At first glance, racquetball, squash, and, even, tennis have several similarities. The biggest similarity is that each of these games is played with rackets, which are often made of similar materials. Despite this, these sports are quite different, and the rackets used in each sport are specific to their game.
Although it’s possible to use a tennis or squash racket to play racquetball, is not recommended at all; and, according to racquetball rules, it’s prohibited in official games. Racquetball is best played with the proper equipment, starting with using the correct racket.
Racquetball rackets usually consist of a teardrop-shaped graphite frame and have a rubber handgrip with a string mesh made of synthetic nylon that covers the area on the racket used during gameplay. This makes them efficient for the quick bodily movements used during a racquetball game.
Rackets: Racquetball vs. Squash vs. Tennis
One might think that the rackets used in these games could be interchangeable, however, due to game regulations and how each of these sports is played, this isn’t the case. Safely playing the game of racquetball is dependent on using the right equipment.
Squash rackets are larger than racquetball rackets, measuring up to 27 inches in length. In tennis, the rackets are the largest of the three sports, the length reaching up to 27 inches from end to end. Racquetball rackets can be no larger than 22 inches, making them substantially smaller than the rackets used in squash or tennis.
Proper Equipment to Play Racquetball
Having the correct equipment for racquetball is the most essential part of safe gameplay.
Safety for the players relies on making sure an individual is appropriately dressed, using the correct protective equipment and the proper sports equipment required to play the game.
Getting acquainted with the correct racquetball equipment is in the best interests of novice players interested in taking up the sport. The equipment necessary to properly play racquetball is as follows.
Racquetballs are bouncy rubber balls that are 2.25 inches in diameter. They bounce higher than the balls in squash because they are made of elastic rubber. Tennis balls are covered in felt and don’t bounce as easily. Racquetballs are made of only rubber. Comparatively, racquetballs are smaller than tennis balls and bigger than squash balls.
A Racquetball Racket
A racquetball racket cannot be any longer than 22 inches in length based on USRA regulations. Racquetball rackets are always teardrop-shaped but have a larger head than the similarly shaped squash racket. Based on the player’s needs in terms of their swing, racquetball rackets can weigh anywhere from 150 grams to over 185 grams.
Wrist tethers are a piece of equipment that secures the racquetball racket to a player’s wrist. It’s essential to have this on a racket because of the quick arm movements made by a player to hit the racquetball. The racket can easily fly out of a player’s hand, potentially causing injury to the other individuals on the court.
Racketball eye guards made with polycarbonate lenses and a secure safety band is the most critical piece of safety equipment, protecting players from being hit in the eyes. During a game, a hit to the eyes could leave a player with permanent vision damage. It’s always best to wear protective eyewear despite the player’s expertise in the game.
Racquetball court shoes are designed with more traction to be able to grip the floor of the racquetball court. It’s essential to have the correct footwear as it will allow the player to make quick lateral, forward, and backward movements. Wearing the proper shoes protects against slips, falls, and other possible injuries while playing the game.
Wearing comfortable apparel during the game is important because these clothes will allow for fluid movement throughout the game without hindering the player. Mobility is vital in racquetball and wearing unnecessary clothing, jewelry, or accessories is not recommended during the game.
Lastly, a racquetball glove is worn on the racket hand to allow the player a firmer grip on the racket. It’s optional equipment but can be very helpful when playing the game, especially for novice players. It can help keep the racket from flying out of a player’s hand during the game.
Making certain to have the appropriate equipment for a racquetball game will help ensure that the players are protected from possible injuries. Because of the nature of the racquetball racket, it’s never a good idea to use a different racket intended for a different sport. To enjoy a safe game, always play properly prepared.
Racquetball: How To Play Safely
Racquetball is a fun sport that is like any other physical activity. Individuals must take precautions to ensure the safety of all the participants. Making sure that everyone on the court is safe and prepared for the game will allow the game experience to be enjoyable for everyone.
The keys to playing a safe game of racquetball start with making sure that all the proper equipment is being used and that all players practice good sportsmanship and maintain awareness of their surroundings during the game.
To maintain the safety of all players, there are a few measures that should always be kept in mind before playing a game. The most important of these are:
Communication as a safety element
Communication with the other players during a game will lessen the chance of accidental collisions. Alerting other players that you are coming around or behind them will keep the game moving and eliminate avoidable accidents. Beginners should take lessons to become better acquainted with the game to help avoid common mishaps.
Always using protective gear
In racquetball, the most common injuries sustained are eye injuries. The importance of proper eyewear cannot be stressed enough, as even the most novice player can strike a racquetball as fast as 190 miles per hour, and the resulting injuries from being struck in the eyes at that speed can be irreversible.
Warming up and stretching
Stretching and warming up properly before a game will protect the players from sustaining injuries during a game. Warmups will keep the players from using poor body mechanics that result in hyperextension of the shoulders or arms and protect against elbow or rotator cuff injuries.
Using a quality racquet from a reputable brand will help you play a better game of racquetball. Using the incorrect racket can result in injury, and make gameplay more difficult. Having the correct racket is essential, and investing in a good racket can amount to innumerable hours of enjoyable gameplay.
Always check your racquet to ensure that the tension on the mesh is adequately adjusted. Make sure that the handgrip is in good shape and that there are no missing parts or cracks to the racket. This will add to overall player safety. Having a secure wrist tether will keep the racket from slipping from a player’s hand, and it’s always suggested to play with one.
A racquetball court
Playing on a court intended for racquetball is essential. Sprung wood floors constructed with shock absorption in mind and a slip-resistant finish will help keep players safe. The floors should never be waxed or oiled as this can add to the number of accidents during a game. Be sure to wipe the floors clean of any spots wet from perspiration.
Making sure that the room used to play racquetball has doors that open outwardly from the court, shatter-proof safety glass windows, non-protruding hinges or door handles, proper court lighting, and no obstructions on the ground, walls or windows will keep players from injuring themselves if they collide with a wall or fall down.
First aid kit and an available phone
Having a first aid kit in the event of an injury is always a good practice, especially when playing sports like racquetball, where accidents can occur without notice. Keeping an emergency phone on-site in case of a more severe situation is also a good rule to have.
Areas for the players to rehydrate should always be readily available, although keeping watercolors that can spill onto the court floor should be avoided. Players carrying a refillable water bottle can help prevent this problem. Make sure to always store personal items off of the court floor.
And of course, there should always be someone to monitor the court while games are being played. Having someone overseeing the games will help protect the players from harm, as well as maintain that the court is always safe, clean, and dry.
As a rule of thumb, following these guidelines will ensure that anyone playing the game of racquetball will have a great time!