked out with red lines.
There are several line markings in squash along with boundaries at the top of the court and 19 inches from the bottom of the front wall. If the ball hits the court line, goes above it, hits the front wall line or goes under it, the ball will be deemed as out.
If the ball strikes the ceiling in squash, the ball is deemed to be out but if the ball hits the ceiling in racquetball, it is deemed to still be in play. This adds an extra dimension to racquetball, causing players to have a greater degree of focus.
When playing squash, a player needs to allow their opponent to hit the front wall but when playing racquetball, it is possible to limit an opponent to only having to permit their opponent an amount of the wall to aim for.
In squash, games are played up to 9 points and 11 points for professional tournaments. In racquetball, matches are played up to 15 points. The ball is also served differently in both sports.
It may seem that there are only limited differences between the two sports but the rules are as such meaning that players from both sports, whilst likely will be familiar with the basics, may not know the full rule set for each.
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This article has been provided by the team behind rulesofsport.com – an independent site dedicated to explaining the rules of various sports in a clear, easy to understand way.
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