Raquetball Essay, Research Paper
Racquetball is a fast-paced sport played indoors by two or four players. It combines elements of other games such as squash and tennis. Players use racquets with wrist straps to hit a ball that is a slightly smaller and lighter version than a tennis ball. Racquetball enjoyed a rise in popularity throughout North America in the 1970s, although interest and participation in the sport has since declined.
Joe Sobek developed racquetball in the United States in 1950. Sobek was trying to develop a new fast-paced game that was easy to learn, and the game that developed he called “paddle racquets”. Sobek designed the new short racquet, and devised new rules that combined handball and squash; the actual sport has changed very little since its creation. Because it was fun and easy to learn, racquetball caught on quickly and gained immense popularity. Racquetball reached its peak in popularity in the 1970’s, where racquetball clubs abounded across North America. During the late 1970s, racquetball become one of the fastest growing sports in North America as thousands of new racquetball courts were built to satisfy the demand of new players. However, by the late eighties racquetball popularity subsided and many clubs either closed or changed their courts to fit other uses. However, there are approximately 7.7 million Americans who still enjoy playing racquetball. Racquetball also enjoys international status, with World Championships held bi-annually since 1981.
Racquetball may be played by two players (singles) or by four players (doubles). In doubles teams both players should meet minimum age requirements or classifications, as well, a team with players at different skill levels must play at the ability class of the higher player. When playing racquetball, the first side that wins two games wins the match. The first two games of a match are played to fifteen points, and tiebreaker games are played to only eleven points. The objective of racquetball is to win each rally by serving or returning the ball so the opponent is unable to return it. A rally is over when a player or team is unable to return the ball before it touches the floor twice, or if the ball is returned before it touches the floor. The serving side scores points when a serve is not returned or if a side wins a rally. If a serve is not returned, it is called an “ace”, and losing the serve is called a “sideout” and “handout” for doubles. The player who is serving must serve from behind the service line, and is allowed one service fault. As well, a ball that takes an irregular bounce will not be counted as a fault or point. To complete a serve, a player bounces the ball off the ground and hits it so that the ball strikes the front wall without touching the ground. The regulation racquetball should be 2 1/4 inches in diameter and should bounce 68-72 inches from a 100-inch drop at a temperature of 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit — no more, no less. The standard racquetball court is twenty feet wide, forty feet long and twenty feet high, with a back wall at least twelve feet high. The entire court is considered in play except for surfaces such as viewing gallery windows. Another important aspect to consider in racquetball is safety. A good racquetball player can propel the ball at great speeds, so proper eyewear should be worn. A player who fails to wear proper eyewear during a tournament will forfeit the match unless proper eyewear is worn.
From its birth in the 1950’s racquetball has come a long way, but has changed very little. Racquetball has gained national and international recognition, holding its own World Championships bi-annually. Although racquetball is not as popular as it once was, it still remains a fast-paced and easy to learn sport that can be enjoyed by many.
Electric Library Encyclopedia, available at http://www.encyclopedia.com as of June 1999, search term “racquetball”.
Encarta, Microsoft Encarta 1996, search term “racquetball”
Racquetball Net, available at http://www.racquetball.net as of June, 1999.