Millions of people worldwide play indoor ball games, including squash or racquetball. Squash is more popular than racquetball, but both sports are enjoyed by players from all walks of life and skill levels. Both of these games are played in enclosed courts and require the use of rackets. There are some similarities between the two, but there are also a variety of differences in squash vs racquetball.

Squash is the older of the two sports, getting its start in 1830 at the Harrow School in England. While playing a game called “rackets,” students discovered that tossing a punctured ball against the wall caused it to bounce in erratic ways, making the game more challenging.

Racquetball was developed in 1949 by Joe Sobek, who lived in Connecticut. He grew weary of his indoor sports options, so he found a way to combine tennis and handball. The popularity of this sport really took off in the 1970s and 1980s.

These games are played worldwide, and there are internationally sanctioned events and competitions. The International Racquetball Federation governs all international racquetball events, while various national organizations govern smaller, more local events.

The international governing body for squash in the Squash Federation and they have 145 member federations. In some countries, because of the similarities for squash vs racquetball, one organization oversees both sports.


Court Dimensions

The court dimensions for squash vs racquetball are similar in that they are both enclosed, but they differ in size and what is considered in bounds and out of bounds. Racquetball courts are larger than squash courts, measuring 20 x 40 x 20 feet. Players are allowed to bounce the ball off every surface in a racquetball court, including the ceiling.

A squash court is 21 x 32 x 15 feet. During squash play, the ball cannot hit the ceiling, and there are boundary lines at the front and back walls. On the front wall for squash, there is also a tin strip that is 19 inches high that is considered out of bounds. There are also diagonal boundary lines along the side walls.


The Ball/Racket

Both rackets in squash vs racquetball have a teardrop shape. However, when squash rackets were first invented, they had round heads, more closely resembling badminton rackets. They didn’t take on the teardrop shape until the 1980s. Squash rackets can measure up to 27 inches long, and they are often constructed of composite materials or metal, including graphite or titanium.

Racquetball rackets are also tear-dropped shaped, but their heads are wider than the rackets used for squash—mainly because the balls used for racquetball are larger than squash balls. These rackets are shorter, measuring up to 22 inches in length. They are also constructed of composite materials or metals.

Both types of balls in squash vs racquetball are made of rubber, but in squash, the balls are 4 cm in diameter, while racquetball balls are 6 cm in diameter. Racquetball balls are also bouncier than squash balls.


 

Serving The Ball In Squash vs Racquetball

When it comes to serving in squash vs racquetball, racquetball service rules are closer to tennis rules, and the player is permitted two serves at the start of each point. The serve is allowed to hit any part of the front wall and can then land behind the “short line.” In racquetball, the ball must bounce once before it can be hit.

Players at the start of each point in squash are only allowed one serve. During the serving hit, the ball must hit one of two alternating serving boxes, and it must land above the tin line but below the service line to be considered good. The squash ball then has to be hit while it’s airborne; it can’t bounce first.


Scoring

In both squash vs racquetball, a player has to win by two points. In regular squash games, it requires 9 points to win. In tournament squash games, the score goes to 11. Squash players can win points if they win a rally, regardless of who served the ball—much like tennis. A return is considered good if it doesn’t bounce twice on the floor and hits above the tin line and below the outline. To claim the match in squash, a player must win three games.

Players have to earn 15 points to win a racquetball game, but they can only earn points on their serve. Balls are not allowed to bounce twice in racquetball, but it also has to hit the front wall before it touches the floor. To win the match in this game, a player has to win two games.

In squash, if a player hits a ball above or below the tin line or the ceiling, the ball is considered out. Balls are allowed to bounce off the ceiling in racquetball.
Racquetball can be played by singles, against an opponent or with four players (two teams of two). Squash can be played with two or four players. Players of any age can learn to play these sports, and special equipment (such as smaller rackets) can be obtained for younger players.


Health Benefits

Playing squash or racquetball lowers health risks and reduces stress. They are also a good way to meet new people and have a lot of fun. The benefits of playing squash vs racquetball include the following:

  • Burn calories and fat: During a 20-minute game of racquetball, a player can run approximately 3,700 feet. If the game is played for an hour, players can run up to 2 miles, burning between 600 and 800 calories. During a game of squash, players can expect to burn 500 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Strengthen muscle: In both squash and racquetball, swinging the racket will build muscle and increase strength, toning arms, legs, and stomach. In squash, the goal is to hit the ball as hard and fast as possible, so players will find themselves building power and the ability to apply force.
  • Improve mental well-being: In the beginning, squash vs racquetball is a game of knowing where the ball is and needing to hit it. If the player is still getting into shape, there may be moments needed to catch their breath. However, as the player gets in better shape, they’ll be able to turn their focus away from the physical aspect of the game and focus on the mental part—mainly game strategy. The nature of these games and need to be aware of the ball, the opponent and the surroundings boosts mental alertness and spatial awareness.
  • Improve flexibility, coordination, and balance: Moving around in a small area and bending or diving for a ball requires coordination, flexibility, and balance. While these traits might not be apparent when a player first starts playing, they will develop over time.
  • In either squash or racquetball, players will need to develop their sprinting, running, leaping, stopping, bending and jumping abilities to be successful at the game. Developing these abilities over time, which are often outside of normal range of motion, stretches joints and ligaments and promotes blood flow and elasticity throughout the body, which can be healthy and beneficial in other aspects of a person’s life.
  • Improve hand-eye coordination: Playing either sport requires making fast, strategic decisions. Both games improve neural adaptation and stimulate a quicker connection between the brain and muscle movements. Having faster reflexes is beneficial both on and off the court.
  • Improve heart health: As fast-moving games, players rarely have a moment to stop and catch their breath, but this is good for the heart and for staying fit. An intense game will keep a player’s heart rate up for extended amounts of time and their lungs working at full capacity. This makes the heart and lungs stronger as well as boosts stamina and endurance.
  • Develop self-confidence: Whether a player wins in squash vs racquetball, they will feel a sense of accomplishment in participating in the game. Players can develop confidence knowing they competed to the best of their physical ability and did their best. Being physical and developing skills may also contribute to players feeling better about themselves, and this may carry into their lives off the court.
  • There are differences in squash vs racquetball, most notably in the equipment that is used to play the games and certain rules. However, there are also similarities. The end result of both sports is for players to engage in some healthy competition, be physical, meet new friends and have fun.

Conclusion

The worldwide popularity of squash and racquetball means that millions of players enjoy and compete in the sport. Because they are played indoors, squash and racquetball are a great sport to play any time of the year. Both men and women from all over the world compete in these fast-paced, exciting sports.

Squash and racquetball don’t only have to be played at a competitive squash vs racquetball level, however. Any player at any level of experience can play and have fun with either of these sports. They are a great way to be physical and to work on hand-eye coordination.

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